Press Release

Aerojet Successfully Conducts Third Jettison Motor Nozzle Risk Reduction Test for NASA’s Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle

By SpaceRef Editor
September 25, 2010
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Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, announced today that it successfully conducted a static firing of the third nozzle risk reduction motor in support of the Orion jettison motor, a critical component of the launch abort system (LAS) for NASA’s Orion crew exploration vehicle. This successful test firing validates several nozzle design changes implemented to enhance the safety and reliability of the jettison motor.

Today’s test was conducted under contract to Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT – News) and represents a collaborative effort between design teams at Aerojet, Lockheed and NASA. The third nozzle risk reduction test successfully met all test plan objectives, providing data to validate analytical models and demonstrate the increased robustness of the new nozzle design modifications. “Congratulations to the entire Orion launch abort team,” said Aerojet Vice President of Space and Launch Systems, Julie Van Kleeck. “Today’s test demonstrates increased margin in an already proven system.”

Orion’s jettison motor reliability was proven during the successful fully-integrated launch abort system flight test, Pad Abort 1, conducted at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range on May 6, 2010.

Orion’s LAS is designed to pull the crew module away from the rocket to safety in the event of an emergency on the pad and during the initial ascent phase. Aerojet designed and manufactured the jettison motor, which is required on every mission to jettison the LAS away from the crew module for both nominal and abort scenarios.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion spacecraft, which is being developed as the nation’s next generation spacecraft for future human exploration throughout the solar system. Aerojet is part of the nationwide Orion industry team led by Lockheed Martin, which includes five major subcontractors and an expansive network of minor subcontractors and small businesses working at 88 facilities in 28 states across the country. The Orion team is preparing for the spacecraft’s first orbital flight test as early as 2013.

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’ Web sites at and

SpaceRef staff editor.