Friday, April 11, 2008

CECE by Pratt & Whitney: NASA awards contract extension

"Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is pleased that NASA has continued development of the CECE," said Graham Webb, general manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Florida & Mississippi operations. "We look forward to competing to power the first lunar landing of the 21st Century."

In a flurry of contract awards, with more to follow, NASA granted the contract extension on CECE, or Common Extensible Cryogenic Engine, as expected Thursday.

The CECE development contract, originally awarded in June 2005, extends now through March 2009.

During this next phase of the program, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will design, manufacture and test a new, enhanced injector to support stable combustion at very low thrust.

"In tests to date, the CECE has made significant progress to meet the mission," said Victor Giuliano, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne CECE program manager. "Test highlights included the CECE demonstrating repeated throttling operability from 100 percent of its 13,800 pounds of thrust down to as low as 9.5 percent of full power. Additionally, the engine has demonstrated throttle acceleration and deceleration transient capabilities. The next phase of testing will focus on combustion stability at the lower thrust range."

A throttling range from full power down to 10-25 percent is believed to be sufficient for human-rated spacecraft landing on the moon. Deep throttling, or a wide variation of thrust, enables a vehicle to maintain adequate thrust during in-space travel, yet have a controlled descent at its final destination. Fast-reaction throttling transients will be necessary to smoothly descend to the lunar surface.
  Bryan Kidder
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne
818 586-2213

Nancy Colaguori
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne
561 796-2219
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne

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