Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Advanced Large Solid Rocket Motor, the eSR-73
March 16, 2022 – HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – As the premier propulsion and power provider for space and defense programs, Aerojet Rocketdyne thrives at technology’s cutting edge. At the precipice of its innovation sits Rocket Shop℠ .
When the U.S. Department of Defense needs something that’s just beyond the reach of current technology, you can expect to find Rocket Shop℠ working on solutions.
“From hypersonic scramjet engines to advanced solid rocket motors to cutting-edge torpedo propulsion, Rocket Shop℠ helps maintain the nation’s competitive advantage over increasingly tech-savvy adversaries,” said Tyler Evans, senior vice president of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Defense Business Unit.
Chris Radley, who runs Rocket Shop℠ as vice president of Defense Advanced Programs, noted how “this is an exciting time for us, as the opportunities cultivated for several years have matured and are transitioning into significant engineering and manufacturing development-level programs.”
One example is hypersonic technology, which senior U.S. defense officials have repeatedly identified as an important priority. Leveraging Rocket Shop℠, Aerojet Rocketdyne and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) achieved record levels of thrust by a scramjet engine 10 years after making history by powering the first hydrocarbon-fueled and cooled air-breathing hypersonic flight test. Tests were conducted across a range of Mach numbers demonstrating performance to accelerate a vehicle approximately 10 times the size of the X-51, at hypersonic speeds.
Aerojet Rocketdyne completes a successful series of hot-fire tests of an advanced air-breathing hypersonic engine under the USAF’s Medium Scale Critical Components program. Some of the camera titling has been removed for a clearer image.
Rocket Shop℠ is breaking new ground in undersea propulsion as well, with the successful development and test of a Stored Chemical Energy Propulsion (SCEPS) lithium boiler which could be used to power the U.S. Navy’s next generation torpedoes.
Innovative work is also being done to advance solid rocket motor technology. The Rocket Shop℠ recently tested a large solid rocket motor that incorporates advanced technologies and materials. Known as the eSR-73, the motor’s design consists of a state-of-the-art graphite composite case, an affordable advanced nozzle and high-energy, long-life solid propellant.
One of the keys to Rocket Shop℠’s ongoing success is its relationship with the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) which, through a shared agreement, supports the company with laboratory space, expertise and fresh perspectives from talented future engineers. The relationship provides hands-on experience for students, seeding a new generation of engineering talent for the nation.
Dr. Robert Frederick, director of UAH’s Propulsion Research Center and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, says the relationship is mutually beneficial.
“The university has made a high-level commitment to Aerojet Rocketdyne to promote our relationship and we want to assist in the development of new technologies and ideas,” Frederick said. “Our cooperation helps develop the next generation workforce and gets them ready to go to work with a lot of practical skills, prepared to contribute on day one.”
According to Frederick, the ability for young professionals to hit the ground running is critically important because things never slow down at the cutting edge.
“As threats and technologies are rapidly evolving, it is critical that Rocket Shop℠ maintain its position on the forefront of innovation, technology and product development,” Evans noted. “Aerojet Rocketdyne is proud of our role as a leader in propulsion solutions that help warfighters protect our nation.”