SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 11, 2010 – Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, announced its key role in the positioning of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) satellite which was launched aboard the Atlas V on Feb. 11 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. SDO is the first mission to be launched for NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) Program and will help scientists understand the Sun's influence on Earth and Near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere in detail.
The SDO satellite carries a single Aerojet 100 lbf bipropellant apogee engine that will move the spacecraft from the launch vehicle drop-off point to its final position in an inclined geosynchronous orbit. The orbital slot was chosen to allow continuous observations of the Sun and to relay them to a single dedicated ground station.
In addition to the bipropellant engine on the SDO satellite, 12 Aerojet monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters on the Atlas V launch vehicle Centaur upper stage provided roll, pitch and yaw control as well as settling burns for the upper stage main engine. Eight Aerojet solid retro-rockets enabled the Centaur upper stage to separate from the Atlas first stage.
“Aerojet is pleased to support NASA’s solar science programs including SDO,” said Aerojet’s Business Development Manager, Olwen Morgan. “The spacecraft’s bipropellant engine traces its heritage back to Apollo and forward to future exploration.”
The bipropellant engine contract was awarded to Aerojet by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 2004. Aerojet furnished the reaction control thrusters and retro rockets to United Launch Alliance.
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.