Space Shuttle Main Engine

The First Ten Years

by Robert E. Biggs


This material was originally presented at the Liquid Rocket Propulsion History Colloquium held in conjunction with the AAS Annual Meeting, November 1‑3, 1989, Los Angeles, California, and was originally published in the AAS publication, History of Liquid Rocket Engine Development in the United States, 1955‑1980, American Astronautical Society History Series, Vol. 13, Stephen E. Doyle, editor, Part 3, Chapter 4: "Space Shuttle Main Engine, The First Ten Years," by Robert E. Biggs, pp. 69‑122. Copyright 1992 by American Astronautical Society. This material is reprinted with permission of the AAS.


 

The Engine (630K PDF)

The Obstacles

                Getting Started, Component Testing, Engine Testing, Problem Management (189K PDF)

                Start and Shutdown (301K PDF)

                High Pressure Fuel Turbopump Subsynchronous Whirl (218K PDF)

                High Pressure Oxidizer Turbopump Explosions (363K PDF)

                High Pressure Fuel Turbopump Turbine Blade Failures (382K PDF)

                Main Oxidizer Valve Fire, Main Fuel Valve Fracture, Nozzle Feed Line Failures (326K PDF)

                Fuel Preburner Burn Through (257K PDF)

The Goals, First Flight (263K PDF)

Acknowledgments, Acronyms, and Bibliography (135K PDF)