Aerojet Rocketdyne Acquires Coleman Aerospace

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Feb. 22, 2017 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD) announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Coleman Aerospace from L3 Technologies, Inc. for $15 million in cash, subject to customary adjustments. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the month. Coleman Aerospace will operate as a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc. and will be renamed Aerojet Rocketdyne Coleman Aerospace, Inc. (“Coleman”).

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Adds 100 Jobs in Huntsville

AR1 engine (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 30, 2017 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), announced it is moving forward with plans to produce America’s newest advanced rocket engine, the AR1, in Huntsville, Alabama, resulting in the creation of 100 new jobs. AR1 is the latest engine in development by Aerojet Rocketdyne, America’s premier large liquid rocket engine manufacturer.

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Astrobotic Pulls Out of Google Lunar X Prize

Peregrine lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)
Peregrine lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)

Astrobotic has pulled out of the Google Lunar X Prize, according to an update on the Space Angels Network website.

As a former XPRIZE contender, Astrobotic was the only team to win all three of the competition’s Milestone Prizes, which brought the company $1.75 million in prize money. Astrobotic is now poised for further success: Their Peregrine Lander will carry customer payloads to the Moon’s surface in 2019, including the rovers of three other GLXP competitors. These initial customers, who have had an opportunity to evaluate all potential service providers, have said that Astrobotic is “years ahead of the competition.”
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Aerojet Rocketdyne Completes Hot Fires of Starliner Abort Engine

Aerojet Rocketdyne successfully completed a series of hot-fire tests on two Launch Abort Engines featuring innovative new propellant valves for Boeing's CST-100 Starliner service module propulsion system. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)
Aerojet Rocketdyne successfully completed a series of hot-fire tests on two Launch Abort Engines featuring innovative new propellant valves for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner service module propulsion system. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 31, 2016 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has successfully completed a series of hot-fire tests on two Launch Abort Engines (LAE) featuring innovative new propellant valves for Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner service module propulsion system. The tests were conducted in the Mojave Desert in California, and confirmed the ability for the new valves to modulate propellant flow and control peak LAE thrust in the event of a launch abort.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Delivers First Set of Propulsion Hardware for Boeing Starliner

Artist's conception of CST-100 Starliner docking at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)
Artist’s conception of CST-100 Starliner docking at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 18, 2016 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has completed delivery of the first set of hardware for Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner service module propulsion system. The Starliner is designed to ferry NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The first delivered hardware includes the low-pressure port and starboard manifold assemblies, which will distribute helium necessary to push propellants out to the service module’s engines and thrusters.

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Program Updates from ISPCS

The second SpaceShipTwo is carried aloft by WhiteKnightTwo on its first captive carry flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)
The second SpaceShipTwo is carried aloft by WhiteKnightTwo on its first captive carry flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

NASA and various commercial companies gave updates on their programs during the International Symposium on Commercial and Personal Spaceflight this week in Las Cruces, NM.

What follows are summaries that include:

  • suborbital programs (Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin)
  • commercial cargo (SpaceX, Sierra Nevada Corporation)
  • commercial crew (NASA, Boeing, ULA).

The summaries are based on Twitter posts from attendees. A big thanks to Thanks to Tanya Harrison (‏@tanyaofmars), Frank Slazer ‏(@FSlazer), Jeff Foust (‏@jeff_foust), Michael Simpson ‏(@SpaceSharer), and Melissa Sampson (‏@DrSampson) for the coverage.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Tests Orion Jettison Motor

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Aeorjet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), successfully tested its third development jettison motor for NASA’s Orion spacecraft at its facility in Rancho Cordova, California. Orion is being built to take humans farther into space than ever before, and the jettison motor is a critical element for ensuring astronaut safety. Leaders from NASA and Lockheed Martin, the agency’s prime contractor for the Orion spacecraft, visited Aerojet Rocketdyne to witness this key test.

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AFRL Technology Demonstration Program Gives Boost to AR1 Engine

Hydrocarbon Boost Sub-Scale Oxygen Rich Preburner Test at AFRL. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)
Hydrocarbon Boost Sub-Scale Oxygen Rich Preburner Test at AFRL. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), successfully completed its final test series on its sub-scale oxygen rich preburner as part of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Hydrocarbon Boost Technology Demonstrator (HBTD) program. Aerojet Rocketdyne tested the preburner at full power and full duration to provide key insights for future engines that use this engine cycle.

