Canadian Arrow’s Engine Tested

Image credit: Canadian Arrow

The Canadian Arrow X-Prize team has performed a successful low-pressure test of their liquid oxygen and ethyl alcohol rocket engine, bringing them one step closer to winning the $10 million X-Prize. The Canadian Arrow is based on the design of a World War II German V-2 rocket, but it’s been updated with modern technology. The team has scheduled several more tests of the rocket engine at higher pressures, and hopes to make an actual launch attempt some time in 2004.

The Canadian Arrow X PRIZE Team has successfully tested the rocket engine that is designed to, in the coming months, take passengers into space.

The test, conducted late last evening at a test site north of London confirms that the Canadian Arrow Team has successfully reengineered a World War II rocket design into a modern technology that is capable of winning the $10 million X PRIZE.

“Our team has spent five years researching, designing and building toward the test we performed tonight,” said Canadian Arrow Team Leader Geoff Sheerin. “We had a perfect ignition and good clean burn. There were a lot of smiles here, that’s for sure.”

The engine, with 57,000 pounds of thrust, is modeled after the German V-2 rocket engine and is believed to be the largest liquid propellant engine ever built in Canada. It is fueled by a mixture of liquid oxygen and ethyl alcohol and at full pressure, consumes approximately 250 pounds of propellant per second. Last night’s test was at partial pressure, and opens the door to higher pressure testing.

The engine and test stand are part of a 45 ft. tall structure that is surrounded on three sides by concrete walls that are two feet thick. Large berms stand between the engine test structure and the control centre that is built into the ground, and is where the team electronically directed and monitored the test.

“This has taken us a bold leap closer to our flights that will capture the X PRIZE,” said Sheerin. “It wasn’t just a test of our engine, but of our test stand, support equipment, team capabilities and many other things that will be necessary to support full launch capabilities.”

Next steps for the team will include continued testing of the engine to prepare it for actual flight onboard the first Canadian Arrow spacecraft that is scheduled for launch next year. When successful, the Arrow will make Canada the fourth nation to put humans into space.

Sheerin thanked his Team for their long hours and dedication. “Most importantly,” he told them, “we have taken the next step toward our stated goal of ‘making space for you.’

Original Source: Canadian Arrow News Release