Friday, September 30, 2011

Taurus 2 rocket engine tests resume after mishap

Aerojet resumed it's testing this week of 40 year old Russian rocket engines that will power Orbital Sciences Taurus 2 rocket.  This test firing, at the Stennis Space Center, is the first since June when one of the engines caught fire during a test.  The AJ26 engine fired for 54 seconds in a successful test.

Orbital Sciences will use two of the engines to power the Ukrainian built first stage of their medium lift Taurus 2 rocket being developed to haul cargo to the International  Space Station.

The AJ26 originally carried the Soviet designation of NK-33 and was built in the late 1960's and early 1970's. They were designed for use in the Soviet N1 moon rocket. Each N1 used 30 of the kerosene / liquid oxegen burning NK-33's to power it's first stage.

Image Credit: Orbital Sciences