Cool Video: Abort Engine Tests in the Desert

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne tests a launch abort engine for Boeing’s CST-100 planned capsule in the California desert. The engine would power a “pusher” abort system designed to rocket the 7-crew capsule away from danger in the event of a problem with the booster. CST-100 is Boeing’s entry into NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program.

A reader points me to this description of an earlier Rocketdyne project, the RS-88 engine, that was tested for use in Lockheed Martin’s planned Pad Abort Demonstration vehicle. The engine under went 14 hot-fire tests, but it was never used in any abort tests because the PAD vehicle was abandoned. The engine was later loaned to Rocketplane Global, a company that was developing a reusable suborbital space plane. That company has since went bankrupt.