Hello! Welcome to the J-2X Blog.
I would say that it’s a pretty safe bet that a large (very large) majority of the American population is unaware that we stand on the brink of testing the first new, large, human-rated liquid rocket developed in this country since Gerald Ford was President. I might even venture to suggest that a majority of the diverse and busy population supporting NASA also don’t know that this is the case.
Back then, during the Ford administration, the new engine was called the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME). Its initial development at the conceptual level began in the late 1960’s. The Space Shuttle itself wouldn’t fly until 1981, nearly six years after the first attempted engine test. Today, the engine is called J-2X and this blog represents an attempt to inform those who want to follow the exciting progress of this development effort as we approach full engine testing in early 2011.
As the name suggests, the J-2X has its roots in the Apollo Program with the J-2 engine used for the second and third stages of the Saturn V rocket that first took humans to the moon. In many ways, the original J-2 was the technological predecessor of the SSME. The J-2X design is the beneficiary of over fifty years of rocket engine experience spanning the original J-2, the SSME, the experimental J-2S, and the RS-68 engine that today powers the Delta IV commercial rocket.
The J-2X is being developed by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the home of the propulsion systems for the Apollo Program and the Space Shuttle Program. Our contracted partner in this development is Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne located in Los Angeles, California. Appropriately, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, taking into account corporate name changes over the years, was the developer of the liquid rocket engines that powered the Apollo Program and still powers today the Space Shuttle Program. Thus, we have assembled an experienced, formidable, and knowledgeable team for J-2X.
Your humble chronicler for this journey into the exciting final stages of J-2X development is William D. Greene. I am currently the Upper Stage Engine Element Associate Manager. The Upper Stage Engine Element is the NASA office responsible for J-2X engine design and development. For the first three and a half years of this project, I was the Systems Engineering and Integration Manager for this office. I have 22 years of experience, most of which has been in support of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and much of which has be dedicated to liquid rocket engine analysis, development, production, and testing. I will be charting the progress of the J-2X development effort, introducing you to the extraordinary team responsible for this effort, and sharing what I know about both this activity as well as about rocket engines in general.
This is going to be fun! C’mon along for the ride! For more information about the J-2X project, see the link to the video starring some of the key people engaged in this historic effort.
NASA and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne managers discuss the design and
development of the J-2X engine.