ULA, BLue Origin Partner With USAF on New Rocket Engine

Artist's conception of Vulcan rocket. (Credit; ULA)
Artist’s conception of Vulcan rocket. (Credit; ULA)

CENTENNIAL, Colo., Feb. 29, 2016 (ULA PR) – United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Blue Origin LLC, a privately-funded aerospace company owned by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, entered into a public-private partnership with the U.S. Air Force to develop a new rocket propulsion system to power Vulcan — ULA’s next-generation launch system.

(more…)

GenCorp Completes Acquisition of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne from UTC

pratt_whitneySACRAMENTO, Calif. (GenCorp PR) – GenCorp Inc. (NYSE: GY) announced today that it has completed the acquisition of substantially all operations of the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne business (Rocketdyne) from United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX). GenCorp will combine Rocketdyne with Aerojet-General Corporation (Aerojet), a wholly-owned subsidiary of GenCorp, and the combined businesses will operate as Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc., headquartered in Sacramento, California.

As part of the Rocketdyne transaction, GenCorp will acquire UTC’s 50% interest in the RD Amross joint venture following receipt of Russian regulatory approvals.

(more…)

Final Reaction Control System Pod Arrives for Orion EFT-1

A technician works on a reaction control system pod at the Aerojet facility in Redmond, Wash. The pod is one of eight that will be installed on the Orion crew module for Exploration Flight Test-1 and provide the critical maneuvers necessary for re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.(Credit: Aerojet)
A technician works on a reaction control system pod at the Aerojet facility in Redmond, Wash. The pod is one of eight that will be installed on the Orion crew module for Exploration Flight Test-1 and provide the critical maneuvers necessary for re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.(Credit: Aerojet)

By Linda Herridge
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

The last of eight reaction control system (RCS) pods for NASA’s Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) arrived this week at Kennedy Space Center’s Operations and Checkout Building (O&C) from the manufacturer, Aerojet, in Redmond, Wash.

“Arrival of the final reaction control system pod marks a significant milestone as we prepare NASA’s Orion crew module for its first flight test,” said Glenn Chinn, the deputy manager of the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Program in Kennedy’s Orion Production Operations Office.

“The pods will provide the critical maneuvers necessary for Orion’s re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.”

(more…)

Aerojet Ships Key Components for First Orion Test Flight

aerojet_logo
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 25, 2013 (Aerojet PR) —
Aerojet, a GenCorp company, announced today that it successfully completed fabrication of the jettison motor and recently shipped the first two Crew Module Reaction Control System (CM RCS) pod assemblies for NASA’s Orion spacecraft’s Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1).

(more…)

NASA Awards Final Space Launch System Advanced Booster Contract

SLS_on_pad

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Aerojet of Sacramento, Calif., for a $23.3 million contract to develop engineering demonstrations and risk reduction concepts for future advanced boosters for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS).

Aerojet is one of four companies contracted under a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) to improve the affordability, reliability and performance of an advanced booster for a future version of the SLS heavy-lift rocket.

(more…)

Aerojet Completes AJ26 Engine Hot Fire for Antares Rocket

AJ26 test firing. (Credit: Aerojet)
AJ26 test firing. (Credit: Aerojet)

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 18, 2013 (Aerojet PR) — Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, announced today that its AJ26 engine successfully completed a hot fire test this evening at NASA’s Stennis Space Center.

Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE:ORB), Aerojet and NASA monitored the full-duration test in support of the Antares™ rocket program. This is the eleventh AJ26 engine to be tested at Stennis.

(more…)

NASA, Air Force Haggle Over Cost Sharing on New Engine

RD-180 test firing. (Credit: NASA)

Space News reports on the progress of a program that could lead to a replacement for Atlas V’s Russian-supplied first stage engine:

Negotiations on a proposal in which NASA and the U.S. Air Force would jointly fund an Aerojet-led propulsion project that could pave the way for a U.S. alternative to the Russian-built RD-180 rocket engine are bogged down over cost sharing issues, according to government and industry officials.

The impasse centers on how much funding the Air Force would provide for tests Aerojet has proposed as part of a program aimed at upgrading NASA’s heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) crew and cargo rocket. Aerojet is one of four companies NASA selected in July to work on liquid- and solid-fueled booster concepts meant to improve SLS’s lift capacity and affordability.

