J-2X Progress: November 2013 Update

It’s been a few months since we talked about J-2X development progress.  So, let me bring you up to date.  Here’s the short version: Testing for engine E10002 is complete Engine E10003 has been installed in test stand A-2 and has successfully completed its first test (a 50-second calibration test on 6 November) Engine E10004 …

LEO Progress: RS-25 Adaptation

I love dictionaries (yes, I know, you’re shocked; shocked!).  I have several at home and at work including a two-volume abridged Oxford English Dictionary (OED) that was a wonderful gift from my mother several years ago.  The definitions and word origin above comes from the OED on-line site.  Embedded within our language is so much …

J-2X Extra: What's in a Name?

It’s been over six years since I started working on the J-2X development effort.  I missed the very first day that the notion of a J-2X engine was conceived, but I was only two weeks late to the party.  So, I’ve been with the thing almost from the beginning.  And throughout that entire period, whenever …

J-2X Extra: Human-Rated Chili

I enjoy cooking.  Most people think that when I say that, it’s because I’m an engineer by training, that I like cooking for the structured notion of a recipe and exactly measuring things out and the chemical precision of mixing that with this, at this speed, under these conditions, with these implements, and then forming …

J-2X Doghouse: Okay, So We Ain't That Smart — Yet

Welcome back to the J-2X Doghouse.  We’re going talk about some test results and test data, exactly what Data Dogs love most to do.Back in the day — back before I had the carefully regulated, federally mandated, and strictly enforced lobotomy that allows people into the ranks of management — I was once an analyst.  …

J-2X Extra: Supplier Appreciation

Pssssssst.  Come over here.  Yes, you.  Come on.  Right here.  Lean in real close because I’ve got a secret to share.  A little closer.  Are you ready?  Okay, here it is: rocket engines are complex machines with lots and lots of pieces. Well, maybe that’s not much of a secret.  Maybe that’s just about as …

J-2X Progress: Test Stands Moving Towards Readiness

In the broadest sense, stepping back from the project, the J-2X development effort has three primary branches.  First, of course, you have our prime contractor, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) who is responsible for designing the engine and demonstrating that it meets the imposed requirements.  Second, you have the team here at NASA responsible for …

J-2X Progress: Valves, Commands into Action

Everyone seems to like analogies between the composition of a rocket engine and that of the human body.  These are often colorful but not always helpful.  In some cases, however, they work pretty well. Okay, so let’s start with your body as it is.  Now, imagine removing all of your bones.  Guess what?  You’re an …

J-2X Progress: Turbomachinery — The Rotating Components

It was once pointed out to me that most of a rocket engine really isn’t a whole lot more than a jumbled bunch of specialized plumbing.  Notable exceptions to that general rule are the engine controller — the brain of the engine — and the rotating components, i.e., the turbomachinery.  Of course, the person who was telling …