The Common Booster
Core (CBC) for the Boeing Delta IV family of rockets successfully passed a
critical test on Saturday. Boeing engineers say the results mark a major
milestone for the Delta IV program, which is targeting early 2002 for its
inaugural launch.

Engineers conducted the first in a series of hot-fire tests on the CBC. They
ignited the Boeing-built Rocketdyne RS-68 engine for 15 seconds, generating
the equivalent of 14 million horsepower.

“We are conducting extensive tests on a fully integrated CBC prior to its
inaugural launch next year,” said Dan Collins, vice president of Delta and
Titan programs for Boeing. “From the propulsion to the hydraulics to the
avionics, we exercised these systems together to make certain the integrated
components and systems function properly.”

“The test firings will include a five-and-a-half minute full flight duration
test where the CBC goes through sequences and events of an actual flight.
The test program is designed to substantially reduce the risk in launching a
new vehicle,” Collins added.

Saturday’s test comes on the heels of a string of successful RS-68 engine
tests. The tests have validated the Delta IV main engine’s performance, and
also successfully addressed turbo pump issues identified last year. The
Delta team has put nearly 1,000 seconds of test time on an RS-68 engine that
has incorporated the modified fuel turbo pumps. The RS-68 has performed as
expected completing full mission duration testing for the Delta IV Medium
and Delta IV Heavy flight profiles. The Delta IV Heavy profile test included
a 10 percent time reserve and lasted more than 360 seconds.

The tests were followed by comprehensive inspections of the turbo pump
assemblies, which confirmed the structural integrity of the turbo pump. The
RS-68 tests and the CBC test are tangible evidence that Boeing has overcome
all issues seen to date and is on track for a commercial launch in early

The CBC allows all five variants of the Delta IV family of rockets to use
common systems and assemblies. This permits Boeing to consistently produce a
quality vehicle by using a single set of processes and procedures. The CBC
consists of a 656,000 lb. thrust main engine, liquid-oxygen and
liquid-hydrogen tanks, and avionics.

For Boeing Delta customers, this provides a cost effective, quality and
reliable launch vehicle.

The Delta IV family of rockets is capable of lifting payloads ranging from
9,285 pounds (4,210 kg) to 28,950 pounds (13,130 kg) to geosynchronous
transfer orbit.


Larry Salazar:

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RS-68 Engine Firing

CBC on Test Stand

Test Video (7 Mb QuickTime Movie)

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