Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2006
Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc. company, provided the solid rocket power needed for launching the Lockheed Martin Atlas® V launch vehicle and its Pluto New Horizons spacecraft earlier today from Cape Canaveral, Fla. Aerojet's five solid rocket boosters (SRBs) provided the added thrust to get the New Horizons spacecraft to Pluto -- the solar system's most distant planet.
The launch took place at 2:00 p.m. EST with the five SRBs providing an average thrust of more than 250,000 pounds each. This was the first Atlas V mission to use the five booster configuration. The Atlas V vehicle can accommodate configurations of zero, one, two, three, four or five boosters.
In addition to the SRBs, Aerojet provided eight solid propellant retro rockets that separate the Atlas core vehicle from the Centaur upper stage, 12 monopropellant thrusters on the Centaur upper stage, as well as the propulsion system for the Pluto New Horizons spacecraft.
"Today's launch of the Atlas V with its first-ever five booster configuration was an exciting milestone for the space industry," said Aerojet President Scott Neish. "By successfully lifting the New Horizons spacecraft during a critical launch window, Aerojet has played a significant role in the successful mission to Pluto, helping our nation to understand the worlds at the edge of our solar system."
Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the missile and space propulsion, and defense and armaments markets. GenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate business segment that includes activities related to the development, sale and leasing of the Company's real estate assets. Additional information about Aerojet and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the Companies' web sites at http://www.Aerojet.com and http://www.GenCorp.com.
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