March 5: The Museum in Washington, DC will open today. Due to weather, the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA is closed.
This two-chambered, liquid-fuel rocket engine built by North American Aviation served as the booster for the Navaho missile that was powered by two ramjets. The booster was to quickly get the missile up to supersonic speed for its ramjets to operate. Each chamber produced 120,000 pounds of thrust, or 240,000 pounds total, using kerosene and liquid oxygen as propellants.
Navaho had a 8,850 kilometer (5,500 mile) range. It never became operational and was canceled in 1957. However, its booster-rocket engine was extremely important in the evolution of American large-scale, liquid-fuel engines, including those for the Redstone, Jupiter, Thor, and Atlas missiles, the Saturn V launch vehicle, and the Space Shuttle. This object was donated to the Smithsonian in 1970 by Rocketdyne.
Gift of Rocketdyne, Division of North American Aviation Co.