Press Release

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Successfully Powers Launch of U.S. Government Payload

By SpaceRef Editor
September 22, 2010
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Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne yesterday helped boost into orbit a U.S. Government payload. The payload was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The Atlas V is powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 booster engine and a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RL10 upper-stage engine. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX – News). RD AMROSS LLC is a joint venture of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and NPO Energomash.

“Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is pleased to provide power for the U.S. Government’s high-value payload,” said Jim Maus, director, expendable propulsion programs, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. “This sixth launch of the RL10 in 2010 is the 410th production model RL10 to fly, and it builds on the successful history of this great engine. This year marks the 47th year of flight by the RL10 engine, the world’s first liquid-hydrogen fueled rocket engine.

“The RL10 has placed more than 174 military, government and commercial satellites into orbit and powered historic space missions to nearly every planet in our solar system,” said Maus. “The engines have accumulated a record 761 in-space firings and over 2.27 million seconds of ground and flight operating time. We look forward to continuing our partnership with United Launch Alliance in the years ahead.”

“RD AMROSS congratulates United Launch Alliance on another successful launch and the ninth RD-180 powered Atlas V mission in the past year and a half,” said Len Dest, president and CEO of RD AMROSS. The Atlas V Centaur upper stage is powered by a single RL10A-4-2 engine that delivers 22,300 pounds of thrust. For over 46 years, the RL10 has been one of the United States’ most reliable upper-stage engines. The Atlas V Common Core booster is powered by the RD-180 engine delivering nearly 1 million pounds of thrust. The RD-180 is the only liquid oxygen-kerosene fueled engine with an oxygen-rich staged combustion cycle flying in the United States today.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines. For more information about Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, visit

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and commercial building industries.

SpaceRef staff editor.