Press Release

Lockheed Martin And Aerojet Complete Successful Atlas V Block B Solid Rocket Booster Test

By SpaceRef Editor
June 3, 2005
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Lockheed Martin and Aerojet have successfully conducted the second test firing of the Atlas V upgraded Block B Solid Rocket Booster (SRB). The test firing was performed May 24 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Aerojet’s Block B SRB will be used on Lockheed Martin’s Atlas V launch vehicle, providing enhanced performance and reliability. The Block A SRB, a previous version of the solid motor also produced by Aerojet, was qualified in 2003 and has already flown on three separate successful Atlas V missions for Lockheed Martin.

This was the second test of the Block B SRB at Aerojet’s new SRB test stand at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Edwards Air Force Base. The first test was conducted April 1. The duration and thrust levels of the SRB test fire matched well with pre-test expectations and were completed as planned, with a burn duration of approximately 90 seconds, producing an average thrust of over 250,000 lbs. Post-test examination of the motor, insulation and nozzle revealed excellent internal performance and design margins.

“The Block B design has clearly demonstrated superior thermal performance and we are very pleased with the test results,” said Jim Sponnick, vice president of the Atlas Program at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. “Our customers are also pleased with the upgraded design, and we are looking forward to the performance and reliability that the Block B SRBs will provide for our upcoming Atlas V missions.” Aerojet’s robust Block B SRB design improves the motor’s production efficiency and predictability required to meet the needs of Atlas V government and commercial missions. The Block B program was initiated by Lockheed Martin in 2003 as part of a pre-planned product improvement effort, following the successful completion of the Block A qualification. Since 2003, a total of seven Aerojet Block A SRBs have flown successfully on all three Atlas V missions that have utilized the added thrust of solid rocket boosters.

“We are very pleased with the results of the development effort and look forward to flying this upgraded design. We are also very pleased with the collaborative working relationships we have with Lockheed Martin, AFRL and the government customer. These were key in the successful demonstration of the modified booster and the new test stand,” said Aerojet President Michael Martin.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered near Denver, Colo., is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems Company designs, develops, tests and manufactures a variety of advanced technology systems for space and defense. Chief products include space launch systems, defense systems, interplanetary and science spacecraft, spacecraft for commercial and government customers, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.

Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, 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. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 130,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2004 sales of $35.5 billion.

SpaceRef staff editor.