NASA engineers have successfully completed testing of a subscale main injector for the Ares V Cargo Launch Vehicle’s
core stage engines.
The injector injects and mixes liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants in an engine’s combustion chamber. Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama
have conducted multiple 10-20s hot-fire tests on the injector since February.
“The [RS-68] engine will be an upgraded version of those now used in the [Boeing] Delta IV
, the largest of the Delta rocket family developed in the 1990s by the US Air Force,” says NASA.
The US space agency is investigating design options to improve injector performance in co-operation with the US military, while Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne
is the RS-68 prime contractor.
Because the RS-68 and Ares V upper stage’s Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne J-2X engines share design features similar to the subscale hardware, data from the tests will also be used to develop the J-2X. It is also the upper stage engine for NASA's Ares I crew launch vehicle.