SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 29, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, supported yesterday's successful launch of two Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites into orbit to help detect and track space objects as part of the Air Force Space Command-4 (AFSPC-4) mission. The mission, which also carried an Automated Navigation and Guidance Experiment for Local Space (ANGELS) satellite into orbit, was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida by a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion included an RS-68 booster engine and an RL10B-2 upper-stage engine and multiple thrusters for roll, pitch, yaw and settling burns.
"Aerojet Rocketdyne is honored to be part of a mission designed to provide a significant improvement in space object surveillance," said Steve Bouley, vice president of Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne.
At liftoff, the Delta IV rocket was boosted from the pad by the RS-68 engine, with 758,000 pounds of vacuum thrust and 663,000 pounds of sea-level thrust. A single RL10B-2 engine delivers 24,750 pounds of thrust to power the upper stage, which is powered by cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants. For more than 50 years, the RL10 has been one of the United States' most reliable upper-stage engines, accumulating one of the most impressive lists of accomplishments in space propulsion history. It has played an integral role in placing numerous military, government and commercial satellites into orbit, and powering space-probe missions to nearly every planet in the solar system.
Twelve Aerojet Rocketdyne monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters in four modules on the Delta IV upper stage provided roll, pitch and yaw control as well as settling burns for the upper-stage main engine. ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, provides the pressure vessels on the first and second stages on the launch vehicle.
The twin GSSAP spacecraft will support U.S. Strategic Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network sensor. The GSSAP will also support Joint Functional Component Command for Space tasking to collect space situational awareness data, allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man-made orbiting objects.
The ANGELS satellite is managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate. As part of AFRL's research in advanced space situational awareness, ANGELS examines techniques for providing a clearer picture of the environment surrounding our nation's vital space assets.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader providing propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. GenCorp is a diversified company that provides innovative solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense, and real estate markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies' websites at www.Rocket.com and www.GenCorp.com.
Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne