For release: 03/15/02
Release #: 02-058
Space Shuttle gets new lift for April 4 launch; new, safer engines to power Atlantis
The crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis will be getting a new lift — riding on new engines that are safer and more reliable, thanks to a new turbopump — when they launch on the STS-110 mission, scheduled for April 4. The new high-pressure fuel turbopump is not much larger than an automobile engine, yet generates 60 times the horsepower. The new engine configuration — designated as the Block II engine, managed by the Marshall Center — will potentially increase the number of flights between major engine overhauls.
Photo: Testing the new turbopumps on Shuttle Main Engine (NASA/MSFC)
What: A safer Space Shuttle Atlantis will feature three new, more robust engines when it launches April 4 on mission STS-110 from Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
The new Block II Main Engines incorporate an improved fuel pump - featuring fewer welds, a stronger integral shaft/disk and more robust bearings - making them safer and more reliable, and potentially increasing the number of flights between major overhauls.
A single Block II Engine was successfully demonstrated in July 2001 on STS-104. The upcoming mission marks the first time the Shuttle will be powered by three of the new engines.
Who: The Space Shuttle Projects Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the main engines, the world's most sophisticated reusable rocket engine. The new turbopump, made by Pratt and Whitney of West Palm Beach, Fla., was tested at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Boeing Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, Calif., manufactures the Space Shuttle Main Engine.
For more information: News media interested in more information on the Block II Main Engine upgrades may contact Dave Drachlis of the Marshall Space Flight Center Media Relations Department at (256) 544-0034. For more information on testing of the engine, contact Paul Foerman of the Stennis Space Center at (228) 688-3341.
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