Photos
Article

By Evan Ackerman

The last time NASA fired an F-1 in anger was in 1972, with the launch of Apollo 17. Since then, the F-1 program has been largely dormant, passed over in favor of the Space Shuttle and its solid fuel booster rockets. But NASA still has a bunch of old F-1s kicking around (17 of them at last count), and last week, the agency got one out of storage at the Smithsonian where it had been sitting for like 40 years and fired up a little piece of it:

This firing was not of the entire F-1 engine, which would have been stupendously more firey. No, what you're looking at is what's called a gas generator, which is an auxiliary rocket engine used to power components of the actual rocket engine. In this case, the gas generator is what powers the turbine that pumps liquid fuel into the combustion chamber on the engine itself: the generator burns liquid oxygen and kerosene, just like a normal rocket engine, but all of that power is fed to a turbine instead of used as thrust.

On the F-1, that turbine spins at 5,500 RPM and produces 55,000 horsepower (!), while driving over 40,000 gallons of fuel into the F-1 combustion chamber every minute. So yeah, the fact that this rocket engine doesn't even count as a real rocket engine when it's attached to the F-1 should give you a good sense of how ridiculously powerful the whole thing was.

The F-1s worked incredibly well, both in terms of power and reliability, and NASA is hoping to learn from the design of the F-1 as it develops booster rockets to power the Space Launch System. Last year, NASA awarded three contracts aimed at improving the affordability, reliability and performance of the SLS boosters, and one of these contracts is focused entirely on the F-1: the engine could soon be back, and better than ever.

NASA Marshall, via AP

Source: http://www.dvice.com/2013-1-25/nasa-restarts-most-powerful-rocket-engine-ever-built

External Video
You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.

Other Popular Articles
 
Comments
Order by: 
Per page: 
 
  • There are no comments yet
The Social Network Buzz - Comment using your Facebook, AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo! account
Info
Administrator
The Black Vault Owner/Operator
01.25.2013 (543 days ago)
795 Views
0 Subscribers
All News by Administrator
Share This Article
Rate
0 votes
Related News
NASA’s Space Launch System, or SLS, will be the most powerful rocket in history.
Main Space
18 days ago · From Administrator
A newly discovered planet in a binary star system located 3,000 light-years from Earth
Main Space
18 days ago · From Administrator
Researchers have discovered a fossilized space rock that stands out against anything seen before.
Main Space
20 days ago · From Administrator
Scientists analyzing data from NASA’s Cassini mission have firm evidence the ocean inside Saturn's largest moon, Titan, might be as salty as the Earth's Dead Sea.
Main Space
20 days ago · From Administrator
Humans doing difficult, repetitive tasks or those who need assistance with movement may soon get a helping hand
Main Space
25 days ago · From Administrator
NASA restarts most powerful rocket engine ever built