XCOR Aerospace Completes Successful Development of Methane Rocket Engine
Engine seen as advantage for (RCS) and satellite maneuvering operations
August 30, 2005, Mojave, CA: XCOR Aerospace, Inc., announced today that it has successfully completed its first series of tests on a 50 pound thrust rocket engine fueled by methane and liquid oxygen.
“We are very pleased with the test results and expect increased performance in future versions,” said XCOR Chief Engineer Dan DeLong. “These engine tests gave us operational familiarity working with methane. We have extensive experience working with liquid oxygen, so working with a cryogenic fuel wasn’t a stretch for us.”
Future generations of the 3M9 engine are intended for use as Reaction Control Systems (RCS) and satellite maneuvering systems. The advantages of a methane-fueled engine include long-term on-orbit storage, higher density than hydrogen engines, higher performance than kerosene engines, and the potential for using methane derived from the Martian atmosphere as a fuel source.
The engine tests took place at XCOR’s facilities at Mojave Spaceport. The engine tests consisted of 22 engine firings totaling 65 seconds. The longest engine firing was 7 seconds. This first series of tests were done with self-pressurizing propellants. Pressure-fed and pump-fed versions are also in development. Additional technical performance information may be available upon request.
XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, California. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket-powered vehicles and propulsion systems that enable affordable access to space.
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