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#1 DocM

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 16:59

No injuries but no word on the condition of the test stand at NASA Stennis.

AJ-26 is a refurbished Russian NK-33 liquid fuel engine, a derivation of the NK-15 used in the Russian N-1 moon rocket. The N-1 program halted after 4 consecutive launch failures.

Now that Orbital has merged with ATK this will probably speed up their decision to ditch their Ukraine made, Russian engined Antares first stage with an ATK made solid rocket.

The solid is rumored to be based on the Dark Knight composite core solid booster tech ATK developed for the now cancelled SLS Advanced Booster program. Most likely a 1-2 segment vs SLS's 4 segments with a slower burning solid propellant.

The same diameter as the Shuttle SRB's, the Dark Knight tech will also be used in the first stage of the StratoLaunch Thunderbolt air-launcher.

http://www.spacenews...t-stand-failure

Antares' AJ-26 Engine Suffers Test Stand Failure

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- An AJ-26 engine slated to power Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket on a 2015 mission to the international space station failed May 22 during a hot-fire test at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

Orbital Sciences spokesman Barry Beneski confirmed the failure late May 22.

"Yes, there was an AJ26 engine test anomaly earlier today at Stennis. The cause is unknown at this point,” Beneski said in an email. “Engineering teams will gather and examine the data to determine the cause. It was an engine slated for a flight in 2015.”

The AJ-26 is a liquid oxygen- and kerosene-fueled engine originally built for Russia’s abandoned lunar program. Aerojet Rocketdyne of Sacramento, California, has a stockpile of the 1970s-vintage engines that it is refurbishing for Orbital Sciences.

Two AJ-26 engines are used to power the Antares rocket’s main stage.

AJ-26/NK-33
AJ-26-62.jpg

Dark Knight SLS Advanced Booster
Z63.jpg


#2 vetneufuse

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 17:06

lots of Russian rocket engine failures anymore



#3 Geoffrey B.

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 17:15

yeah . i was reading recently about several satellite launches that failed due to these refurbished rockets.



#4 Lord Method Man

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 17:24

yeah . i was reading recently about several satellite launches that failed due to these refurbished rockets.

 

Refurb? Should have gotten a SquareTrade warranty.



#5 OP DocM

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 17:44

The NK-33's Orbital's Antares uses are have been in storage for about 40 years. Aerojet bought and refurbed them for the Antares development project.

This also isn't first AJ-26 failure. During early tests before Antares maiden flight there was a propellant line that failed during a hotfire. That resulted in new prop lines being designed and manufactured.

OrbitalATK really needs to get cracking on a new first stage, Dark Knight based or otherwise..

#6 OP DocM

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 03:31

Sounds like an uncontrolled shutdown got f'ugly.

http://spaceflightno...t/#.U4AO6MvD_qA

>
Officials said the AJ26 engine that failed Thursday suffered the anomaly about 30 seconds into a planned 54-second test. The engine test terminated prematurely, resulting in extensive damage to the engine.

A team of NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Orbital Sciences and Lockheed Martin engineers put each AJ26 engine through acceptance testing on the E-1 test stand at the Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi before delivering the engines to the Antares launch site on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

Engines for the next two Antares launches, currently scheduled for June 10 and early October, have finished acceptance testing and are ready for flight. But officials said Thursday it was too soon to tell whether the launches would be delayed in the aftermath of the engine mishap at Stennis.
>



#7 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 08:35

Better it scrag itself during a test than an actual launch!



#8 OP DocM

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 10:38

Yup, but it's definitely going to accelerate the move to using US made engines.

Someone pointed out the other day there is a near drop-in engine for Atlas V already on the shelf.

Years ago TRW/Northrop Grumman developed the TR-107 but never put it onto production. The plans exist and a lot of its engineers are still around, including its lead engineer - Tom Mueller, who is now VP of Propulsion at SpaceX. Father of the Merlin and soon the Raptor,

TR-107 is a powerful (4,900 kN / 1.1 million lbf), low cost, easy to manufacture engine that could be flying very quickly. Much faster than trying to domestically produce the less powerful Russian RD-180.

#9 flyingskippy

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 14:17

How much retanking will they have to do since the 107 RP-1 instead of LH?

#10 OP DocM

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 14:31

None. Atlas V uses RP-1 in its RD-180 first stage and the TR-107 is also an RP-1 engine. All they'd need to do is build a gimballing system, adapt the thrust structure and adjust the avionics.

It's Delta IV's RS-68 that uses LH2.

Even TR-107 may not save Atlas V if Falcon Heavy succeeds later this year or early 2015. It's cheaper by far and can lift at least twice as much payload, up to 53 tonnes.

#11 flyingskippy

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 14:41

Does it run on a combustion cycle or gas generator? If it is gas generator will that not have an effect on performance of the Atlas v?

#12 OP DocM

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 16:47

TR-107 is a simplified staged combustion engine, meaning it uses a single oxygen rich preburner. It also uses a pintile injector, which makes it easily throttleable, and alloys that limit coking during combustion (less soot.)

In many ways it is the big brother of SpaceX's Merlin 1D, even though the latter is a gas generator engine, because they share the same lead engineer- Tom Mueller, now VP of Propulsion at SpaceX.

In this SpaceX's Raptor would be their much more powerful descendant because Mueller is also lead engineer for it. Raptor is a full-flow staged combustion methane engine which could be as large as 1.67 million lbf. Imagine a booster sporting 9 of those and you have SpaceX's Mars launcher. Raptor components are in testing now.



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