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RL-10 Engine Tested for Boeing CST-100 Starliner Flight

Steam billows from the engine test stand as the RL10 engine fires. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)
Steam billows from the engine test stand as the RL10 engine fires.
(Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

By Steven Siceloff
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A trio of NASA astronauts watched last Friday as engineers and technicians from Aerojet Rocketdyne fired one of the RL10 engines that will help power the first crewed flight test of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner as it flies into orbit on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

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Sierra Nevada Teams with ORBITEC, Aerojet Rocketdyne on NextSTEP-2 Habitat Work

Concept image of Sierra Nevada Corporation's habitation prototype, based on its Dream Chaser cargo module. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)
Concept image of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s habitation prototype, based on its Dream Chaser cargo module. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev. (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has been selected to develop a deep space, long-duration, human habitat design and prototype for NASA. The partnership, under NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) Broad Agency Announcement, Appendix A, will allow SNC and its partners to use their experience to design a complete habitat system architecture and build a full-scale prototype for testing and evaluation.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Signs NASA Contract to Develop CubeSat Propulsion System

MPS-130 CubeSat propulsion system. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)
MPS-130 CubeSat propulsion system. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 11, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has signed a contract with NASA to mature the development of a MPS-130 CubeSat propulsion system using a green propellant, known as AF-M315E. Once fully developed, the technology will increase CubeSat maneuverability, offer a modular propulsion system largely comprised of 3-D printed components, as well as provide a safer, more efficient and higher-performance alternative relative to traditional hydrazine propellant.

“This is an exciting opportunity to advance technology past its ‘tipping point’ into a revolutionary new product family,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “This new class of CubeSat propulsion systems can be used in future NASA, military and commercial missions, and the benefits for the public and private sectors will be immense. Not only will it allow operators to increase the in-space capability of CubeSats and SmallSats, but it will allow them to operate more affordably and efficiently, and with a safer propellant.”

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Smallsat 2016: NASA Program & Mission Updates

Two three-unit (3U) CubeSats. At about a foot in length and four inches wide, these are similar in design to IceCube and the five selected heliophysics CubeSats. (Credit: NASA)
Two three-unit (3U) CubeSats. At about a foot in length and four inches wide, these are similar in design to IceCube and the five selected heliophysics CubeSats. (Credit: NASA)

NASA officials have been providing updates this week on agency programs and missions during the 2016 Small Satellite Conference and the CubeSat Workshop that preceded it. I have pulled together summaries of their presentations drawn from Twitter.  Information has come from the following Tweeters:

  • Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust
  • David Hurst ‏@OrbitalDave
  • Hanna Steplewska ‏@spacesurfingirl
  • Augie Allen ‏@AugieAllen
  • RITSpaceExploration ‏@RITSPEX

Enjoy!
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Aerojet Rocketdyne to Supply Electrical Power System for Dream Chaser

Dream Chaser test vehicle prepares to ship. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)
Dream Chaser test vehicle prepares to ship. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 02, 2016 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has been awarded a contract from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply the electrical power system for the Dream Chaser, a commercial spacecraft that will carry cargo to and from the International Space Station. The system will regulate power generated from the solar arrays and distribute it to the reusable spacecraft’s avionics, thermal and propulsion systems, as well as payloads that require electrical power.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Tests Starliner Service Module Engines

Starliner engine hot fire (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)
Starliner engine hot fire (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

WHITE SANDS, NM (NASA PR) — The small jets designed to steer Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in orbit were fired in a vacuum chamber recently at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico. Testing continues for elements of the new Starliner spacecraft before components are installed into the first space-bound capsule. Aerojet Rocketyne built the reaction control engines and used a chamber to pulse fire three engines up to 4,000 times for a total of 1,600 seconds each. Both are record times for lightweight thrusters with composite chambers.

One of three Reaction Control System engines for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner recently completed hot-fire testing at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico.Aerojet Rocketdyne is testing and will provide the service module propulsion system production hardware, including launch abort engines, orbital maneuvering and attitude control engines and reaction control system engines. Boeing will assemble hardware kits into the service module section of the Starliner spacecraft at its Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Starliner is one of two spacecraft in development in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. While Boeing develops and manufactures Starliners, SpaceX is doing the same with its own spacecraft, Crew Dragon. Both companies plan to launch astronauts from Florida’s Space Coast on missions to the International Space Station. With up to four astronauts at a time, plus more than 200 pounds of cargo, the new line of spacecraft will allow the station’s crew to grow to seven. That addition gives astronauts In orbit another 35 hours of research time to enhance the science conducted on the orbiting laboratory.

Aerojet Rocketdyne Consolidates Defense & Space Business Units

aerojet_rocketdyneSACRAMENTO, Calif., June 27, 2016 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc., a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AJRD), today announced a significant reorganization, consolidating the company’s six business units into two – Space and Defense. The senior vice presidents of Space and Defense will be named at a later date and will report directly to CEO and President Eileen Drake. In the interim, the Space organization will report to Drake, and the Defense organization will report to COO Mark Tucker.

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