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Utilizing the Phantom Express to Supply Water to Propellant Producing Orbital Depots

24 Aug 2018, 03:10 UTC
Utilizing the Phantom Express to Supply Water to Propellant Producing Orbital Depots
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Artist rendition of a suborbital Phantom Express with side mounted payload rocket (Credit: Boeing Aerospace) During a recent 10 day testing period, Aerojet Rocketdyne successfully hot-fired its new Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) derived rocket engine-- the AR-22. The Sacramento, California headquartered company successfully demonstrated that the AR-22 could be restarted every 24 hours for ten consecutive days. And this is a major step towards testing the new rocket engine's reusability in Boeing's future unmanned space plane-- the Phantom Express. Boeing's first test flights of the Phantom Express are currently scheduled for 2021. But the final test of the reusable space plane will entail launching the Phantom Express ten times in just ten days while deploying payloads between 3000 to 5000 lbs (1.36 tonnes to 2.27 tonnes) to LEO with an expendable upper stage.Launching the Phantom Express with a single rocket engine, the AR-22 will be designed to be utilized up to ten times before requiring refurbishment. And each AR-22 engine will have an ultimate lifetime of 55 missions before before being completely replaced by a brand new AR-22 engine. Boeing estimates the cost to launch a the Phantom Express to be less than $5 million. And Boeing plans to ...

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