SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 5, 2011 – Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, announced its key role in the successful launch of United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., carrying NASA’s Juno spacecraft on a mission toward Jupiter.
Launching in a 551 configuration, Aerojet provided 1.9 million lbs. of liftoff thrust from five solid rocket boosters (SRBs), eight retro-rockets for the Centaur separation from the Atlas common core booster, 12 reaction control thrusters for the Centaur upper stage as well as 12 monopropellant hydrazine Rocket Engine Assemblies (REAs) fixed to the Juno spacecraft.
Aerojet’s SRBs on the Atlas V vehicle are 67-feet long and provide a liftoff thrust of 380,000 lbs. each. Aerojet SRBs have flown in previous vehicle configurations using one, two, three and five boosters. This was the 13th successful Atlas V launch with Aerojet SRBs.
Eight Aerojet retro rockets assisted with the Atlas Centaur separation from the launch vehicle. In addition, 12 monopropellant hydrazine REAs will provide attitude control for the Juno spacecraft throughout its journey and insertion into Jupiter’s orbit slated for July 2016. Twelve Aerojet monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters on the Atlas V Centaur upper stage provided roll, pitch and yaw control as well as settling burns for the upper stage main engine. All Atlas launches since the late 1980s have included Aerojet monopropellant reaction control thrusters on the Centaur upper stage.
The objective of NASA’s Jupiter bound mission is to create an understanding of the formation, evolution and structure of Jupiter. Juno will arrive at Jupiter in 2016 for a one-year mission comprising 33 orbits. It will carry a color camera and return the first-ever images of Jupiter’s poles. This launch marks NASA’s second spacecraft designed under the New Frontiers Program.
“The successful launch of the Juno spacecraft is a tremendous achievement for the nation and Aerojet is proud of our key role in both the launch and space vehicles,” said Vice President of Space and Launch Systems, Julie Van Kleeck. “The success of these propulsion systems continues our tradition of 100 percent mission success for NASA’s space and planetary missions.”
Aerojet is under contract with ULA for the SRBs and REAs for the Atlas V program. The company developed, produced and tested the SRBs in California, using technology derived from its extensive experience producing solid rocket motors for Peacekeeper and Small ICBM missile systems. Aerojet’s Redmond, Wash. team manufactured the Centaur upper stage reaction control thrusters for ULA and the monopropellant hydrazine REAs under contract from Lockheed Martin for the Juno spacecraft.
Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the missile and space propulsion, defense and armaments markets. GenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale, and leasing of the company’s excess real estate assets. Additional information about Aerojet and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies’ websites at http://www.Aerojet.com and http://www.GenCorp.com.