Press Release

Aerojet Congratulates NASA on Its 30-Year Anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program

By SpaceRef Editor
April 20, 2011
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The Company’s Orbital Maneuvering System Engine Will Retire to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama

Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, congratulates NASA and all of its partners on the recent 30th anniversary of the inaugural space shuttle launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s orbiters will retire after Atlantis’ expected launch on June 28. Aerojet’s technology has flown on every shuttle mission since its launch inception in 1981.

With NASA’s announcement mid last week on the orbiters’ post-shuttle program retirement locations, Aerojet is elated that NASA will be retiring one of the shuttle’s Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) engines to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center of Huntsville, Ala.

As a corporate Huntsville resident and partner with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Aerojet manufactured the OMS engines for the shuttles as well as the Reaction Control System (RCS) thrusters. The OMS engines have contributed to each on-orbit operation and are also used to return each shuttle to Earth.

“We are very excited that one of our OMS engines will come home to Huntsville,” said Vice President of Space and Launch Systems, Julie Van Kleeck. “As part of NASA’s shuttle launch team for the last 30 years, we have enjoyed seeing the significant scientific rewards that the program has brought to mankind.”

“It’s a perfect fit for our collection,” said U.S. Space & Rocket Center Director, Dr. Deborah Barnhart, shortly after the announcement. “Anything having to do with propulsion is part of our story.” Barnhart was referring to the fact that the shuttle’s propulsion systems were developed and managed at Huntsville’s Marshall Space Flight Center. “The addition of the Orbital Maneuvering System engine will be a great addition to our world-class exhibition. We are thrilled with this opportunity to team with Aerojet to showcase this hardware,” she said. 

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is home to SPACE CAMP and Aviation Challenge. “The center has graduated more than half a million trainees from its programs over the past 30 years,” Barnhart said. “Hundreds of them have gone on to work in engineering and now participate in the nation’s space and defense programs. The addition of the OMS engine will be a wonderful opportunity for our new SPACE CAMP trainees to learn more about on-orbit propulsion.”

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 and

CONTACT: Glenn Mahone, +1-202-302-9941,, or Kristin Conner, +1-916-355-2143,, both of Aerojet Web Site:

SpaceRef staff editor.