Integrated Powerhead Demonstrator
The integrated powerhead demonstrator (IPD) was a U.S. Air Force project in the 1990s and early 2000s run by NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to develop a new rocket engine front-end (powerhead) that would utilize a full flow staged combustion cycle (FFSCC). The prime contractors were Rocketdyne and Aerojet.
The long-term design goal was to apply the advantages of FFSCC to create a reusable engine with improved life, reliability and performance. The powerhead demonstrator project was to develop a demonstrator design of what could become the front-end for a future engine development project. No subsequent funding was made available by public policymakers, so no full engine design was ever completed.
On July 19, 2006 Rocketdyne announced that the demonstrator engine front-end had been operated at full capacity.
According to NASA, the IPD project was the first of three phases of the Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology Program, which was aimed at demonstrating technologies that double the capability of state-of-the-art cryogenic booster engines. The project's goal in 2005 was to develop a full-flow, hydrogen-fueled, staged combustion rocket engine.
Future engine development work beyond the powerhead demo was never funded by the US government, and neither Rocketdyne—nor later Aerojet Rocketdyne after a 2013 merger—chose to pursue such development with their own or other private funding.
- Integrated Powerhead Demonstrator (wikisource)
- "Next Generation Propulsion Technology: Integrated Powerhead Demonstrator" (PDF). NASA Facts. Marshall Space Flight Center. January 2005. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
- "New 'Rocket Engine of the Future' Goes to 'Mainstage'". Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.[permanent dead link]
- "U.S. Air Force-NASA Technology Demonstrator Engine for Future Launch Vehicles Successfully Fired During Initial Full Duration Test". NASA. 2005.
- "U.S. Air Force Contract Continues Northrop Grumman's Work On Upper Stage Engine Technology Program". Northrop Grumman. 2007.
- Emdee, Jeff (Winter 2004). "Launch Vehicle Propulsion". The Aerospace Corporation. (Includes info on tech hurdles and development of IPD.)
- "U.S. Air Force-NASA Technology Demonstrator Engine for Future Launch Vehicles Successfully Fired During Initial Full Duration Test". NASA. 2005-02-05. (Test firing news with pictures.)
- "Building a Better Rocket Engine". NASA. October 14, 2005.
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