July 18, 2016 – On Friday, July 15, Aerojet Rocketdyne successfully completed its latest acceptance test on a liquid-fueled RS-68A booster engine. The RS-68A is used to power United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV launch vehicle.
The routine three-minute hot-fire test was conducted by the company’s Center of Excellence for Large Liquid Rocket Engine Assembly and Test located at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. This is Aerojet Rocketdyne’s 119th hot-fire test on the production model of the RS-68 engine family, highlighting the rigorous testing regimen that the company has perfected during its half-century of operations at Stennis.
“The Delta IV launch vehicle has a perfect track record, making it a pillar of the nation’s assured access to space,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “Given the important payloads launching on the Delta IV, the reliability of the RS-68A booster engine is the key to delivering 100 percent mission success.”
The RS-68A is the world’s most powerful liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen booster engine and provides 702,000 pounds of lift-off thrust, which is equivalent to 17 million horsepower. The RS-68A, which was certified for use in 2011, carries forward the strong legacy of the RS-68 engine that powered the first flight of the Delta IV in November 2002. Today’s test is part of acceptance testing done to validate engine performance prior to delivery to the customer in Decatur, Alabama.