Top 10 Most Powerful Rocket Engines of All Time

Thanks to Elon Musk for encouraging the space enthusiast in our brains. Everyone nowadays is thinking about space and rockets. Rockets didn’t come out of nowhere in this world; they were created in the past and have been evolving since then to satisfy human needs. Rockets have been there since 1232. In China rockets were used during the battles known as “arrows of flying fire”, but we are past those old techniques. Now we are talking about massive and powerful rocket engines powered by different types of fuels. These were the result of sheer determination and collaborations of big companies and governments. Rocket engines nowadays are capable of carrying multistory spacecrafts and satellites.

Following are some powerful rocket engines in the big list of rocket engine through the history:-

Most Powerful Rocket Engines

Top 10 Most Powerful Rocket Engines:

10. KVD-1

The KVD-1 engine was an upper stage cryogenic engine developed by the Isayev Design BureaU of Russia in the early 1960s. Its first flight was in 2001-04-20. It is a modified version of RD-56. Though it retired in 2010-12-25 it was capable of creating a thrust of 69.6kN in vacuum.

9. LE-7

This engine was produced in Japan with design and production work almost done domestically in japan. It was designed by JAXA in Mitsubishi Heavy Industry. This bad boy was capable of producing a thrust of 1,078kN in vacuum and 843.5kN at sea-level. It weighs about 1,714 kg.It’s thrust was sufficient for its use in H-II but it was still succeeded by a more advanced and better LE-7A engine.

8. RD-253

The RD-253 is a liquid propelled rocket engine designed by Energomash and V. glushko. Manufactured in Proton-PM it was able to produce a thrust of 1,630 kN in vacuum and 1,470 kN at sea level. It weighs about 1,080kg and was worthy enough for its first flight in 1965.It successors were RD-254, RD-256, RD-275 and RD-275M.

7.  Rocketdyne F-1

The F-1 rocket engine was developed by Rocketdyne in the United States in the late 1950s. It was used in the Saturn V rocket in the 1960s and early 1970s. The Five F-1 engines were used in S-IC first stage of each Saturn V launch, which served as the main launch vehicle in the Apollo program. It was capable of producing a force (Thrust) of 7,700kN in vacuum and 6,770kN at sea-level and weighs about 8,400 kg. The F-1 remains the most powerful single combustion chamber liquid propellant rocket engine ever developed.

Also read: Top 10 Space Agencies in the World.

6. RS-27

RS-27 was a liquid-propellant rocket engine developed in 1974 by Rocketdyne in the United States. It was a successor to H-1. Incorporating components of the venerable MB-3 and the H-1 designs, the RS-27 was modernized and a completely different design being used for two decades. It was a big engine 1.07 metres wide and 3.69 metres in length. It was capable of producing a thrust of 1,023 kN in vacuum and 971 kN at sea-level. Even though the engine was able to produce such a thrust it was succeeded by RS-27A and Rs-56.

5. Vulcain-1

Vulcain-1 is a part of a large group of European built rocket engines. Its development began in 1988 and completed its first flight on 04 JUne 1996. It was producing 1,140kN in vacuum during its flight. Still it retired with its last flight on 18 December 2009.

4. RD-180

It is a rocket designed by NPO Energomash and built in Russia. It was first put in use on 2000-05-24. Though it was succeeded by RD-170 it is still in use and produces a thrust equal to 4.5MN in vacuum and 3.83MN at sea level. It is a massive engine which weighs about 5,480 kg.

Also read: Top 10 Conceptual Spacecraft Engines.

3. RS-25

The Aerojet Rocketdyne Rs-25 is more commonly known as the Space Shuttle main engine used on NASA Space Shuttle. Its origin traces back to the United States. It was manufactured by Rocketdyne, Pratt and Whitney and Aerojet Rocketdyne. It flew for the first time on April 12, 1981. While it is out of service since STS it is currently under testing for SLS. It is capable of creating a thrust of 2.279MN in vacuum and 1.86MN at sea-level. It is predecessor to HG-3.

2. NK-15

NK-15 was a rocket built and designed in the late 1960s by the Kuznetsov Design Bureau. It was brought to life in the Soviet Union. The NK-15 rocket engine was among the most powerful kerosene rocket engines at that time when it was built, with a high specific impulse and low structural mass. It was intended for the ill-fated soviet N-1 Moon rocket. It was capable enough to create a force of 1,753kN in vacuum and 1,505 uneven after this much force it was succeeded by NK-33.

1. Merlin

It is a family of rockets developed by SpaceX for their application on Falcon 1, falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles. Created in the United States of America. It is currently active and capable of providing 981kN of force in vacuum and 854kN at sea-level. Merlin engines use RP-1 and liquid oxygen as rocket propellants in the gas-generator power cycle.

Also read: Top 10 Aerospace Mega Projects Ever Completed.