SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 24, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, played a vital role in placing the second of three next-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS-L) into orbit for NASA. The mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, with an RL10A-4-2 upper-stage engine, helium pressurization tanks and a dozen Centaur upper-stage thrusters used for roll, pitch, yaw and settling burns.
"The successful placement of this important spacecraft into orbit once again demonstrates the reliability of Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems," said Steve Bouley, vice president of Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. "Everyone involved with its launch should be proud to know they are continuing to help astronauts on the International Space Station, and robots on other spacecraft, relay scientific achievements back to Earth."
TDRS-L is the latest addition to NASA's constellation of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites, which were first launched more than 30 years ago. The network transfers data from orbiting spacecraft, including the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope, to ground controllers on Earth. TDRS-L is the second of three satellites in the third generation of TDRS. The three satellites will be in addition to the first generation of satellites launched in the 1980s and 1990s.
Aerojet Rocketdyne's role in the launch primarily began with the second stage, when a single RL10A‑4‑2 engine ignited to place the TDRS‑L into orbit, helped by the 12 Aerojet Rocketdyne monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters in four modules on the Atlas V Centaur upper stage providing roll, pitch and yaw control as well as propellant settling burns during ascent. The RL10A-4-2 engine—a workhorse in the industry for more than three decades—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 of the launch vehicle. TDRS-L will use a single R-4D 100 lbf thruster for orbit insertion.
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 providing innovative solutions to 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.