Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

Celebrating 60 Years - and Counting - of Flight for a Trusted National Workhorse

27/11/2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - What does the world's most prolific upper-stage rocket engine have in common with the Lava Lamp, the smiley face and instant coffee?

They all debuted in 1963 and are still around 60 years later.

It's probably safe to say, however, that the similarities - aside from perhaps enduring popularity - end there. Built by Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3Harris Technologies company, the RL10 upper stage rocket engine is the world's first-ever liquid-hydrogen-fueled rocket engine with well over 500 flights under its belt and occupies a class by itself.

Although it has been continuously upgraded over the years to improve performance and reduce cost, the RL10 features the same basic design today as when it debuted Nov. 27, 1963. The mission launched aboard an Atlas rocket and featured two RL10 engines powering the Centaur upper stage during the successful test. Over the next six decades, the powerful combination of Centaur and RL10 helped deliver hundreds of satellites to orbit and sent spacecraft to explore every planet in our solar system - a relationship that continues to this day.

Since its first successful flight, the RL10 has flown hundreds of missions, been integrated onto more launch vehicles, and sent more spacecraft to more places than any other rocket engine ever built.

When you look at most rocket engines out there, they're integrated with a launch vehicle and when that vehicle goes away, the engine goes away, said George Prueger, Aerojet Rocketdyne senior director of RL10 programs. The RL10, by contrast, has flown on a diverse array of vehicles including Saturn I, Atlas, Titan, Delta and even the DC-X, an experimental suborbital vehicle flown by the Defense Department and NASA that was the first to demonstrate vertical rocket landing.

It continues to be sought after by the space launch community because of its performance and demonstrated reliability, Prueger said. Put an RL10 engine on top of your vehicle and you can be confident in its unmatched reliability and performance.

Just a few of the notable exploration missions that the RL10 helped launch are the Curiosity and Perseverance rovers currently plying the surface of Mars, the Parker Solar Probe, the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, and the twin Voyager spacecraft that have left the solar system to become the first human-made objects to reach interstellar space. The RL10 also has supported hundreds of missions to different Earth orbits for customers including the Department of Defense, National Reconnaissance Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and several satellite communications companies.

Although it was not part of the Saturn V rocket stack that launched astronauts to the Moon, the RL10 did pave the way for the liquid-hydrogen-fueled J2 engine that was used extensively on the Apollo flights. Modern variants of the RL10 are used on NASA's super heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will return astronauts to the lunar surface later this decade as part of the NASA's Artemis deep-space exploration program.

The RL10 engine's enormously rich legacy is not even close to being complete: it is used today on multiple vehicles and the latest variant, still in development, will be flying well into the future on SLS and the new United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan rocket that is set to make its inaugural flight later this year.

Early RL10 variants weighed less than 300 pounds and generated roughly 15,000 pounds of thrust in the vacuum of outer space, and typically flew in a dual-engine configuration on the Atlas rocket with a Centaur upper stage. That said, six RL10s powered the upper stage of NASA's Saturn I S-IV rocket, which was used to launch prototypes of the Apollo Moon capsule.

The different RL10 models flying today weigh closer to 600 pounds and generate around 25,000 pounds of thrust. Aerojet Rocketdyne has been able to boost engine thrust over the years by increasing the size of the turbomachinery and related plumbing, Prueger said.

But the key aspect that has been at the heart of the RL10's incredible longevity is its simple implementation of the highly efficient expander rocket engine cycle. The expander cycle eliminates the need to burn propellants to turn the turbines that drive the fuel pumps that other, less efficient engine configurations employ. The RL10 uses cryogenic liquid hydrogen to cool the combustion chamber and nozzle, where it picks up heat and turns into hydrogen gas. This expansion of hydrogen gas drives the turbine, which powers the pump.

There is another critical engine performance metric that is just as important as thrust: Specific impulse, or Isp, which is a measure of fuel efficiency like gas mileage in a car. Defined simply as the ratio of the thrust produced by a rocket engine to the rate of fuel consumption, an engine with higher specific impulse is capable of producing more thrust from the same amount of propellant.

When it comes to Isp, the RL10 has no equal in conventional chemical propulsion, Prueger said. The high-performance combination of liquid hydrogen fuel and a liquid oxygen oxidizer generates more thrust per unit of fuel burned than any other propellant combination. Using this combination of propellants in a highly efficient expander cycle engine means a launch vehicle can carry less fuel, which keeps the weight down and allows more payload to be carried to orbit.

Another characteristic of the RL10 that makes it the preferred choice of the space launch industry is the engine's ability to make multiple restarts in space. Being able to restart the engine in the frozen vacuum of space, which is no easy feat, allows longer launch windows, increases the performance capability by enabling extended coast periods during a mission, and offers the potential to have a r
LINK: https://www.l3harris.com/newsroom/editorial/2023/11/celebrating-60-yea...
See more stories from harris

Most recent headlines

24/02/2024

Berklee International Hip-Hop Symposium Spotlights Local Artists, Entrepreneurs

Berklee International Hip-Hop Symposium Spotlights Local Artists, Entrepreneurs SAMMUS, DJ Troy Frost, and DJ WhySham are among featured guest speakers for th...

