SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 06, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has been recognized as part of the New Horizons spacecraft Pluto mission team by the National Space Club and Foundation, which named the team a winner of the 2016 Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy. The award is the Club's highest honor, given annually to the individual or team that has provided leadership in groundbreaking space and aeronautics capability to the United States.
New Horizons includes a propulsion system built by Aerojet Rocketdyne that provided course corrections and pointed the spacecraft at Pluto during its closest approach on July 14, 2015. The propulsion system, which is about the size of a baby grand piano, is comprised of propellant tanks, a feed system, thermal and structural hardware, four MR-111C 1.0 lbf thrusters used for course corrections and 12 MR-103H 0.2 lbf thrusters used to point the instruments at Pluto. The system was built at Aerojet Rocketdyne's facility in Redmond, Washington, under contract to the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory.
"Aerojet Rocketdyne is incredibly honored to be recognized through the prestigious Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy," said Eileen Drake, CEO and president of Aerojet Rocketdyne. "It's an honor to know our propulsion is being used on this historic mission to help scientists understand worlds at the edge of our solar system. The award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone who helped ensure that the New Horizons' propulsion system performed exactly as planned."
"A closeup look at these worlds from a spacecraft promises to tell an incredible story about the origins and outskirts of our solar system. New Horizons is exploring—for the first time—how small planets like Pluto and Kuiper Belt bodies have evolved over time," the National Space Club & Foundation said in its announcement of the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy recipients.
The award will be presented at the 59th Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 11, 2016.
New Horizons launched in January 2006 on a three-billion-mile journey scheduled to last more than 10 years. During its voyage, New Horizons swung past Jupiter for a gravity booster in February 2007, and conducted a six-month reconnaissance flyby of Pluto and its moons in summer 2015, approaching the dwarf planet at its closest on July 14, 2015. Aerojet Rocketdyne's propulsion fired multiple times on New Horizons before and after the flyby to ensure that the spacecraft stayed on course and also fired hundreds of thousands of times during the flyby to accurately point the instruments at the surface of Pluto.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is an innovative company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense markets. The company is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne can be obtained by visiting our websites at www.Rocket.com and www.AerojetRocketdyne.com.