XCOR Aerospace has announced the culimination of a 12-year project to develop piston-driven pumps for delivering fuel and oxidizer to rocket engines. A recent test firing successfully demonstrated the delivelry of both kerosene and liquid oxygine to one of their engines for the first time.
The small, Mojave, California-based company made its mark with its piston-driven rocket engine fuel pump in the early 2000s and snarred DARPA funding to pull it off. This is the first time, a company press release says, that they’ve managed to supply an engine with both fuel and oxydizer in a test run.
“Unlike the expensive and finicky turbopumps on today’s rocket propulsion systems, XCOR’s piston pumps are designed to be as powerful in their thrust class as turbines, but as easy to manufacture, maintain and operate as an automotive engine,” said XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson in the release.
I’m making plans to visit the company next month. Hopefully I’ll get to see one of these engines fire in person.