NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
cece: expanding the envelope of deep throttling technology in liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen rocket engines for nasa exploration missionsAs one of the first technology development programs awarded by NASA under the Vision for Space Exploration, the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) Deep Throttling, Common Extensible Cryogenic Engine (CECE) program was selected by NASA in November 2004 to begin technology development and demonstration toward a deep throttling, cryogenic engine supporting ongoing trade studies for NASA s Lunar Lander descent stage. The CECE program leverages the maturity and previous investment of a flight-proven hydrogen/oxygen expander cycle engine, the PWR RL10, to develop and demonstrate an unprecedented combination of reliability, safety, durability, throttlability, and restart capabilities in high-energy, cryogenic, in-space propulsion. The testbed selected for the deep throttling demonstration phases of this program was a minimally modified RL10 engine, allowing for maximum current production engine commonality and extensibility with minimum program cost. Four series of demonstrator engine tests have been successfully completed between April 2006 and April 2010, accumulating 7,436 seconds of hot fire time over 47 separate tests. While the first two test series explored low power combustion (chug) and system instabilities, the third test series investigated and was ultimately successful in demonstrating several mitigating technologies for these instabilities and achieved a stable throttling ratio of 13:1. The fourth test series significantly expanded the engine s operability envelope by successfully demonstrating a closed-loop control system and extensive transient modeling to enable lower power engine starting, faster throttle ramp rates, and mission-specific ignition testing. The final hot fire test demonstrated a chug-free, minimum power level of 5.9%, corresponding to an overall 17.6:1 throttling ratio achieved. In total, these tests have provided an early technology demonstration of an enabling cryogenic propulsion concept with invaluable system-level technology data acquisition toward design and development risk mitigation for future lander descent main engines.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Giuliano, Victor J.
(Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne West Palm Beach, FL, United States)
Leonard, Timothy G.
(Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne West Palm Beach, FL, United States)
Lyda, Randy T.
(Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne West Palm Beach, FL, United States)
Kim, Tony S.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
July 25, 2010
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
46th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference(Nashville, TN)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

NameType 20100032918.pdf STI