DOD Awards $69.8 Million More to Aerojet Rocketdyne for AR-1, RL-10CX Development

Staged-combustion testing at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi for the AR1 program is being developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

WASHINGTON, DC (DOD PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, Canoga Park, California, has been awarded a $69,804,323 modification (P00014) to a previously awarded other transaction agreement (FA8811-16-9-0003) for the development of the AR1 booster engine and the RL10CX upper stage engine for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.

This action implements Section 1604 of the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2015, which requires the development of a next-generation rocket propulsion system that will transition away from the use of non-allied space launch engines to a domestic alternative for National Security Space launches.

Work will be performed in Canoga Park, California; Sacramento, California; Centennial, Colorado; Huntsville, Alabama; Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. The work on the AR1 is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2019, and the work on the RL10CX is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2021.

Fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) funds in the amount of $63,014,148; and fiscal 2018 RDT&E funds in the amount of $20,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award. The Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, California, is the contracting activity.

  • Paul451

    If it’s for the EELV, you’d think the grant would be to ULA, who would then pay whoever they choose to develop a replacement engine. Paying AJR directly seems to be trying to force the result.

  • I think that’s the point.

  • Michael Halpern

    They aren’t paying completely BO has gotten some for BE-4 and SpaceX has gotten some for Raptor

  • Paul451

    That was the previous round. But this appears to be a $70m bump just for AJR.

  • Michael Halpern

    Wow with how behind they are with AR-1 please tell me most is going to the RL-10CX that we know is going to be used…

  • Search

    Earlier in the year there were reports that AJR was seeking to renegotiate the RPS award http://spacenews.com/air-force-and-aerojet-rocketdyne-renegotiating-ar1-agreement/ so that AJR would get more money – their argument seems to have been that because they were spending more overall than they had planned that they must get more from USAF. Typical old space logic. Apparently USAF bought this line and maybe this is that payout. So you have to ask why don’t the other RPs awardees also get similar plus ups to further their developments? If not then this is exactly as you say.

  • Michael Halpern

    The question is how much is going to AR-1 verses RL-10CX, they have confirmed business for the new RL-10, whereas all indications are that Vulcan will use BE-4. This has been given shortly after ULA and (now NGIS) have decided that RL-10 engines will power their upcoming rockets’ upper stages,

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    I heard they’re making a sequel to “Rebel Without a Cause” starring a CGI version of James Dean where the heartthrob get’s drafted, goes to Vietnam and comes back to complete college and work for Rocketdyne only to climb to the heights of management making “Engines Without a Vehicle”.

  • duheagle

    Heh.

  • Michael Halpern

    well RL-10CX has 2 vehicles, but the prospects of them are uncertain,

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    The RL-10 work is worthwhile, no arguments there.

  • Michael Halpern

    The RL-10 family of engines while perhaps a bit dated, is very well proven and pretty good. Of course Hydrolox upper stages seem to be going away, being replaced by Methalox because of production concerns with LVs leading to newer rocket designs going with the same engine on both stages with different nossels, and Methalox happens to have the density and isp to be good for both. Main exception is BO, but that’s in part because of time as well as making the 3 stage NG available without an additional different engine, so there’s similar reasons there.