Feb. 25, 2022 – Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems, including the company’s workhorse RL10 upper-stage engine, will play an essential role in the upcoming launch of NOAA’s newest weather satellite, GOES-T, aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
In addition to the RL10C-1 engine that will provide main propulsion for the Atlas V’s Centaur upper stage, a host of Aerojet Rocketdyne thrusters will provide pitch, roll and yaw control to steer the Centaur. Aerojet Rocketdyne’s ARDÉ subsidiary also provides pressurization tanks that support operation of the Atlas V and Centaur.
United Launch Alliance (ULA) hoists its Centaur upper stage atop the Atlas V rocket that will launch NOAA's GOES-T mission for NASA's Launch Services Program (LSP). Photo credit: United Launch Alliance.
Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems are also found onboard the Lockheed Martin-built Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-T (GOES-T). These include 16 MR-401 Low Thrust Rockets (LTRs) for attitude control and station keeping, and highly efficient MR-510 electric thrusters for station keeping and for decommissioning the satellite at the end of its service life.
GOES-T is the third in a new generation of geostationary-orbiting weather satellites built under contract to NASA for NOAA, which is responsible for the nation's weather forecasting. This new series of satellites, known collectively as GOES-R, provides advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements, real-time mapping of lightning activity and space weather monitoring.
"This mission will demonstrate a wide array of propulsion systems offered by Aerojet Rocketdyne," said Jim Maser, senior vice president of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Space Business Unit. "We look forward to supporting the launch of the GOES-T spacecraft and supporting its operation for many years to come."
Aerojet Rocketdyne is a leading provider of electric thrusters, which require far less propellant than conventional chemical propulsion systems. This enables spacecraft designers to dedicate more mass to the satellite's mission, such as data collection or communications.