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XRS-2200 Linear Aerospike Engine

The XRS-2200 linear aerospike engine is displayed in front of Building 4205. This engine was apparently moved here some time after F-1 engine F-4023 was erected there in October 2009.

Looking at the current aerial view, I see that the engine has been moved from approximately the 3:00 position in the circular Propulsion Park on my last visit to approximately the 8:00 position. Based on Google Earth's "View Historical Imagery" feature, it appears that the engine was moved sometime between February 2016 and February 2017.

The XRS-2200 was developed in the late 1990s and was to have been used by the X-33 technology demonstrator vehicle; two engines such as this were to have been placed, side by side, on the base of the space vehicle. Because the XRS-2200 employs a number of small thrust cells (combustion chambers) exhausting against the engine's ramp, pitch, roll, and yaw control can be effected by differential throttling, avoiding the need to gimbal the engines (which saves weight and complexity).

Unfortunately, the X-33 program ran into developmental problems and was cancelled, and the XRS-2200 wasn't chosen for any later program.

The only other XRS-2200 of which I am aware is displayed at the INFINITY Science Center; presumably, these two engines were used in the X-33 full-thrust tests in the video above.

General background information about aerospike engines, including the theory of operation, can be found in this YouTube video.

A hot-fire test of a pair of XRS-2200s can be seen in this YouTube video, in glorious 240p (it was the late 1990s, after all).

Additional information about the XRS-2200 can be found in

NASA has an "X-33 Reusable Launch Vehicle" page which focuses on the XRS-2200; be sure to see the X-33 Dual Engine during Assembly (Top View) photo, a top view of the engine with its turbopumps, engine control systems, and gas generator. NASA also has a fact sheet on the X-33's linear aerospike engine. Spaceflight Now has a large number of news releases dating to the period of the XRS-2200 testing.

 
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