SAN DIEGO — United Launch Alliance and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) are developing short- and longer-term solutions to prevent the cloud of burning hydrogen that envelopes the base of the Delta IV Heavy during liftoff. Seconds before launch, thousands of pounds of hydrogen are dumped through the three PWR RS-68 Common Core Booster first-stage engines to optimize their hydrogen/oxygen mix for ignition. Excess gas is deliberately burned off by radial, outwardly firing igniters or ...

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