Exploration Flight Test-1 Mission
As a member of the Orion team since 2006, Aerojet Rocketdyne will provide propulsion for nearly every component of the Orion spacecraft, as well as propulsion for the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle.
Hitching a Ride on the ULA Delta IV Heavy
The launch of EFT-1 will use a Delta IV Heavy rocket, powered by three Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68 engines—each of which produces 663,000 pounds of thrust generating more than 17 million horsepower.
ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne, will provide the pressure vessels on first and second stages of the launch vehicle.
Stage 1 – Booster Stage
The huge rocket will use three RS-68-powered Common Booster Cores (CBC), which burn liquid hydrogen propellant, with liquid oxygen used as an oxidizer.
Stage 2 - Upper Stage
The second stage is a five-meter Delta Cryogenic Second Stage (DCSS), which will be powered by an RL10B-2 engine. It will use the same propellants as the first stage.
Orion Crew Module
The crew module is designed to transport four crew members beyond low-Earth orbit. It will provide a safe habitat from launch through landing and recovery. While the EFT-1 mission will be unmanned, the crew module will hold many of Orion’s most critical systems.
Orion Service Module
While the EFT-1 mission does not carry a functioning service module, Aerojet Rocketdyne will provide eight Auxiliary Engine thrusters to support the launch for the Exploration Mission-1 flight. The Auxiliary engines are 110-pound-thrust bipropellant thrusters, designated as R-4D with a 164:1 area ratio.
In addition to the auxiliary engines, Aerojet Rocketdyne is supporting refurbishment of Shuttle OMS-E engines for use as the main engine on the Orion Service modules. The refurbished Shuttle engines will provide 6,000 lbf of thrust to support major in-space maneuvers of the Orion spacecraft.
The service module will provide support to the crew module from launch through crew module separation prior to entry. It will provide in-space propulsion capability for orbital transfer, attitude control, and high altitude ascent aborts.
Orion Launch Abort System
The launch abort system, positioned above the crew module, is designed to activate within milliseconds to pull the crew to safety and position the module for a safe landing. It is designed to protect astronauts if a problem arises during launch by pulling the spacecraft away from a failing rocket.