Engine for DARPA’s New Military Space Plane Aces Record


Sarah started writing for Space.com in June of 2015. Her work has been featured by Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, Quanta Magazine, Wired, The Scientist, Science Friday and WGBH’s Inside NOVA.

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The company Aerojet Rocketdyne has successfully wrapped up a marathon test of the space shuttle-era AR-22 engine, firing it 10 times in 10 days to test its suitability for a quick-turnaround reusable space plane.

The engine test, undertaken at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, is the latest step in the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Experimental Spaceplane program. The crew worked 24/7 to fuel and fire the massive engine 10 times, for 100 seconds each, over 10 days — ending with 68 minutes to spare, and even enduring two lightning strikes to the building housing the test.

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