Boeing's commercial space transportation (CST) 100 spacecraft has successfully completed a series of attitude control engine hot fire test on its thrusters at NASA White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico.
Performed by Pratt & Whitney, the orbital manoeuvring and attitude control system (OMAC) simulated altitude tests have confirmed thermal characteristics and thruster durability, assessed valve operation and verified combustion stability and performance.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Commercial Crew Development programme manager Terry Lorier said that the OMAC thrusters would affordably meet operational needs for safe, reliable human spaceflight.
"The 1,500lb force thrust class engine achieved full thrust while validating key operating conditions," Lorier said.
Designed as a key component for safe, reliable and affordable commercial crew transportation, the OMAC thruster can be deployed for multiple applications that include manoeuvring the CST-100 spacecraft during orbit and re-entry.
The OMAC thruster is also used to provide axial thrust, roll control and separation from the launch vehicle following a necessary abort. The spacecraft's service module can accommodate 24 OMAC thrusters.
Progressing in phase two of NASA's commercial crew development program (CCDev-2), the CST-100 spacecraft is being developed to carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and other low-Earth orbit destinations.
CCDev-2 follows the successful propulsion system design and hot-fire Bantam demonstration engine tests performed during phase one of the programme.
The second development phase is expected to allow Boeing to reduce additional component risks and develop its system through a preliminary design review.
Initial test flights of CST-100, which can also transport a combination of astronauts and cargo and is compatible with various expendable rockets, will be performed aboard United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle in 2015-16.
Image: An artist's rendering of CST-100 spacecraft and ISS. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.