SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 7, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, announced today that its propulsion systems played a major role in successfully placing the sixth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS-6) spacecraft into orbit for the U.S. military. The mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV medium rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion included an RS-68 booster engine, an RL10B-2 upper-stage engine and multiple spacecraft attitude control thrusters.
"This mission demonstrates Aerojet Rocketdyne's continued ability to deliver satellites to their final destination — from the launch pad, all the way to orbit more than 22,000 miles above Earth," said Steve Bouley, vice president of Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. "We're honored to play such a vital role in improving and protecting communications for our nation and allied forces worldwide."
During launch, the rocket was boosted off the pad by the powerful RS-68 engine, with 758,000 pounds of vacuum thrust and 663,000 pounds of sea-level thrust.
A single RL10B-2 engine delivers 24,750 pounds of thrust to power the upper stage, powered by cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants. For more than 50 years, the RL10 has been one of the United States' most reliable upper-stage engines, accumulating one of the most impressive lists of accomplishments in the history of space propulsion. It has played an integral role in placing numerous military, government and commercial satellites into orbit, and powering space-probe missions to nearly every planet in the solar system.
Twelve Aerojet Rocketdyne monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters in four modules on the Delta IV upper stage provided roll, pitch and yaw control as well as settling burns for the upper stage main engine. Once separated from the launch vehicle, SATCOM will use Aerojet Rocketdyne's High Performance Apogee Thruster (HIPAT) for orbit insertion.
The WGS satellites are part of a larger system that increases military communications capabilities for U.S. and allied forces deployed worldwide. They help support the exchange of information, execution of tactical command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader providing propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense, strategic, tactical missile 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, energy 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.