WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. --- The upper-stage engine model provided by Pratt & Whitney (P&W) for use on Lockheed Martin’s Titan-Centaur (TC) missions will be retired after the September 2003 TC-20 launch. This RL10 model, the RL10A-3-3A is the last of the RL10A-3 family, which has supported the Titan family of vehicles since the rocket’s first flight in 1974.
“This engine proved to be one of the most reliable and safe rocket engines in the world with 100 percent mission success during its support of the Titan series,” RL10 P&W Program Director for Upper-Stage Programs Dennis Mills said. “It has helped power some of this nation’s most memorable, scientifically significant and militarily important payloads.”
During this engine model’s history to date, 36 engines have supported 18 successful missions for both the government and military with 76 in-space firings totaling nearly four hours. It has successfully helped support Helios A and B solar probes, Viking 1 and 2 Mars landers, Voyager 1 and 2 flights that performed fly bys of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, the Cassini Saturn Orbit and three Milstar placements, in addition to helping eight classified Department of Defense payloads reach their proper orbits.
While the RL10A-3 family will be retired, the RL10A-4 and RL10B-2 families of engines continue to support expendable launch vehicles. Additionally, P&W is developing an RL60 engine. This next generation cryogenic upper-stage engine is designed to produce 60,000 pounds of thrust, with a specific impulse of 465 seconds, to meet the evolving needs of expendable launch requirements or human-rated missions.
P&W Space Propulsion, a leader in liquid, solid, electric and hypersonic propulsion, has sites located at West Palm Beach, Fla. and San Jose, Calif. P&W, a United Technologies company, is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines.