Hydrogen technology: Cryogenic Engine

A liquid oxygen-hydrogen pump fed engine achieved a major technical milestone in throttling capability. It is designed to demonstrate successful throttling from full power down to 10% of its thrust. This flexibility to control the flow of fuel through an engine is necessary for a lunar lander, allowing the spacecraft ample propulsion, yet enough control to land gently on the moon's surface. The Common Extensible Cryogenic Engine (CECE) is fuelled by a mixture of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen and generates 13 800 pounds of thrust. Using liquid hydrogen and oxygen in rockets will provide major advantages for landing astronauts on the moon. Hydrogen is very light but has about 40% more performance than other rocket fuels, enabling lower vehicle mass and a larger payload than with the same amount of conventional propellants. The CECE collaboration includes engineers from Marshall Space Flight Center and Glenn Research Center joined with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. It is part of the NASA-funded Propulsion and Cryogenics Advanced Development (PCAD) project at Glenn, which is developing cryogenic propulsion and propellant management systems for the Lunar Lander. The aim is to achieve a more reliable, robust and less expensive rocket engine ready in 2018 for America's next moon landing.