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Development and design company won massive contract to develop and design new rocket engines

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Inc. today announced it has won a $1.2 billion NASA contract for the design development of rocket engines for the next generation of spacecrafts. NASA awarded the funds Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne to develop and test a J-2X engine that will power the upper stages of the Ares I and Ares V launch vehicles.
"We are very proud to have been selected by NASA to power the return of U.S. astronauts to the moon and beyond,” said Stephen Finger, president, Pratt & Whitney. “This contract award is another important milestone in the partnership between Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and NASA, which spans more than half a century.”

The two vehicles are part of the Orion program to send astronauts and cargo back to the moon before the year 2020.  The program builds upon the legacy of the Apollo-Saturn Program.  Liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen powers the J-2X, which provides 294,000 pounds of thrust to power the Ares vehicles.

“The J-2X builds on our knowledge and experience with the proven J-2 and J-2S engines, while simultaneously integrating state-of-the-art technology in order to give NASA a powerful, cost-effective, reliable engine,” said Jim Maser, president, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

The newly formed contract includes ground and flight-testing and extends through December 31, 2012.

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By stromgald on 7/18/2007 5:35:02 PM , Rating: 2
The engine is still a LO2/LH2 engine, so it's probably nothing revolutionary. They're probably just updating the materials and maybe putting a better turbopump on there.

The only thing significant about this news that I can see is that P&W wins . . . . again. Who are their competitors and how are they surviving?

RE: Competition?
By christojojo on 7/18/2007 7:07:46 PM , Rating: 3

According to this 2005 news article only one if a merger was approved. Note this is only in the liquid propulsion market. I am still researching this since I have a hard time believing the Euros and Far Eastern market don't have competitors to P&W also.

RE: Competition?
By mendocinosummit on 7/18/2007 9:19:08 PM , Rating: 1
Only companies with manufacturing capabilities should receive contracts from the government. Unfortunately this increases costs, but I don't trust the rest of the world. Also, if we were relying on others to make hight tech equipment like this and we were suddenly cut off from the rest of the world (War) then we would be screwed.

RE: Competition?
By Ringold on 7/19/2007 9:36:43 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure why that got modded to zero. Possibly the only "industry" in which it makes a lot of sense to put up protectionist walls is high-tech defense and defense-related technologies -- like this stuff. We (the US) have already had some close calls (one of Dan Rather Reports better reports), and one need only look at an example like Argentina's lack of access to Exocet missiles during the Falklands War as an example. Of course, Argentina can't really afford to do everything in-house, but for multi-trillion buck America, not so much a big deal.

RE: Competition?
By Felofasofa on 7/19/2007 5:08:25 AM , Rating: 3
No, not competition, this is "Corporate Welfare". Companies like P/W, Lockheed, TRW etc, get huge sums of taxpayers cash and have to show sweet FA for it. This is where the $3 Billion dollar toilets come from, that usually don't work!

RE: Competition?
By Ringold on 7/19/2007 9:42:16 PM , Rating: 2
"Corporate welfare" is subsidies to unprofitable industries -- like solar. This is more along the lines of maintaining experience and capacity to do things "at home" with friendly firms versus alowing skill and capacity to atrophy and then realize belatedly we need more of something except that now our supplier happens to not like us, can't sell to us in order to maintain neutrality, or is downright at war with us. I suppose it could still be corporate welfare, but.. not deserving of too much negative spin.

Besides, our billion dollar toilets may not always work, but the Chinese ones at this point would probably be made out of some poisonous goop that burns your ass off. *cue the execution of another government official*

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