The Fastrac engine is a low-cost rocket engine, with a thrust of 270,000 newtons, propelled by liquid oxygen and RP-1,
that was being developed at the Marshall Space
Flight Center as the propulsion unit for the X-34 reusable rocket plane.
With the cancellation of the X-34 project in 2001, work on the Fastrac engine
also came to a halt. At the time, Fastrac was only the second of about 30
new rocket engines built over the past quarter of a century, to originate
in the United States. Fastrac was less expensive than similar engines because
of an innovative design approach that used commercial, off-the-shelf parts
and fewer of them. Some of its characteristics, including its range of thrust
and specific impulse, are shared with the Merlin 1 engine used on SpaceX's Falcon 1.
|Fastrac engine hot-fire test at Marshall Space Flight