LOX/Hydrocarbon Booster Engines

Aerojet's world-class LOX/Hydrocarbon Booster Engines includes the AJ26. The AJ26 engine family is an oxidizer-rich, staged-combustion Lox/Kerosene engine that achieves high performance in a lightweight compact package. Aerojet designed, developed and implemented modifications to transform NK-33/43 engines originally produced for the Soviet moon program into operationally-efficient configurations suitable for application to U.S. launch vehicles. The original NK-33/43 engines were designed by renowned gas turbine design bureau, N.D. Kuznetsov Joint Stock Company located south east of Moscow. Aerojet has complete design documentation and a manufacturing license for production of new engines in the U.S.

Test Firing AJ26 at StennisSome of the operability features of the engine include:

  •  Electromechanical actuators
  •  Single shaft, subcritical turbopump assembly
  •  Non-coking, low temperature oxidizer-rich turbine drive
  •  Non-coking hydrocarbon chamber coolant
  •  Altitude start capability
  •  No pre-bleeding of chamber coolant jacket
  •  No degreasing after pre-launch firings

The AJ26 In ActionOur AJ26 engine is the highest thrust-to-weight kerosene engine available. The simple design and unique technological approach eliminates exotic materials, coatings and complex 5 manufacturing processes. The first stage engine configuration produces 380,000 lbf thrust in vacuum conditions and its weight is approximately 2,985 lbm. The second stage engine thrust is 398,000 lbf and weighs approximately 3,243 lbm.

Aerojet has modified and tested over ten engines. Our test programs have been conducted in Samara, Russia, Sacramento and at the NASA Stennis.

Aerojet is currently under contract to Orbital Sciences Corporation for the expendable configuration of the AJ26 engine. Orbital utilizes two engines on a common frame for the first stage propulsion on their Antares medium class launch vehicle.

Aerojet AJ26