Aerojet Guns for Lead Roles On New Heavy-Lift Rocket
As NASA settled last year on a congressionally mandated heavy-lift launch vehicle design based on propulsion technologies already in development, rocket-engine manufacturer Aerojet was making a case for opening up key elements of the launcher to competition….
Sacramento, Calif.-based Aerojet â€” the smallest of the three main U.S. propulsion firms â€” told NASA last month that it wants a shot at unseating ATK and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne if the agency moves forward with a heavy-lift rocket that incorporates the five-segment boosters and J-2X engine.
â€œAlthough we believe an affordable and sustainable NASA [heavy-lift vehicle] must include alternatives to the existing propulsion solutions or new propulsion development, we do intend to compete for the 5-segment solid, the J2X/, and/or expendable RS-25 propulsion solutions if they are selected,â€ Aerojetâ€™s vice president of space and launch systems, Julie Van Kleeck, wrote in a Dec. 1 letter to NASAâ€™s associate administrator for exploration systems, Doug Cooke….
â€œIf this approach is selected, Aerojet will compete for the RS-25 integration support of the existing engines as well as the development/qualification for the expendable variant,â€ Van Kleeck wrote in the letter.