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IMAGE:  STS-110 launch
What was the first shuttle flight to use three Block II Main Engines?

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During two 2001 space shuttle missions, one of the three Main Engines was replaced by a newly enhanced Block II Main Engine for testing. Once the engineers were satisfied with the test results, they replaced all three engines on Space Shuttle Atlantis before STS-110. The three new engines provided the shuttle with a flawless launch on April 8, 2002.

The enhanced engines incorporate an improved high-pressure fuel turbopump with a stronger integral shaft/disk and tougher-than-steel bearings. The new design also eliminates welds in the turbopump by using a casting process for the housing. This makes the pump stronger and should increase the number of flights between major overhauls. The new turbopump is not much larger than an automobile engine, yet it generates 360 times the horsepower.

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Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/18/2002
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