Progress is Heard as RS-25 Engine Roars to Life for NASA's Space Launch System

SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 29, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), successfully tested NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) RS-25 development engine, 0528, as the engine roared to life for 650 seconds at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi earlier today.

"When we send astronauts to deep space destinations, including Mars, we want them to be riding on the safest, most reliable launch vehicle, which is why we are testing the RS-25 engines under multiple scenarios to ensure America's next heavy-lift rocket will have the performance needed to take our astronauts deeper into space," said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake.

The RS-25 engine, previously known as the Space Shuttle Main Engine, has a strong legacy of powering human spaceflight.  Starting last year, Aerojet Rocketdyne resumed RS-25 engine testing to ensure they and their upgraded controllers meet the demanding requirements of SLS for its maiden flight in 2018. Today's test with engine 0528, the second development engine, provides an additional engine sample for overall evaluation.

According to Jim Paulsen, vice president for NASA programs at Aerojet Rocketdyne, "During flight, the RS-25 engines will endure more heat, pressure and thrust on SLS than on the space shuttle. Four RS-25 engines will fly at the bottom of the SLS core stage with each operating at 109 percent power level, as opposed to three on the space shuttle operating at 104.5 percent power level. The solid rocket booster motors will also be closer in position to the RS-25 engine cluster this time around, and the taller core stage will result in higher propellant inlet pressure on the engine system.  All of this adds up to multiple ground tests to ensure astronaut safety."

"Stennis is our go-to site to put our engines through rigorous testing; this is where we assemble and test our RS-25, RS-68 and AR1 engines," added Drake. "Mission success is our number one priority and testing at Stennis is critical to providing the nation with next generation propulsion capabilities."

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.