The RD-180 engine
PRATT & WHITNEY FACT SHEET
Posted: May 14, 2000
The RD-180 is a total propulsion unit with hydraulics for control valve actuation and thrust vector gimbaling, pneumatics for valve actuation and system purging, and a thrust frame to distribute loads, all self contained as part of the engine. The engine, employing a LOX lead start, staged combustion cycle and LOX rich turbine drive, delivers a 10 percent performance increase over current operational U.S. booster engines and provide clean reusable operation.
Lockheed Martin has selected the RD-180 engine to provide the booster propulsion for its Atlas 3 launch vehicle and its candidate for the U.S. Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV).
The RD-180 is a staged combustion cycle engine that burns liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants. The two thrust chambers can gimbal +-8 degrees. The engine has a health monitoring and life prediction system. Minimized interfaces are needed with launch pad and vehicle (pneumatic and hydraulic systems self contained, electrical panels consolidated, thrust frame to simplify mechanical interface).
The engine offers environmentally clean operations with staged combustion oxidizer rich preburner, and oxidizer start and shutdown modes that eliminate coking and unburned kerosene pollution potential.
Forty to 100 percent continuous throttling provides potential for real time trajectory matching and engine checkout on the pad before launch commit.
Flight data file
Vehicle: Atlas 3A (AC-201)
Payload: Eutelsat's W4
Launch date: May 24, 2000
Launch window: 2139-2358 GMT (5:39-7:58 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: SLC-36B, Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Launch preview - Read our story for a complete preview of the first Atlas 3A launch.
Launch timeline - Chart with times and descriptions of events to occur during the launch.
Atlas 3A vehicle data - Overview of the rocket that will launch W4 into space.
Eutelsat W4 - Description of the satellite to be launched on AC-201.
Launch windows - Available windows for future launch dates of AC-201.
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