Feeds

NASA busts booster booster

Confiscates BLOODY BIG rocket after Web sale

Build a business case: developing custom apps

An RL-10 rocket booster – the kind that just lifted the Martian Space Laboratory on its trip to the Red Planet – has been confiscated by NASA after being offered for sale on the Internet.

New Scientist says NASA’s Office of Inspector General has revealed the confiscation in its semi-annual report.

The Pratt and Whitney engine is reportedly worth around $US200,000, and while NASA’s happy to sell off some surplus kit to the public, it doesn’t like the deep secrets of its launch technology ending up in private hands. The engine, NASA says, is covered by International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

NASA doesn’t identify either the individual who is now out of pocket for buying the rocket, nor the auction site the rocket was sold through.

“The owner advised investigators that he purchased the engine from an individual who had received it from an unknown NASA employee,” the NASA report states.

While the RL-10 is still in use, the engine that escaped into the wild was built in the 1960s. Back then, it was the first to be powered by liquid hydrogen and pumped out 15,000 pounds of thrust. Now, as then, it’s used as the motor for the Centaur second stage rocket.

New Scientist says space kit collector Robert Pearlman identified the booster as having appeared on eBay in 2010. ®

RL-10A rocket engine

Batteries not included ... a modern Pratt and Whitney RL-10

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.