Press Release

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s Space Shuttle Main Engines Power Space Shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station

By SpaceRef Editor
May 16, 2011
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Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s Space Shuttle Main Engines Power Space Shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station

Three Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) today successfully powered the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on Mission STS-134 to deliver a permanent experiment module to the International Space Station that will allow scientists to study anti-matter in the universe. The SSME is the only fully reusable high-performance rocket engine rated for human spaceflight. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.

Endeavour launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on its 25th and final planned mission. With a crew of six, Endeavour will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02), which will help a team of international researchers study the formation of the universe and search for evidence of dark matter and anti-matter. Endeavour’s final mission will also deliver spare parts, communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank and micro-meteoroid debris shields.

“We are very proud of the legacy of the SSMEs and their contribution to human exploration, scientific discovery and the evolution of technology that has forever changed life on Earth,” said Jim Maser, president, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. “The SSMEs are the most highly-tested, best-understood engines in the world, and will serve as a foundation for NASA’s future path for space exploration.” “Not only are these three SSMEs boosting a payload that will help scientists unveil mysteries of our universe, but some of the engine hardware powering this mission also successfully powered the very first shuttle flight three decades ago, demonstrating the reusability of these high-performance, human-rated engines,” said Jim Paulsen, SSME program manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. To hear directly from some of the people who have dedicated their passion to the success of the SSME program, go to:

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, 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. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is headquartered in Canoga Park, Calif., and has facilities in Huntsville, Ala.; Kennedy Space Center, Fla.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Stennis Space Center, Miss; and Carlstadt, N.J. For more information about Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, go to

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.