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Linear Aerospike Engine Gallery


The sign accompanying the linear aerospike engine. It reads

The Linear Aerospike Engine

Marshall's Legacy of Flight

Seeking to develop lighter, more powerful launch vehicles capable of versatile work in Earth orbit, NASA and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics of California experimented in the late 1990s with an engine without a nozzle. Developed to support the X-33 Advanced Technology Demonstrator Program here, the linear aerospike is shaped like an inverted bell turned inside out, "unwrapped" and laid flat. A series of small combustion chambers along the unwrapped bell shoot hot gases along its outer surface, producing thrust. The single-stage X-33 would have been powered by a pair of these engines. Though the X-33 program ended in 2000, the successful development of the linear aerospike engine is helping engineers refine new ideas for tomorrow's next-generation propulsion systems.

Linear Aerospike Quick Facts

Propellants: Liquid Oxygen/Liquid Hydrogen
Thrust (at sea Level): 204,420 lbs.
Height: 7.5 feet
Width: 7.5 feet
Depth: 11.17 feet

Time picture taken Thu Jul 19 10:59:50 2012
Location picture taken Building 4205
Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville, AL
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