SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 14, 2010 – Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, announced its key role in the successful launch of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., carrying the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) Space Vehicle #1 (SV#1). Launching in its 531 configuration, Aerojet provided three solid rocket boosters for the Atlas V launch vehicle, eight retro rockets for the Atlas Centaur separation from the launch vehicle, 12 reaction control thrusters for the Centaur upper stage as well as the high-power electric and monopropellant propulsion for the inaugural AEHF space vehicle.
Aerojet’s solid rocket boosters (SRB) on the Atlas V vehicle are 67-feet long and provide an average of 250,000 pounds of thrust. Aerojet SRBs have flown in previous vehicle configurations using one, two, three and five boosters. This is the ninth successful Atlas V flight with Aerojet SRBs.
Eight Aerojet retro rockets assisted with the Atlas Centaur separation from the launch vehicle. In addition, 12 Aerojet monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters on the Atlas V Centaur upper stage provided roll, pitch and yaw control as well as settling burns for the upper stage main engine. All Atlas launches since the late 1980s have included Aerojet monopropellant reaction control thrusters on the Centaur upper stage.
Built by Lockheed Martin, the AEHF space vehicles will provide U.S. military and national leaders with global, protected, high-capacity and secure communications. A single AEHF vehicle will provide greater total capacity than the entire Milstar constellation currently in orbit. Aerojet’s 4.5kW Hall Thruster Propulsion System (HTPS) and 16 monopropellant rocket engines on each AEHF space vehicle are key enablers to this enhanced capability.
“The successful launch of the first AEHF space vehicle is a tremendous achievement for the nation and Aerojet is proud of our substantial contribution on both the launch and space vehicles,” said Vice President of Space and Launch Systems, Julie Van Kleeck. “Aerojet is the leading provider of In-Space propulsion and has provided critical propulsion for all the major U.S. MilSat programs to date. Our 4.5kW Hall Thruster Propulsion System and Monopropellant Rocket Engines on AEHF continue this Aerojet tradition of 100 percent mission success for the nation’s military satellite programs.”
Aerojet is under contract with the United Launch Alliance for the SRBs, reaction control thrusters and retro rockets for the Atlas V program. The company developed, produced and tested the SRBs in California, using technology derived from its extensive experience producing solid rocket motors for Peacekeeper and Small ICBM missile systems. Aerojet’s Redmond, Wash. team manufactured the Centaur upper stage reaction control thrusters for ULA and the 4.5kW Hall Thruster Propulsion System and Monopropellant Rocket Engines, under contract from Lockheed Martin, for the AEHF. The retro rockets were designed and developed by Aerojet in Gainesville, Va. and manufactured in Camden, Ark.
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.