Rocket Engine, Liquid Fuel, RL-10


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

Shown here is the RL-10 rocket engine. Designed and built by the Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Division of the United Aircraft Corporation, the RL-10 was the world's first operational liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen, restartable rocket engine. Two RL-10 engines, each capable of producing 15,000 pounds of thrust, powered the Centaur upper stage carried atop the Atlas and Titan launch vehicles. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched the first Atlas-Centaur rocket in 1966, during which the RL-10 successfully demonstrated a full-thrust re-start in space.

A cluster of six RL-10 engines also powered the second stage of the Saturn I launch vehicle, predecessor of the giant Saturn V rocket that carried astronauts to the Moon between 1969 and 1972.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Credit Line

Transferred from the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center


Chamber, 347 stainless steel brazed with silver; piping, polished stainless steel; pump, aluminum casting; heat exchanger, nickel alloy


Overall: 27 9/16 in. tall x 70 in. long x 40 in. diameter (70 x 177.8 x 101.6cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America


PROPULSION-Rocket Engines

Inventory Number


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