SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 3, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, played a major role in successfully launching the 19th Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Block 5D weather satellite into orbit for the U.S. Air Force. The mission was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket, with an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10A-4-2 upper-stage engine, five helium pressurization tanks and a dozen Centaur upper-stage thrusters used for roll, pitch, yaw and settling burns.
"Weather can be such an important factor when it comes to military missions, and we are proud that our propulsion systems—noted for their dependability and reliability—are part of a remarkable program that aids troops worldwide," said Steve Bouley, vice president of Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne.
DMSP satellites have provided critical terrestrial and space weather information to the U.S. military for more than 50 years. DMSP-19 is equipped with a sophisticated sensor suite that can capture visible and infrared cloud cover; measure precipitation, surface temperature and soil moisture; and collect global meteorological, oceanographic and solar-geophysical information in all weather conditions. With the satellites, the military can find, track and forecast weather systems over remote and hostile areas to troops worldwide.
Aerojet Rocketdyne's role in the launch primarily began with the ULA Centaur upper stage, which is powered by a single RL10A-4-2 engine. The RL10A-4-2 ignited to place the payload into orbit, helped by the Centaur thrusters and other Aerojet Rocketdyne-provided hardware for both the booster and upperstage. The workhorse RL10A-4-2 engine delivers 22,300 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V upper-stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants during its operation. ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, provides the pressure vessels on the first and second stages on the launch vehicle.
Twelve Aerojet Rocketdyne monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters in four modules on the Atlas V Centaur upper stage provided roll, pitch and yaw control as well as settling burns for the upper stage.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader providing propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. GenCorp is a diversified company that provides innovative solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense, and real estate markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies' websites at www.Rocket.com and www.GenCorp.com.