24/02/2024

NBC Sports Chicago Covering Chris Chelios Jersey Retirement

NBC Sports Chicago plans live coverage Sunday of the ceremony retiring Chris Chelios' No. 7 Blackhawks jersey....

24/02/2024

Apple TV Kicks Off Year 2 of MLS Season Pass

Apple TV is kicking off its second season offering MLS Season Pass....

24/02/2024

Impact Network Licenses Content From A+E Networks

Impact Network said it signed a multiyear content licensing deal with A+E Media Group that will give Impact Network access to A+E's Black Excellence collect...

24/02/2024

Comscore Upgrades Local Cross-Platform Measurement Product

Comscore said it has enhanced its Comscore Campaign Ratings product, enabling advertisers to optimize digital campaigns alongside linear schedules in flight....

24/02/2024

CNBC To Air Documentary on Weight-Loss Drug Ozempic

CNBC will air a one-hour documentary on weight-loss drug Ozempic on February 29....

24/02/2024

Innovid Provides Outcome Data Across Platform Ad Buys

Innovid said it can provide publisher-level outcome analysis for companies bought through demand- and supply-side platforms....

24/02/2024

Frasier' Renewed for Second Season on Paramount Plus

Paramount Plus said it renewed Frasier, starring Kelsey Grammer, for a second season....

24/02/2024

Gray Television Reports Loss In Non-Election Year 4th Quarter

Gray Television said it turned in a fourth-quarter loss following record political advertising revenue a year ago....

24/02/2024

Warner Bros. Discovery Cuts Fourth-Quarter Losses

Warner Bros. Discovery continued to cut its losses in the fourth quarter, but not enough to meet Wall Street expectations....

24/02/2024

Animated Aliens in Space Behind The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy'

The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy, a peculiar animated show about a couple aliens who are best friends and doctors, debuts on Prime Video February 23. Dr. ...

24/02/2024

House of Zwide: Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]

House of Zwide: Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]Stay up to date with the latest episode of South African soapie House of Zwide on The South Africa...

24/02/2024

Gqeberha: The Empire - Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]

Gqeberha: The Empire - Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]Stay up to date with the latest episodes of your favourite South African soapie on The Sout...

24/02/2024

Muvhango: Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]

Muvhango: Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]Stay up to date with the latest episodes of your favourite South African soapie on The South African web...

24/02/2024

Smoke and Mirrors: Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]

Smoke and Mirrors: Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]Stay up to date with the latest episodes of your favourite South African soapie on The South Af...

24/02/2024

Umkhokha: The Curse - Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]

Umkhokha: The Curse - Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]Stay up to date with the latest episodes of your favourite South African soapie on The South...

24/02/2024

Uzalo: Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [video]

Uzalo: Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [video]Stay up to date with the latest episodes of your favourite South African soapie on The South African websit...

24/02/2024

Generations: The Legacy - Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]

Generations: The Legacy - Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]Stay up to date with the latest episodes of your favourite South African soapie on The S...

24/02/2024

My Brother's Keeper: Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]

My Brother's Keeper: Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]Stay up to date with the latest episodes of your favourite South African soapie on The So...

24/02/2024

Scandal!: Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]

Scandal!: Friday's episode, 23 February 2024 [VIDEO]Stay up to date with the latest episodes of your favourite South African soapie on The South African web...

23/02/2024

5 Takeaways From a Sundance Collab Conversation With Alexander Payne, Director of The Holdovers

By Stephanie Ornelas Alexander Payne has deep roots with Sundance Institute, h...

23/02/2024

7 Great Audiobooks That Inspired 2024's Most Nominated Films

Sometimes a story is too good to only exist as a book, which has inspired countless directors to turn must-read novels into feature-length films. And quite ofte...

23/02/2024

Adhoc notification: SGL Carbon evaluates strategic options for the Business Unit Carbon Fibers

(06:11 PM) Wiesbaden, February 23, 2024. The Board of Management of SGL Carbon S...

23/02/2024

SGL Carbon evaluates strategic options for the Business Unit Carbon Fibers

SGL Carbon SE is currently evaluating various strategic options for the Business Unit Carbon Fibers (CF). These include a possible partial or complete divestmen...

23/02/2024

Zixi, Verizon Business Partner on 5G Solution for Live IP Video

WALTHAM, Mass. Zixi has announced a co-sell agreement with Verizon, coupling their network infrastructure with Zixis live IP video software-defined solutions to...

23/02/2024

Live Czech Philharmonic Concert Productions Hit a High Note with Help from AJA Gear

Live Czech Philharmonic Concert Productions Hit a High Note with Help from AJA G...

23/02/2024

Feature Film Touch the Water Captured with Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

Feature Film Touch the Water Captured with Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Brie Clayton February 23, 2024 0 Comments Blackmagic Design today announced that in...

23/02/2024

Pixelogic Acquires mediafellows, Expanding its Digital Distribution Solutions for Content Owners

Pixelogic Acquires mediafellows, Expanding its Digital Distribution Solutions fo...

