Jim Cast

Headquarters, Washington, DC

(Phone: 202/358-1779)

Dom Amatore

Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL

(Phone: 256/544-0031)

Dan Beck

Boeing Rocketdyne, Canoga Park, CA

(Phone: 818/586-4572)

Paul Foerman

Stennis Space Center, MS

(Phone: 228/688-1880)

RELEASE: 00-169

Two unique engines designed to propel America’s X-33 into
high-speed, suborbital flight in 2003 have been mounted side by
side in a Mississippi test stand for qualification firings, now
slated for later this year.

At NASA’s Stennis Space Center, MS, tandem test firings of X-33’s
Linear Aerospike XRS-2200 engines will begin with short bursts and
will eventually lead to full firings for durations needed to send
the unpiloted vehicle from a launch pad in California to landings
in either Utah or Montana.

X-33, being developed under a cooperative agreement between NASA
and Lockheed Martin, is a half-scale prototype of a commercially
developed and operated, reusable launch vehicle of the future, and
is designed to demonstrate new, reusable single-stage-to-orbit
technologies. One goal of the project is to provide safe, reliable
and affordable access to space.

Fourteen single-engine test firings of an earlier version the
unique Aerospike engine, developed by the Rocketdyne Propulsion
and Power Unit of the Boeing Company, were successfully completed
earlier this year.

The difference between the linear Aerospike engine and
conventional rocket engines is the shape of the nozzle. Unlike
conventional rocket engines that use a bell nozzle to constrict
expanding gases, the Aerospike nozzle is V-shaped and called a

The hot gases are shot from chambers along the outside of the
ramp’s surface. This unusual design allows the engine to be more
efficient and effective than today’s rocket engines.

At least nine test firings of the twin flight engines are planned
at Stennis before they are delivered to Lockheed Martin’s X-33
assembly facility in Palmdale, CA.

The X-33 Program is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
in Huntsville, AL.

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