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International Team Tests New Upper-Stage Rocket Engine

Contact: John Mitchell
Phone: (818) 586-4564

CANOGA PARK, Calif., Sept. 15, 2005 – At the Tashiro test site in Japan, engineers successfully hot-fire tested a new upper-stage demonstrator rocket engine, achieving 100-percent thrust levels. The engine, called the MB- XX, is a joint effort of United Technologies', Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Inc. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.'s, Nagoya Guidance and Propulsion Systems Works.

Both companies shared in the design and system engineering of the demonstrator. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) supplied the fuel turbopump for the engine, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries provided the thrust chamber assembly, valves, and oxidizer turbopump. The MB-XX is a liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen-fueled, open expander cycle engine and has been in commercial development by the two companies since 1999. It's targeted at providing upgraded capability for both existing and new launch vehicles.

The demonstrator has now accumulated nine tests, with 63 seconds of duration at varying power levels. The tests, conducted at MHI's Tashiro Field Laboratory in northern Japan, began in June of this year and will conclude in September. Initial operations were focused on refining the start sequence and anchoring the steady-state and transient analytical models. Later tests evaluated the engine performance at 40-, 60-, 80- and 100-percent power levels. "All functional and performance objectives were achieved, and the hardware is in great condition," said Bill Sack, Program Manager for Upper Stage Engines at PWR. Added Byron Wood, President of PWR, "We're very pleased with these test results and we can move forward confidently in our efforts to bring this new capability to the marketplace."

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., a business unit of Pratt & Whitney, offers a complete line of propulsion products, from boosters to upper stage engines, used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the Space Shuttle Main Engines, as well as the propulsion systems for the Atlas and Delta expendable launch vehicles. Pratt & Whitney is a part of UTC, a diversified company based in Hartford, Conn., and provides high technology products and services to the commercial building industry and the military and commercial aerospace industry. Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines.

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