Mission-duration hot-fire tests on a launch-abort engine for Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft were completed March 9 by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, Calif., NASA and the companies announced March 13.
“Boeing and its contractor, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, continue to make good progress on milestones supporting the development of their commercial crew transportation capabilities,” Ed Mango, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manager, said in a statement. “The eventual availability of these capabilities from a U.S. domestic provider will enhance U.S. competitiveness and open new markets for the U.S. aerospace industry.”
The demonstration was one of the milestones Boeing is required to meet under its funded Commercial Crew Development agreement with NASA. Boeing issued a separate March 13 press release saying it had successfully completed a preliminary design review of the CST-100 and its launcher.
Boeing is one of four U.S. companies receiving NASA funding under the second round of the Commercial Crew Development program. The company is preparing to submit a bid for continued NASA funding of CST-100, a capsule-shaped spacecraft designed to launch atop aAtlas 5 rocket and carry seven people to the international space station.
“We achieved full thrust on the 40,000-pound thrust-class engine while validating key operating conditions during engine start-up and shut down,” Terry Lorier, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s Commercial Crew Development program manager, said in a statement.
Under a fixed-price contract with Boeing, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is combining its attitude control propulsion system thrusters from heritage spaceflight programs, Bantam abort-engine design and storable propellant engineering capabilities, the joint press release said.
Additional CST-100 tests planned for this year include a parachute drop test in April, a land air bag test series in May, a forward heat shield jettison test and an attitude control engine hot-fire test in June, Boeing said.