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RL10A-3-3A Rocket Engine Modeling ProjectTwo RL10A-3-3A rocket engines comprise the main propulsion system for the Centaur upper stage vehicle. Centaur is used with bod Titan and Atlas launch vehicles, carrying military and civilian payloads from high altitudes into orbit and beyond. The RL10 has delivered highly reliable service for the past 30 years. Recently, however, there have been two in-flight failures which have refocused attention on the RL10. This heightened interest has sparked a desire for an independent RL10 modeling capability within NASA and th Air Force. Pratt & Whitney, which presently has the most detailed model of the RL10, also sees merit in having an independent model which could be used as a cross-check with their own simulations. The Space Propulsion Technology Division (SPTD) at the NASA Lewis Research Center has developed a computer model of the RL10A-3-3A. A project team was formed, consisting of experts in the areas of turbomachinery, combustion, and heat transfer. The overall goal of the project was to provide a model of the entire RL10 rocket engine for government use. In the course of the project, the major engine components have been modeled using a combination of simple correlations and detailed component analysis tools (computer codes). The results of these component analyses were verified with data provided by Pratt & Whitney. Select modeling results and test data curves were then integrated to form the RL10 engine system model The purpose of this report is to introduce the reader to the RL10 rocket engine and to describe the engine system model. The RL10 engine and its application to U.S. launch vehicles are described first, followed by a summary of the SPTD project organization, goals, and accomplishments. Simulated output from the system model are shown in comparison with test and flight data for start transient, steady state, and shut-down transient operations. Detailed descriptions of all component analyses, including those not selected for integration with the system model, are included as appendices.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Binder, Michael
(NYMA, Inc. Brook Park, OH United States)
Tomsik, Thomas
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Veres, Joseph P.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1997
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:107318
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 564-09-10
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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