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PRATT & WHITNEY BEGINS WORK ON IMPROVED RL10 ROCKET ENGINE FOR ATLAS VEHICLE

 PRATT & WHITNEY BEGINS WORK ON IMPROVED
 RL10 ROCKET ENGINE FOR ATLAS VEHICLE
 WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Pratt & Whitney (P&W) announced today it is working on an improved RL10 rocket engine for General Dynamics' Atlas family of space vehicles.
 The improved RL10 rocket engine, designated the RL10A-4-1, is based on the recently flight-qualified RL10A-4. The RL10A-4-1 will provide 22,300 pounds of thrust, a gain of 1,500 pounds over the previous model, to meet customer requirements for a larger and more capable spacecraft for the 1990s. General Dynamics' Commercial Launch Services announced a goal last month to increase the performance of its Atlas launch vehicle family by 8 percent.
 "We anticipated this RL10 performance growth requirement and incorporated it into the RL10A-4 design capability. We also demonstrated 22,000 pounds of thrust during development testing," said Jim Brown, P&W's program manager for the RL10. "By designing the higher thrust capability into the RL10's baseline, we can enhance performance without compromising durability."
 Pratt & Whitney also plans to increase in engine's vacuum specific impulse (ISP) -- fuel efficiency -- by using an improved design injector.
 The RL10A-4-1, which will power the Centaur upper-stage of the Atlas rocket, is to be developed and manufactured at P&W's West Palm Beach facility.
 Certification of the RL10A-4-1 is expected in late 1992, with production deliveries to General Dynamics early next year. The improved engine will be offered as part of a Block 1 enhancement package by General Dynamics for its Atlas IIA series of vehicles.
 The first flight of the RL10A-4 was successfully completed on June 9, 1992. The engine powered the Centaur upper-stage of the Atlas IIA launch vehicle, designated AC105. The vehicle placed an Intelsat K communication satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit. The satellite will provide communications for this summer's Olympic games in Barcelona, Spain.
 The RL10, the world's first liquid hydrogen-fueled rocket engine, was developed by P&W for NASA. The engine became operational aboard the Centaur rocket in the mid-1960s. To date, 188 RL10s have helped launch an array of the nation's most sophisticated communications satellites and unmanned spacecraft to explore the outer reaches of the solar system.
 Pratt & Whitney Government Engines & Space Propulsion designs, develops and supports space propulsion systems and military jet engines. The operating unit, headquartered in West Palm Beach, includes Chemical Systems Division of San Jose, Calif., and USBI Inc., with facilities in Florida, Alabama and Louisiana. Pratt & Whitney is a unit of United Technologies Corporation based in Hartford, Conn.
 -0- 6/22/92
 /CONTACT: Patrick Louden of Pratt & Whitney, 407-796-6793/ CO: Pratt & Whitney ST: Florida IN: ARO SU: PDT


JB-JJ -- FL015 -- 2614 06/22/92 17:57 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 22, 1992
Words:445
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