http://defence-data.com/storypic/x-331z.jpg [not image]
X-33 engine tested to full power
22 December 1999
A new type of rocket engine that will propel the X-33 experimental launch vehicle was tested to full power for the first time last week. The 18-second test of the XRS-2200 Linear Aerospike Engine was conducted on the A-1 test facility at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Centre in south Mississippi.
Initial test data indicates satisfactory engine performance throughout the test. After the test, visual inspection showed some minor pinhole-sized erosion isolated to the interior wall of one of the engine's 20 thrust cells. The erosion was within the normal range for development testing and will not preclude further testing. This was the last planned test for 1999. Engine testing is scheduled to resume next year.
The XRS-2200 Linear Aerospike Engine was developed and assembled by Boeing Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power.
The engine will power the X-33, a half-scale, sub-orbital technology demonstrator of a proposed, commercially-developed, reusable launch vehicle called VenturStar. The X-33 is being developed under a cooperative agreement between NASA and Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. Marshall Space Flight Centre manages the X-33 programme for NASA.
Once testing of the first engine has been successfully completed, two flight engines will be tested. After successful flight acceptance test of the engines, the two flight engines will be shipped to Lockheed Martin Skunk Works to be mounted on the X-33 vehicle.
REF XQQAS XQQSE
Defence Systems Daily