SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 31, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, helped propel the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, carrying the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite into orbit for NASA so scientists can better understand the Earth's water, carbon and energy cycles. SMAP was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion included an RS-27A booster engine and an AJ10-118K upper-stage engine.
"Water is integral to almost every process on Earth - from sustaining the life of plants and animals, to weather dynamics on the planet, to erosion forces shaping the lands, and so many others," said Steve Bouley, vice president of Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. "It's critical that the science community understands the dynamics of water movement so it can be properly managed on Earth, not just for humans but to protect and enhance the global natural environment. We are honored to be part of such an important mission."
SMAP is an Earth satellite mission designed to measure and map the planet's soil moisture and freeze/thaw to better understand terrestrial water, carbon and energy cycles. Using an advanced radar and radiometer, SMAP will be able to peer beneath the clouds, vegetation and other surface features to monitor water and energy fluxes, helping to improve flood predictions and drought monitoring. According to NASA, data from the three-year mission will play a crucial role in understanding changes in water availability, food production and other societal impacts of climate change.
The RS-27A and AJ10-118K engines have helped place payloads into space aboard the Delta II launch vehicle for the U.S. Air Force, NASA and commercial spacecraft missions. The RS-27A is a liquid-fuel rocket engine developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne for use on the first stage of the Delta II. It provides 200,000 pounds of thrust at liftoff. The engine is a modified version of its predecessor, the RS-27. The AJ10-118K engine is also a liquid-fuel rocket engine for the upper stage and produces approximately 10,000 pounds of vacuum thrust for orbital insertion.
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.