Main Engine Cut Off

Six of Ten AR-22 Firings Completed

Jeff Foust, for SpaceNews:

The Aerojet Rocketdyne AR-22 engine is in the midst of a series of 10 100-second engine firings over the course of 10 days at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. As of July 2 the company has completed six such tests and was on track to complete the rest on schedule.

I’ve heard that they did lose a day due to weather last week, and have been working around some since, but this is at least somewhat encouraging.

I’ve also heard a lot of skepticism about the vehicle that is supposed to be attached to this engine, but I guess we’ll see soon:

Boeing is beginning to build hardware for the Phantom Express vehicle. The vehicle’s liquid oxygen tank, made of composite materials, is currently in an autoclave being cured, said Steve Johnston of Boeing. “We’re in the production of flight hardware, from a tank standpoint.”

Other subsystems are going through a series of critical design reviews in the coming months, culminating in a review for the overall vehicle in early 2019, he said. Full assembly of the vehicle will begin in the spring of 2019.

“Things are going quite well,” Wierzbanowski said. “I think we’re pretty much on a very solid path of making this happen on the timescale that we want to.”

Let’s just say that Aerojet Rocketdyne is the uncontested leader in developing engines without a vehicle.