Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (GY) company, announced that its AJ60 Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), RL10A-4-2 upper-stage engine, and multiple spacecraft attitude control thrusters played a major role in yesterday's launch of the Air Force's Advanced Extremely High Frequency Space Vehicle 3 (SV-3) aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
"Our record of mission success continues with this launch," said Aerojet Rocketdyne Vice President of Space Launch Systems, Steve Bouley. "The propulsion we provide not only enables the launch of payloads critical to the mission of our troops, but it ensures satellites, such as SV-3, maintain their strategic position in orbit."
The three AJ60 SRBs were ignited at liftoff, increasing the launch thrust of the Atlas V rocket by more than 1.1 million pounds. All Atlas V launches requiring extra boost performance have flown Aerojet Rocketdyne-produced SRBs and this particular flight includes the 52nd Aerojet Rocketdyne SRB delivered to ULA. These motors have demonstrated a 100 percent success record in flight, having now flown 18 missions over the past 10 years.
A single RL10A-4-2 engine delivers 22,300 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V upper-stage, powered by cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants along the way. For more than 50 years, the RL10 has been one of the United States' most reliable upper-stage engines, accumulating one of the most impressive lists of accomplishments in the history of space propulsion. It has played an integral role in placing numerous military, government and commercial satellites into orbit, and powering space-probe missions to nearly every planet in the solar system.
In addition to the three SRBs and upper-stage engine, 12 Aerojet Rocketdyne monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters in four modules on the Atlas V Centaur upper stage provided roll, pitch and yaw control as well as settling burns for the upper stage main engine. Once separated from the launch vehicle, SV-3 will use Aerojet Rocketdyne's 4.5kW Hall Thruster Propulsion System (HTPS) to provide a significant portion of the orbit-raising as well as on-orbit station keeping propulsion for the AEHF satellite. For future GEO Comsat mission designers, the significantly enhanced performance capabilities offered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne HTPS can allow the same communication payloads to be launched on smaller/less-expensive launch vehicles, or with the same launch vehicle, it can enable a significantly higher payload capacity and therefore a substantially higher revenue stream. Aerojet Rocketdyne has successfully demonstrated the ability to scale Hall thruster designs up to much higher power levels for future 100-kW class space transportation systems.
"Another successful mission operation of Aerojet Rocketdyne's Hall Thruster Propulsion System on AEHF SV-3 will demonstrate the reliability of our in-space system," said Aerojet Rocketdyne's Vice President of Space Systems, Warren Yasuhara. "We are honored to provide this unique capability to the AEHF mission."
Aerojet Rocketdyne manufactures the Atlas V Solid Rocket Boosters at its Sacramento, Calif. facility. The SEP propulsion aboard SV-3 were designed and manufactured at Aerojet Rocketdyne's Redmond, Wash., facility. The RL10 engine is designed and manufactured at Aerojet Rocketdyne's facility in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader providing propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. GenCorp is a diversified company that provides innovative solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense, energy and real estate markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies' websites at www.Rocket.com and www.GenCorp.com.