Aerojet Rocketdyne Supports Launch of Satellite for NASA's Space Network

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc., a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), successfully supported the launch of the latest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M) for NASA's Space Network. The mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems on the Atlas V included the RL10C-1 upper-stage engine, six helium pressurization tanks, and 12 Centaur upper-stage Reaction Control System (RCS) thrusters. The TDRS-M satellite carries an Aerojet-Rocketdyne R-4D 100 lbf bipropellant engine for moving the satellite from its launch tip-off into geosynchronous orbit.

"The Space Network is vital for scientists, engineers and control room staff to access data from Earth-orbiting satellites, most notably the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope," said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. "It's a privilege to know our propulsion systems have once again been called upon to deliver the TDRS satellites into orbit with 100 percent mission success, enabling the continuation of scientific exploration for years to come."

Aerojet Rocketdyne's RL10C-1 upper-stage engine ignited after separation of the first stage to place the payload into orbit, helped by the Centaur RCS thrusters and pressurization tanks. The RL10C-1 delivers 22,890 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V upper stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.

The RL10C-1 was developed from the RL10 family of upper-stage engines, which has accumulated one of the most impressive track records of accomplishments in the history of space propulsion. More than 480 RL10 engines have supported launches over the last 50 years, playing a vital role in placing military, government and commercial satellites into orbit, and powering scientific space probes on every interplanetary mission in our solar system.

The 12 MR-106 RCS thrusters are assembled in four rocket engine modules and provide pitch, yaw and roll control for the Centaur upper stage as well as settling burns prior to firing the RL10C-1 engine.

ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, manufactures the pressure vessels on the first and second stages of the launch vehicle.

The Space Network was established in the early 1980s to replace NASA's worldwide network of ground tracking stations. It consists of a constellation of geosynchronous satellites, known as TDRS, which transmit data to and from ground stations on Earth for NASA missions and other orbiting satellites, including the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope. According to NASA, the addition of TDRS-M will enable the Space Network to support space communication well into the next decade. With the TDRS-M, there are now 10 TDRS spacecraft in orbit around Earth.

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