Key Message
Future Space

Support Space

Make your voice heard in Washington D.C. by writing your Congressional Representatives today to support America's space programs.

Contact Congress Now


Smoke & Fire


Product Information

50 years of providing proven propulsion solutions

  • Innovation: Since the dawn of the U.S. space program, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) has propelled the country into the future, developing game changing propulsion systems such as the RS-68, J-2X and THAAD interceptor systems.
  • Dependability: 50 years of safely launching U.S astronauts, science, communication and defense payloads into space with an unmatched record of safety and reliability.
  • Proven Performance: Successfully powered 16 critical launches in 2011 and 2012, with 100% mission success.
  • Cost Effective Solutions: PWR is focused on efficiency and cost reduction and is ready to partner with NASA and industry to achieve even greater cost savings for the U.S. taxpayer.


J-2X Upper Stage Engine

PWR's advanced upper-stage engine is being developed and tested under a NASA contract to power the nation’s next-generation space launch vehicle. The J-2X is the first human-rated rocket engine to be tested in the U.S. in more than 35 years, and is evolved from the proven J-2 engine, which took astronauts to the moon in the Apollo era.


PWR’s J-2X combines the best attributes of its predecessor with modern improvements, including advanced analyses and the latest in materials and manufacturing processes to achieve high efficiency and increased power. The J-2X provides highly reliable upper-stage performance for launch vehicles and highly-efficient propulsion to deliver astronauts and payloads to low-Earth orbit, the Moon and beyond.


Development of the J-2X started in 2006 and is well into testing. In November 2011, PWR successfully completed a full-mission duration hot-fire test on the engine, demonstrating its ability to successfully power humans further into space than ever before. NASA has selected J-2X to be the upper-stage engine for the Space Launch System (SLS), and it is imperative that the program continue to be fully funded.


Visit for more details about PWR's J-2X rocket engine.



RS-68 Booster Engine

The RS-68 is the world’s most powerful liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen engine, generating 17 million horsepower. The engine was commercially developed for the Delta IV family of rockets, and since its certification in 2001, has boosted numerous payloads that included satellites vital to worldwide communication, navigation, research, weather prediction, and national security.


RS-68A Booster Engine


The RS-68A, an upgrade of the RS-68, is a liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen booster designed to provide increased thrust and improved fuel efficiency for the Delta IV family of rockets. The engine recently completed a Design Certification Review, demonstrating it has met all requirements to power heavy-lift vehicles into space. With 39,000 more pounds of thrust than a basic RS-68 engine, the RS-68A will become the world’s most powerful rocket upon its inaugural flight, scheduled for June 2012. That mission will use three RS-68A engines mounted to form a triple-body rocket on a Delta IV-Heavy launch vehicle.


Visit for more details about PWR's RS-68 rocket engine.





RS-25 Booster Engine (Space Shuttle Main Engine)

The RS-25, also known as the Space Shuttle Main Engine, is the world’s most reliable rocket engine ever built, having powered humans and cargo to the International Space Station with 100 percent ascent mission success throughout the program’s 30-year career. These highly reliable engines powered all 135 shuttle launches, accumulating more than 57 hours of total flight time.


With the retirement of the space shuttle program in 2011, the RS-25s have been retained to support initial missions of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) – an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle being designed to transport humans to the Moon, Mars and beyond.


On the space shuttle, the RS-25 was used in clusters of three engines to power the shuttle into space, and the engines were fully reusable. On the SLS, expendable versions of the engines will be used in clusters of up to five.


The RS-25 burns cryogenic liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen, and its high-pressure fuel pump delivers as much horsepower as 28 locomotives. If water instead of fuel were pumped by the three engines, an average family-sized swimming pool could be drained in 25 seconds.


Visit for more details about PWR's RS-25 rocket engine.





RD-180 Booster Engine


The RD-180 is the only liquid oxygen/kerosene fueled engine with an oxygen-rich staged-combustion cycle flying in the United States today. It delivers more than 1 million pounds of thrust, and is used to boost the Atlas V launch vehicles.


The RD-180 booster engine is offered by RD AMROSS, a partnership between the world’s two premier propulsion companies – Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne of the U.S. and NPL Energomash of Russia. It recently boosted the Mars Science Laboratory rover, which is on its way to the red planet to assess its habitability.


Visit for more details about the RD AMROSS RD-180 rocket engine.






RL10 Upper Stage Engine

The RL10 is an upper-stage engine that has accumulated one of the most impressive lists of accomplishments in the history of space propulsion.  The RL10 has helped place numerous military, government and commercial satellites into orbit, and powered space-probe missions to nearly every planet in the solar system.


Some of its notable interplanetary missions include the Surveyor Lunar Lander, Viking Mars Lander and the Voyager Outer Planets Fly-By.


The RL10 continues its legacy as the industry workhorse, with the RL10A4-2 engine delivering 22,300 pounds of thrust to power the upper stage of Atlas V rocket; and the RL10B-2 engine delivering 24,750 pounds of thrust to power the upper stage of the Delta IV rocket.


Recent missions of the RL10A4-2 include the Juno spacecraft, which is on its way to study planet Jupiter; and the Mars Science Laboratory, which is traveling to the red planet to assess its habitability. 


The RL10B-2 recently powered the latest military satellite to increase communications capabilities for the U.S. Department of Defense, and has powered numerous other payloads into orbit for the U.S. government.


Visit for more details about PWR's RL10 rocket engine.



FutureSpaceUSA on Facebook FutureSpaceUSA on Twitter Visit Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's YouTube Channel