How to make a rocket engine engine
The United States military is building an engine that can power an orbital space station, a new aerospace magazine reports.
Engine Builder reported Wednesday that the Pentagon has signed a deal with Boeing for an engine called Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Space Engine, a joint venture between Boeing and the University of California, Los Angeles.
The engine could be ready for launch by 2021, when the next generation of NASA astronauts will be aboard.
It could power the Orion spacecraft, an unmanned vehicle that NASA hopes to use to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station by 2024.
The U.S. space agency is seeking to put a crew on the International Orbital Test Vehicle (ITV) by 2021.
The Orion spacecraft would ferry humans to the ISS from the ground, and astronauts would launch on the vehicle in the early 2030s.
The Aerojet engine could eventually power the space station by the mid-2020s, when astronauts would fly aboard, according to the magazine.
The magazine also said the U.K. has signed an agreement to buy the engine.
The two countries’ space agencies are working to develop a launch vehicle to support the International Lunar Orbiter Mission, or LOMO, and the International Geophysical Year 2020, or IGY 2020.
The LOMOS spacecraft is scheduled to blast off in 2021.
NASA hopes it will launch its first human on the lunar surface in 2021 and return to Earth by the end of that year.
The aerospace magazine reported that Boeing and NASA are planning to begin work on the engine in the 2020s, which would make it ready to fly the next-generation Orion spacecraft to the space lab by 2025.