The effort to transition America’s space program to multiple-use vehicles that have a quick turnaround time has moved a significant step forward, a federal agency has confirmed, with the successful completion of a series of 10 firings of a rocket motor that happened one after another, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin..
The goal, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is to move toward a more aircraft-like ability to launching payloads, such as satellites, on demand.
The agency said it used an AR-22 Experimental Spaceplane Main Engine, a variation of the main engine used in the space shuttle program, for the recent test. It was run twice over two weeks to establish performance characteristics and turnaround processes for the record.
Then, the test – a series of 10 firings each lasting at least 100 seconds – began.
It finished, successfully, in about 240 hours.
“The 10×10 test series, with its sequence of 10 discrete, long-duration firings in rapid succession, is unprecedented for large hydrogen-fueled liquid rocket engines,” DARPA reported. “The test is an early check for one of the Experimental Spaceplane program’s most critical subsystems required to achieve aircraft-like operations.”
The testing was done at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Stennis, Mississippi.
“When it comes to space access, DARPA’s focus is on getting there quickly and inexpensively, to the specific orbit we want, at a time of our choosing,” explained Fred Kennedy.
He’s chief of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office.
“In the future, we foresee large constellations of small satellites, with an ongoing need for replenishment to replace old systems and demonstrate new, innovative capabilities. If successful, XSP will be a key part of that strategy,” he said.