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Space Shuttle Main Engine  
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1981
Total Production: 15
Also Known As: RS-25 and SSME
Origin: United States of America
Corporations: Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne
Parent System: Space Shuttle Main Engine
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1981
Total Production: 15
Family Members: AR-22 and RS-25D/E
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Description: The Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) is a reusable rocket engine developed to power NASA's Space Shuttle introduced in the early 1980s. It was designed to operate at greater and extreme temperatures than other existing mechanical systems used to date. The SSME has achieved 100 percent flight success with a demonstrated reliability exceeding 0.9996 in over 1,000,000 seconds of hot-fire experience. It burns a mixture of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen attaining a maximum thrust level (in vacuum) of 512,300 pounds for 452 seconds which is equivalent to greater than 12,000,000 horsepower. At sea level it can attain a thrust level of 418,000-lb for 366 seconds. The engine has been designed to operates under temperatures ranging from -423� Fahrenheit to +6000� Fahrenheit. Each NASA Space Shuttle, a total of five were built, was powered by three SSME rocket engines until their retirement in the Summer of 2011.

The regeneratively cooled engine also features high performance fuel and oxidizer turbopumps that develop 69,000 horsepower and 25,000 horsepower, respectively, within compact envelops. Ultra-high-pressure operation of the pumps and combustion chamber allows expansion of all hot gases through a high-area-ratio exhaust nozzle to achieve efficiencies never previously attained in a production rocket engine. These advantages allow a heavier payload to be carried without increasing the launch vehicle size. The Space Shuttle Main Engine was upgraded to extend system robustness and reliability with the incorporation of the Large Throat Main Combustion Chamber (LTMCC). In conjunction with the LTMCC, new high pressure turbopumps and a redesigned powerhead were introduced as the SSME Block II configuration which launched in July 2001. The final upgrade to the Block II, introduced as the Advanced Health Management System (AHMS) and flown active in June 2007, would culminate into a factor of four improvement to engine safety when compared to earlier configurations.

Space Shuttle Main Engine Applications

Propulsion Systems AR-22 Space Systems Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle Main Engine Specifications

Diameter: 96 inch (2,438 millimeter)
Length: 168 inch (4,267 millimeter)
Combustion Chamber Pressure: 2,994 psi (210 kg/cm2)
Max Operating Temperature: +3,300 � Celsius
Min Operating Temperature: -252 � Celsius
Burn Time: 452 second (7.53 minute)
Dry Weight: 7,775 pound (3,527 kilogram)
Thrust: 512,300 pound (232 ton)
CEP: Circular Error Probable
Meters (m)   Kilometers (km)   Nautic Miles (nm)   Inch (in)   Yard (yd)   Foot (ft)   Millimeter (mm)
Pound (lb)   Kilogram (kg)   kN (KiloNewton)   Ton (t)
Meters per Second (mps)   Kilometers per Hour (kph)   Knot (kt)   Miles per Hour (mph)
Liter (l)   Galon (gl)
Year (yr)   Minutes (min)   Second (sec)
Shaft-Horse-Power (shp)

Space Shuttle Main Engine News

There are 2 news between
24 May 2017 and 10 Jul 2018
Tuesday, July 10, 2018AR-22 Rocket Engine Successfully Completes First Test Series
Wednesday, May 24, 2017Boeing and DARPA to Build XS-1 Phantom Express Experimental Spaceplane

Operators & Related Equipment


Grand Total 151
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