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Lox/LCH4
Lox/LCH4 propellant. Liquid methane, or liquid natural gas, was originally proposed in the 1960's as an an alternate to hydrogen to power the spacecraft for long-duration manned Mars expeditions. It provided longer and easier storage and higher density than hydrogen. In the 1980's, it was proposed that spacecraft returning from Mars could extract methane fuel from the Martian atmosphere using Brayton-cycle processors. This made Lox/Methane a standard for NASA's deep space manned spacecraft shuttle follow-on concepts. Development began of engines intended for use in reaction control systems and satellite maneuvering systems after 2000. In the 1990's, liquid methane was proposed as a launch vehicle fuel by the Russians, to be applied to conversions of various existing launch vehicles, as well as the clean-sheet-of-paper Riksha design. NASA dropped Lox/Methane from its Orion manned capsule once Mars plans crumbled; and the Russian booster designs never found any funding. Development of the engines continued in the United States for proposed manned spacecraft and spaceplanes.

Oxidizer Density: 1.140 g/cc. Oxidizer Freezing Point: -219 deg C. Oxidizer Boiling Point: -183 deg C. Fuel Density: 0.424 g/cc. Fuel Freezing Point: -184 deg C. Fuel Boiling Point: -162 deg C.



Subtopics

CEV SM American manned spacecraft module. Study 2006. The Service Module of NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle provided basic consumables, control systems, and sufficient delta-V for return of the CEV from lunar orbit to the earth.

HL-42 American manned spaceplane. The HL-42 was a reusable, lifting body manned spacecraft designed in 1997 to be placed into low-Earth orbit by an expendable booster.

LSAM American manned lunar lander. Lunar lander proposed by NASA in 2005 for their planned return to the moon by 2018.

MEM American manned Mars lander. Study 1967. The Mars Excursion Module was designed by North American for the Marshall Spaceflight Center in an October 1966-August 1967 study.

OPI Methane Engine Orion Propulsion LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Reaction control thruster for future manned spacecraft. Developed from 2001; tested 2005.

Orbitec Methane Engine Orbital Technologies Corporation LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Reaction control thruster. Tested 2005. Used vortex-cooled combustion process to eliminate combustion chamber heating.

Orion CEV The Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) was NASA's manned spacecraft for the 21st Century, a throwback to the Apollo capsule, a shuttle replacement with an uncertain future.

RD-0120-CH Kosberg LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Design concept 1990's. Proposed variant of the RD-0120 engine using liquid methane instead of hydrogen as propellant.

RD-0120M-CH Kosberg LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Design concept 1990's. Proposed variant of the RD-0120M engine using liquid methane instead of hydrogen as propellant.

RD-0129 Kosberg LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Developed 1990s.

RD-0234-CH Kosberg LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Developed 1996-. Proposed variant of RD-0234 engine using LOX-liquid methane instead of N2O4/UDMH as propellants.

RD-0256-Methane Kosberg LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Design concept 1996-. Proposed variant of RD-0256 engine using LOX-liquid methane instead of N2O4/UDMH as propellants.

RD-160 Glushko LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Upper stage. Developed 1993-1996. Methane version of LOx / kerosene upper stage engine RD-161. Gimbaling +/- 6 degree in two planes.

RD-167 Glushko LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Upper stage. Design concept 1990's. Proposed upper stage engine, a methane variant of RD-134. Gimbaling +/- 3 degree in two planes. Four chambers with one common turbopump.

RD-169 Glushko LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Riksha-0 stage 1. Design concept 1990's. LOX/Methane engine derived from RD-120. Gimbaling +/- 8 degree in two planes. In 1996 prototype development was estimated to take four years from go-ahead.

RD-182 Glushko LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Riksha (-1, -2) stage 1. Developed 1994-. Methane variant of RD-120K engine. Thrust range and Isp range due to throat diameter and chamber pressure. Gimbaling +/- 6 degree in two planes.

RD-183 Glushko LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Developed 1996-. Main engine for apogee stage of Riksha-1 launcher project. Gimbaling +/- 10 degree in two planes. Nozzle expansion ratio is 75/0.055=1364.

RD-184 Glushko LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Developed 1996-on. Attitude correction engine for apogee stage of Riksha-1 launcher project (together with RD-183). Gimbaling +/- 20 degree in two planes.

RD-185 Glushko LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Riksha-0 stage 2. Developed 1996-. Upper stage version of RD-169 with larger nozzle. Gimbaling +/- 4 degree in two planes.

RD-190 Glushko LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Riksha-0 stage 1. Developed 1996-. The RD-190 consists of 6 RD-169 engines. Each chamber can be gimbaled individually in two planes by +/- 8 degree.

RD-192 Glushko LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Proposed methane-variant of RD-191. Gimbaling +/- 8 degree in two planes. In 1996 prototype development was estimated to take four years from go-ahead. Nozzle expansion ratio is 262/0.75=349.

RD-192.2 Glushko LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Developed 1996-on. Proposed variant of RD-192. Staged combustion cycle with fuel-rich gas generator. Gimbaling +/- 8 degree in two planes.

RD-192.3 Glushko LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Developed 1996-on. Proposed variant of RD-192. Gas generator cycle. Gimbaling +/- 8 degree in two planes. Status 1998 was project based on RD-191 prototype, development estimated for four years.

RD-192S Glushko LOx/LCH4 rocket engine. Developed 1996-on. Proposed variant of RD-192. Staged combustion cycle with oxidizer-rich gas generator. Gimbaling +/- 8 degree in two planes.

XR3M9 XCOR LOx/CH4 rocket engine. First stages. Hardware. Methane-fueled engine allowing long-term on-orbit storage, higher density than hydrogen engines. Intended for use in reaction control systems and satellite maneuvering systems

XR5M12 XCOR LOx/CH4 rocket engine. First stages. Conceptual LOx/methane rocket engine developed for a DARPA program through layout design phase, but never built.

XR5M15 XCOR LOx/CH4 rocket engine. First stages. Hardware. Prototype LOX/methane rocket engine developed as a stepping stone to NASA's original Orion manned spacecraft and return to the moon and manned mission to Mars plans.

Engines: RD-0120-CH, RD-182, RD-0120M-CH, RD-167, RD-169, RD-0234-CH, RD-0256-Methane, RD-185, RD-190, RD-192, RD-192.2, RD-192.3, RD-192S, OPI Methane Engine, Orbitec Methane Engine, RD-0129, RD-160, RD-183, RD-184, XR3M9, XR5M12, XR5M15. Spacecraft: MEM, HL-42, CEV SM, Orion CEV, LSAM.

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