23/02/2024

Sports Increasingly Influencing Consumer Streaming Choices

PORTSMOUTH, NH According to a new survey from Hub Research, sports is having an increasingly larger impact on consumers choice of streaming services....

23/02/2024

Student filmmakers of ArtFX School of Digital Arts in France embrace Autodesk Maya, AI to win big at VES for Silhouette

Student filmmakers of ArtFX School of Digital Arts in France embrace Autodesk Ma...

23/02/2024

Malaysian Feature Film Pagari Bulan Graded and Edited Using DaVinci Resolve Studio

Malaysian Feature Film Pagari Bulan Graded and Edited Using DaVinci Resolve Stud...

23/02/2024

Avid MediaCentral provides broadcasters with enhanced workflow efficiencies from anywhere

Avid MediaCentral provides broadcasters with enhanced workflow efficiencies from...

23/02/2024

Video Creators Virtual Summit Extended VIP Offering - Expert Instruction Less Than $5 per Class!

Video Creators Virtual Summit Extended VIP Offering - Expert Instruction Less Th...

23/02/2024

Explorer Post 5 Students Learn from WRAL-TV Doc Team

WRAL-TV's Documentary Team recently took time out of their busy schedules to talk to students in the WRAL Explorer Post 5 program. WRAL-TV Documentary & Inv...

23/02/2024

Tonight on Gqeberha: Msimelelo's fight with Mzukisi might be the one mistake too many for Funeka

Tonight on Gqeberha: Msimelelo's fight with Mzukisi might be the one mistake...

23/02/2024

Tonight on House of Zwide: Neo sleeps with his side chick

Tonight on House of Zwide: Neo sleeps with his side chickDon't miss Friday, 23 February's riveting episode of South African soapie House of Zwide on e.t...

23/02/2024

Big Brother Mzansi 4: Willy wins big again at Lotto Star Friday night arena games!

Big Brother Mzansi 4: Willy wins big again at Lotto Star Friday night arena game...

23/02/2024

How'd They Do It? SXSW, TED, EA, and Intel Share Their Behind-the-Scenes Stories From Key Productions

How'd They Do It? SXSW, TED, EA, and Intel Share Their Behind-the-Scenes Sto...

23/02/2024

SVG Sit-Down: SimpleBet's Chris Bevilacqua on the Need for Sports Productions To Embrace In-Game Micro-Betting

SVG Sit-Down: SimpleBet's Chris Bevilacqua on the Need for Sports Production...

23/02/2024

MLS Kickoff 2024: Behind the Scenes With MLS Productions' New SVP and Executive Producer Ignacio Garcia

MLS Kickoff 2024: Behind the Scenes With MLS Productions' New SVP and Execut...

23/02/2024

Cinegy at ISE 2024

Sergio Alekseev, International Sales Manager for Cinegy, recently attended ISE 2024 in Barcelona and met with partners, customers and industry contacts. ISE 20...

23/02/2024

Tonight on Uzalo: Nkunzi's paranoia hits an all the time high

Tonight on Uzalo: Nkunzi's paranoia hits an all the time highDon't miss Friday, 23 February's riveting episode of South African soapie Uzalo on SABC...

23/02/2024

Tonight on My Brother's Keeper: Puseletso makes an emotional decision

Tonight on My Brother's Keeper: Puseletso makes an emotional decisionDon't miss Friday, 23 February's riveting episode of South African soapie My Br...

23/02/2024

Tonight on Smoke and Mirrors: Phakathi is on the brink of unmasking the culprit

Tonight on Smoke and Mirrors: Phakathi is on the brink of unmasking the culpritDon't miss Friday, 23 February's riveting episode of South African soapie...

23/02/2024

Tonight on Umkhokha: Zisebenzele pulls all the stops to win Ntombi

Tonight on Umkhokha: Zisebenzele pulls all the stops to win NtombiDon't miss Friday, 23 February's riveting episode of South African soapie Umkhokha: Th...

23/02/2024

Tonight on Muvhango: Vhutshilo, the prodigal soon returns home

Tonight on Muvhango: Vhutshilo, the prodigal soon returns homeDon't miss Friday, 23 February's riveting episode of South African soapie Muvhango on SABC...

23/02/2024

Prison Journalism: Starting over and over

Prison Journalism: Starting over and overJonno Knowles was incarcerated in Pollsmoor Prison and participated in restorative justice while inside the prison. by...

23/02/2024

The Queen's' Thembsie Matu scores role on Obstruction'

The Queen's' Thembsie Matu scores role on Obstruction'Takented actress Thembsie Matu, who portrayed the role of Petronella in The Queen' has s...

23/02/2024

Umkhokha: The Curse' remains the most-watched show on DStv

Umkhokha: The Curse' remains the most-watched show on DStvRythm World's faith-based telenovela Umkhokha: The Curse' remains the most-watched TV sho...

23/02/2024

Streaming today: Through My Window: Looking at You' on Netflix - 23 February 2024

Streaming today: Through My Window: Looking at You' on Netflix - 23 Februar...