certification of the Rocketdyne RS-68 engine that will power Boeing’s
new Delta IV launch vehicle brings to a close a remarkable
development path for the first large liquid-fueled engine in the
United States in nearly three decades.

“What we have accomplished with the RS-68 is nothing less than the
emergence of a new generation of American rocket engine designers and
builders,” said Byron Wood, vice president and general manager of the
Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power business of The Boeing Co.

“The men and women who took this engine from a blank sheet of
paper to this certification and the beginning of full production of
the RS-68 in record time have made their own mark in space history. A
torch has been passed from the team that powered us to the moon and
built the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) to a new generation using
new tools and techniques.”

The RS-68 is a liquid hydrogen-liquid oxygen booster engine that
generates 650,000 lbs. of thrust. It was developed in less than five
years in a program that was required to consider cost and cycle time
variables in the design and manufacture of the engine.

This RS-68 milestone is also the culmination of a development and
certification test program that saw 183 hot-fire tests for a total of
18,645 seconds of test time. All verification objectives were achieved
and the robustness of the engine was fully demonstrated.

“We are very pleased with the exceptional job the entire RS-68
Engine team has done and the great industrial partnership that has
been established between Boeing, Rocketdyne, and the U.S. Air Force,”
said Col. Bob Saxer, the U.S. Air Force EELV System program director.

“The certification of the RS-68 engines marks the completion of a
major Delta IV program milestone and places us squarely on course for
our first EELV Delta IV launch in 2002.”

“The Boeing team at Rocketdyne has set a new standard in rocket
engine design for the world,” Wood said.

“In the development of the RS-68, they achieved technical goals
and met cost and cycle-time demands that have never been accomplished
before. They have raised the bar in a way that is fitting for the
successors of the generation of engineers that developed the F-1 and
J-2 engines for Apollo and the SSME.”

This has been a year of achievement for the Boeing RS-68 team. In
addition to the completion of certification, Boeing completed a series
of hot-fire tests of the RS-68 integrated with the Delta IV Common
Booster Core. Five tests for a total of 555 seconds were completed at
NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

Boeing also completed acceptance testing and delivered the first
flight RS-68 for Delta IV. That engine is scheduled to power the first
launch of Delta IV from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during 2002.

“The program did face a number of technical challenges on the road
to development and certification, but very few compared to previous
major rocket engine development programs,” said Rick Baily, Rocketdyne
chief engineer and former program manager for the RS-68 engine.

“But each challenge was met and resolved and the solutions were
tested to the satisfaction of the Air Force and exacting expectations
of our team.”

Boeing Rocketdyne is a global leader in liquid-fueled propulsion.
In addition to developing and manufacturing the SSME, the Boeing team
at Rocketdyne also produces the RS-27A engine for Delta II and Delta
III. The Canoga Park, Calif.-based business of Boeing has provided
propulsion to virtually every major U.S. space program since the

The Boeing Co. is the world’s leading aerospace company, with its
heritage mirroring the history of flight. It is the largest
manufacturer of satellites, commercial jetliners, and military

The company is also a global market leader in missile defense,
human space flight and launch services. Chicago-based Boeing has an
extensive global reach with customers in 145 countries.