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Sunday, August 29, 2021

CONTINUITY: M-1 Rocket Engine Evolutionary Plans

The Aerojet M-1 rocket engine was envisioned in the early 1960s as providing propulsion for heavy launch vehicles that would succeed the Saturn series as the U.S. developed a mature space program with a sustained presence in space. The original design was a gas generator cycle liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen engine with a single combustion chamber and nozzle, generating 1.5 million pounds (6.67 meganewtons) of thrust with a vacuum specific impulse of 428 seconds. The thrust was the same as the LOX/kerosene F-1 engine used in the first stage of the Saturn V, and like that engine, it used the relatively cool turbopump exhaust to cool the lower part of the engine nozzle.

The initial design was seen as the starting point for further evolution of the engine, increasing its thrust to 1.8 to 2 million pounds, increasing its efficiency by adopting a staged combustion cycle and expansion deflection nozzle, and ducted rocket and air-turborocket designs. This Aerojet design study [PDF] from the early 1960s sketches the evolution of the engine, including the Sea Dragon concept.

The M-1 engine project was cancelled in 1965 before the first prototype was assembled.

Posted at August 29, 2021 13:07