PWR: We Could Build Expendable SSME Quickly


PWR Offers Shuttle Engine Alternative
Aviation Week

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) says it could rapidly stand up an expendable space shuttle main engine (SSME) if the Obama administration decides to use a shuttle-derived throwaway heavy lifter as an alternative to the Ares I crew launch vehicle.

The company has told a White House panel reviewing human spaceflight options that it could have a sufficient number of SSMEs ready within a year using a combination of leftovers from the shuttle program and newly-built engines. It has also proposed developing a modified, lower-cost SSME as a follow-on, PWR President Jim Maser said July 14 at a Space Foundation roundtable in Washington.

Maser stressed that PWR is not advocating any particular launch vehicle architecture to the study panel, which is headed by former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine. “We’re assuming any solution they choose would have some liquid propulsion in it … We’re ready to support any architecture they recommend,” he says.

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