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RD-180 (РД-180)
RD-180 test firing, November 4, 1998 at the Marshall Space Flight Center Advanced Engine Test Facility.
RD-180 test firing, November 4, 1998 at the Marshall Space Flight Center Advanced Engine Test Facility.
Country of Origin Russia
Date 1999
Designed by NPO Energomash
Manufacturer NPO Energomash
Application Booster
Predecessor RD-170
Status In use
Liquid-fuelled engine
Propellant LOX / RP-1
Cycle Staged combustion
Chamber 2
Nozzle Area ratio 36.87
Thrust(Vac) 933,400 lbf (4.15 MN)
Thrust(SL) 860,568 lbf (3,83 MN)
Thrust-to-weight ratio 78.44
Chamber pressure 3,868 psia (26.7 MPa, 266.8 bar)
Isp(Vac) 338 sec (3,313 N·s/kg)
Isp(SL) 311 sec (3,053 N·s/kg)
length 140 in (3.56 m)
Diameter 124 in (3.15 m)
Dry weight 12,081 lb (5,480 kg)

The RD-180 (РД-180, Ракетный Двигатель-180, Rocket Engine-180) is a dual-combustion chamber, dual nozzle, Russian-developed rocket engine, derived from the RD-170 used in Zenit rockets. Like the four chamber RD-170, the combustion chambers of the RD-180 share a single turbopump unit. Rights to employ the RD-180 were acquired by General Dynamics Space Systems Division (later purchased by Lockheed Martin) in the early 1990s for use in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) and the Atlas program. As these programs were conceived to support United States government launches as well as commercial launches, it was arranged for the RD-180 to be co-produced by Pratt & Whitney. All production to date has been in Russia. The engine is currently sold by a joint venture between Pratt & Whitney and NPO Energomash (the Russian developer and builder) called RD AMROSS.

The RD-180 is fueled by a kerosene / LOX mixture and uses an extremely efficient, high-pressure staged combustion cycle. The engine (and its progenitor the RD-170) is unique in that it employs a LOX-rich preburner, unlike typical fuel rich US designs. The thermodynamics of the cycle allow a LOX-rich preburner to be more powerful per unit weight, but with the drawback that high pressure, high temperature gaseous oxygen must be transported throughout the engine. The movements of its nozzles are controlled by four hydraulic actuators. It is a very large engine and is quite sturdy.

The RD-180 was first deployed on the Atlas IIA-R vehicle, which was the Atlas IIA vehicle with the Russian (hence the R) engine replacing the previous main engine. This vehicle was later renamed the Atlas III. An additional development program was undertaken to certify the engine for use on the modular Common Core Booster primary stage of the Atlas V rocket. It is also currently planned to be used on the new Rus-M rocket being developed by Roskosmos contractors.[1]

As an additional note, the RD-180 engine which was initially used for structural tank testing and frequency response testing at the Lockheed Martin Astronautics main plant in Denver was also displayed at the 23rd G8 summit meeting at which US President Clinton and the Russian president Boris Yeltsin met.



Besides the general specifications given in the table, the engine runs with an oxidizer to fuel ratio of 2.72, and is capable of being throttled from 40% to 100% of rated thrust.

See also


  1. ^ [1]

External links



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