NASA has begun disassembling turbomachinery used for its cancelled X-33 programme to help develop its Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) engines. Pumps from the Apollo-era Rocketdyne J-2 engine were developed for the single-stage-to-orbit X-33 vehicle.
The engine is now the baseline for the CLV’s upper and Earth-departure stages, which may be used to send astronauts to the Moon by 2020. Tested pumps are being disassembled for analysis because the agency wants to improve their output for the new launch vehicles.
“The J-2 engine, that’s what’s going to help us get into testing real quick,” said NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center’s exploration launch office deputy director Dan Dumbacher, speaking at last week’s AIAA/Italian space agency space operations conference in Rome.
Source: Flight International