(more…)

Aerojet Awarded Green Propulsion Demo Mission Contract

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 16, 2012 (Aerojet PR) – Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, announced today that it will demonstrate a reduced toxicity monopropellant blend that offers improved performance and simplified handling processes over hydrazine, the traditional propellant choice for spacecraft.

Under contract to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colo., Aerojet will perform the technology demonstration mission, known as the Green Propellant Infusion Mission, or GPIM, for NASA’s Space Technology Program.

(more…)

UTC Creates New Aerospace Systems Unit with Goodrich Acquisition

United Technologies Corporation has created a new UTC Aerospace Systems business unit by acquiring aerospace parts maker Goodrich Corporation and combining it with UTC’s Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems, which has been making spacesuits, life-support equipment and other components for America’s space program for nearly 50 years.

To finance its Goodrich acquisition, UTC has agreed to sell Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne to GenCorp (owner of Aerojet) for $550 million. The company will also sell its Hamilton Sundstrand Industrial unit to BC Partners and The Carlyle Group for $3.46 billion. The industrial unit manufactures highly engineered, mission-critical pumps and compressors for the global industrial, infrastructure and energy markets.

(more…)

Aerojet to Establish European Subsidiary with Thales in Belfast

SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 9, 2012 (Aerojet PR) – Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, announced today that it has entered the final planning of the formation of a European subsidiary to serve the needs of the European space industry. The new company, European Space Propulsion, will use indigenous manufacturing and engineering talent to produce proven in-space thrusters and propulsion systems.

(more…)

Russians Move Toward Launch of New Soyuz Light Rocket

Soyuz-2-1v first stage undergoing tests. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Russia is moving steadily toward a planned September launch of the stripped Soyuz 2-1v rocket designed to launch small satellites into orbit. Two tests last month verified key elements of the new rocket, Russian officials say.

On April 19, engineers successfully completed the first cold flow test of the first stage using liquid oxygen and kerosene. The test was done in preparation for the first first-scale test firing of the rocket set for later this year.

The following day, engineers at the United Engine Corporation completed the forth and final test firing of the first stage’s NK-33A engine at the Vintay facility. The company announced that the engine has fired without any problems for 157.5 seconds. The total firing time for the four tests is 600 seconds.

(more…)

Antares AJ26 Engine Completes Hot Fire Test

AJ26 engine undergoing testing.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 4, 2012 (Aerojet PR) — Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE:GYNews) company, announced today that its AJ26 engine successfully completed a hot-fire test yesterday at NASA’s Stennis Space Center.

Orbital Sciences Corporation (Orbital), Aerojet and NASA monitored the full-duration test in support of the Antares(R) rocket program. This is the eighth AJ26 engine to be tested at Stennis.

(more…)

Aerojet Completes Development Testing on Advanced Thruster

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Apr 26, 2012 (Aerojet PR) — Aerojet, a GenCorp company, announced today that it successfully completed development testing of its MR-104H 100 lbf-class monopropellant hydrazine thruster.

Working with Boeing Exploration Launch Systems and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Aerojet successfully completed environmental and hot-fire performance testing of the MR-104H in Redmond, Wash. The MR-104 product line matured under NASA’s Constellation program and is applicable for future space vehicles.

(more…)

Aerojet and FTT Announce Major Next Generation Engine Milestone

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 28, 2011 – Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, announced today that it has successfully completed a major milestone in the development of a ground demonstrator for the Next Generation Engine (NGE) program. Aerojet, along with its partner Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc. (FTT), recently completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) of the turbopump assembly before an Independent Review Team comprised of third party turbomachinery experts.

“We continue to make steady progress on a modern, all-U.S. LOX/hydrogen upper stage engine which will significantly reduce U.S. launch vehicle propulsion costs and improve performance,” said Aerojet’s Vice President of Space and Launch Systems, Julie Van Kleeck.

(more…)

Aerojet Completes Design Verification Testing for Orion Engine

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 22, 2011 – Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, in conjunction with Lockheed Martin and NASA, has successfully completed vibration, shock and hot fire design verification testing on its first MR-104G monopropellant rocket engine planned for use on NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

(more…)