SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 8, 2010 – Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, successfully completed 100 hot-fire test sequences of its R-1E 25-pound, thrust-bipropellant engine. The test included more than 27,389 starts with 6,298 seconds of total burn time under a broad variety of conditions expected for NASA’s Orion service module.
Aerojet is providing propulsion to Lockheed Martin for NASA’s Orion crew exploration vehicle as well as all engines aboard the Orion service module. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to NASA developing the Orion crew exploration vehicle – the nation’s next generation spacecraft for future exploration throughout our solar system.
This early demonstration of the engine’s performance at expected Orion operating conditions was conducted to retire risk to the Orion vehicle. “Through collaboration with Lockheed Martin and NASA, Aerojet engineers have conducted a valuable R-1E engine test program that will lead to a low-risk propulsion approach for NASA’s Orion service module,” said Julie Van Kleeck, Aerojet’s vice president for Space Programs.
The R-1E currently provides in-space propulsion for the Space Shuttle and has a long history of successfully enabling Space Shuttle maneuvers. The R-1E also provides precise in-space propulsion for the Japanese H-II transfer vehicle (HTV), which rendezvoused and docked with the International Space Station last year. This engine complement includes sixteen 25-pound thrust engines, eight 100-pound thrust bipropellant engines and a 7,500-pound thrust Orion Main Engine. Additionally, Aerojet will supply twelve 160-pound thrust monopropellant engines for the Orion Crew Module.
Aerojet is part of the nationwide Orion industry team led by Lockheed Martin, which also includes five major subcontractors and an expansive network of minor subcontractors and small businesses working at 88 facilities in 28 states across the country.
Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the missile and space propulsion, defense and armaments markets. GenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale, and leasing of the company’s excess real estate assets. Additional information about Aerojet and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies’ Web sites at http://www.Aerojet.com and http://www.GenCorp.com.