RL-10 Rocket Engine
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RL-10 Rocket Engine

January 27, 2020


The rl10 rocket engine power plant for the centaur and Saturn is the result of years of research and development The highest performance engine built in the free world using safe reliable and dependable hydrogen To maintain the high degree of reliability of the rl10 vital parts are assembled under stringent laboratory conditions Following a typical engine through its paces the thrust chamber tubes are installed After the assembly is placed over a mandrel the manifolds and bands can be attached Silver wire is laid in fall furnace brazing Placed in a retort, the chamber is readied for the furnace Once braised the chamber undergoes testing to assure trouble-free operation Liquid nitrogen is forced through the chamber to perform thermal shock tests Pressurized with gaseous nitrogen the chamber is checked for leaks The inspected sub-assembly is dried out in a special oven Final chamber assembly is completed with the installation of the injector A special jig is lowered to accurately align the injector Then the chamber goes for final machining prior to assembly of the complete engine On the Assembly floor all parts come together fuel lines Valves turbo pumps are brought from clean rooms assembled installed and inspected multiple inspections of each component and sub assembly assures maximum reliability Ready for action the completed engine must undergo the test of firing The rl10 is made ready for transport to the test site The operating principle of the rl10 can best be shown by this simple diagram hydrogen at 37 degrees rankine minus 423 degrees Fahrenheit enters through the inlet shutoff valve Passes through the first stage pump into the second stage pump where it is discharged at 1,000 pounds per square inch Then it passes through the cooling jacket manifold through half of the tubes Through the turnaround manifold back through the long tubes to the exit manifold and through the venturi into the turbine at this point the hydrogen is now gas at 850 pounds per square inch and 350 degrees Rankine – 110 degrees Fahrenheit and provides the power to drive the hydrogen and oxygen pumps It then goes through the main shutoff valve into the injector and to the combustion chamber Drawn in through the single stage oxygen pump oxygen flows through the inlet valve Directly through the mixture ratio control valve into the injector to combine with the hydrogen in the chamber The engine itself is as simple as the diagram to demonstrate Hydrogen enters at this point flows through the first stage pump into the second stage pump Passes through the cooling jacket manifold down through half the tubes to the turnaround manifold up the long tubes collected at the exit manifold Through the venturi into the turbine There it provides the power to drive the hydrogen and oxygen pumps Then around the large line through the main fuel shutoff valve into the injector and then to the combustion chamber On the oxygen side Oxygen flows through the inlet valve through a single stage pump directly through the mixture racial control valve into the injector Arriving at one of the vertical test stands the rl10 is installed and made ready for test fire warning Spaced firing conditions will be simulated a Steam injector system lowers the pressure to the near vacuum of space On completion of this test firing the engine will be returned to the manufacturing area for complete disassembly inspection and reassembly Years of experience research and development have gone into the design and manufacture of the Pratt & Whitney aircraft RL 10 rocket engines The rl10 is also undergone space condition testing at the nasa Lewis Research Center where special viewing ports permit continual visual check of space condition firing Pratt & Whitney aircrafts around the clock development program is helping accelerate the United States space efforts

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