SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 19, 2016 – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc., a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AJRD), supported the successful launch of two Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites into orbit to help detect and track space objects as part of the Air Force Space Command-6 (AFSPC-6) mission. The mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida by a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion included an RS-68A booster engine and an RL10B-2 upper-stage engine, 12 helium pressurant tanks and 12 reaction control thrusters on the upper stage for roll, pitch, yaw and settling burns.
“In today’s world, it’s absolutely critical that our nation have the ability to monitor potential threats to military satellites operating in geosynchronous orbit above our planet,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “We are honored to provide reliable propulsion to make that possible.”
At liftoff, a single RS-68A engine ignited to boost the Delta IV rocket off the pad, providing 702,000 pounds of lift-off thrust. The RS-68A is the world’s most powerful liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen engine; its family of engines has now flown 33 commercial and government missions with 100 percent mission success. After the upper stage separated from the launch vehicle, a single RL10B-2 engine ignited to provide 24,750 pounds of thrust to power the upper stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants during its operation.
The RL10B-2 engine is a liquid-fueled cryogenic rocket engine designed and developed from the RL10 family of upper-stage engines, which has accumulated one of the most impressive lists of accomplishments in the history of space propulsion. More than 470 RL10 engines have supported launches over the last 50 years, helping to place military, government and commercial satellites into orbit, and powering scientific space-probe missions to every planet in our solar system.
Twelve 9-lbf MR-106H Aerojet Rocketdyne monopropellant hydrazine thrusters packaged in four 3-engine MRM-106F modules on the Delta IV upper-stage provided roll, pitch and yaw control, as well as settling burns for the upper-stage. ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, provided the pressure vessels on the first and second stages on the launch vehicle.
The twin spacecraft are the third and fourth satellites for the GSSAP. They will support U.S. Strategic Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network sensor. The GSSAP also supports Joint Functional Component Command for Space tasking to collect space situational awareness data, allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man-made orbiting objects.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is an innovative company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense markets. The company is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne can be obtained by visiting our websites at www.Rocket.com and www.AerojetRocketdyne.com.