Press Release

Aerojet Rocketdyne Successfully Propels Satellite Into Orbit for Mexico

By SpaceRef Editor
October 2, 2015
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Aerojet Rocketdyne (AJRD) played a significant role in placing the Morelos-3 communications satellite into orbit for the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation. The mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The launch vehicle had an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 upper-stage engine, two AJ-60A solid rocket boosters (SRBs), six helium pressurization tanks and a dozen Centaur upper-stage thrusters used for roll, pitch, yaw and settling burns. Morelos-3 also carries a 100 lbf bipropellant apogee insertion engine (HiPAT(TM)) provided by Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Space Systems business unit in Redmond, Washington.

“Aerojet Rocketdyne is honored to have provided the Mexican government with reliable propulsion in support of its growing satellite communication needs,” said Steve Bouley, vice president of Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. “Congratulations to all our industry partners on yet another successful mission.”

Morelos-3 is one of the satellites that comprises the MEXSAT communications system, which is owned by Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes and operated by Telecomunicaciones de Mexico. MEXSAT is designed to deliver advanced telecommunications throughout Mexico, including rural zones and to support Mexico’s national security needs. Satellite services will include education and health programs, voice, data, video and internet services. The first satellite to reach orbit was Bicentenario, which was launched in 2012 and so named to commemorate the bicentennial of Mexican Independence.

During today’s launch, the Atlas V rocket lifted off the pad with the help of two AJ-60A solid rocket boosters providing more than 760,000 total pounds of thrust. All Atlas V launches requiring extra boost performance have flown Aerojet Rocketdyne-produced SRBs. These motors have demonstrated a 100 percent success record in flight since the first Atlas V launch with SRBs on July 17, 2003. After the separation of the first stage, a single RL10C-1 engine ignited to place the payload into orbit, helped by the Centaur thrusters and other Aerojet Rocketdyne-provided hardware for both the booster and upper stage. The RL10C-1 engine delivers 22,890 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V upper-stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants during its operation. ARDE, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, provides the pressure vessels on the first and second stages on the launch vehicle.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is an innovative company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense markets. The company is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne can be obtained by visiting our websites at and

SpaceRef staff editor.