The Aerospace Product Line: Propulsion Systems
The piston, turbine, or rocket engines that power flight vehicles, plus advanced air breathing engines for new families of vehicles, are capable of flying both in and beyond the atmosphere.
The industry manufactures a variety of aircraft turbine engines (turbojets and turbofans) with thrust values ranging beyond 100,000 pounds. These engines power most military aircraft, commercial airliners, and larger business aircraft. The turboprop engine (turbine spinning a propeller) is used in some military transports and in light to medium-sized commercial and business aircraft. No longer used in heavy aircraft, the piston engine is still widely used on general aviation aircraft.
» Learn more about jet engines at GE Aviation's Engines 101 Web site.
The aerospace industry manufactures a broad range of rocket power systems of two basic types for use in missiles and space vehicles: solid and liquid-fueled rockets. Because liquid fuels must be stored at extremely low temperatures and therefore pose special handling requirements, virtually all modern missiles are powered by solid-fuel systems. These range from small units that fire rockets to portable, bazooka-like launchers to the huge systems that propel long-range ballistic missiles.
Space launch vehicles employ both liquid and solid rockets. Generally, the liquid-fueled systems provide basic propulsion while large solid rockets are used for additional thrust in the initial stage of a launch.
» Learn more about propulsion systems.