SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems played a major role in successfully placing the second of five Mobile User Object System (MUOS-2) satellites into orbit today for the U.S. Navy. The mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket, with five Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ60 Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), an RL10A-4-2 upper-stage engine, and multiple spacecraft attitude control thrusters. Aerojet Rocketdyne is a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company.
"Aerojet Rocketdyne's diverse propulsion capabilities are critical to missions like this, trusted to not only assist with delivering the spacecraft to its final orbital destination, but also to keep it there, properly oriented, for its full intended mission life," said Steve Bouley, vice president of Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. "Our record of mission success enables assured placement of such a valuable payload like MUOS which is anticipated to stay in service well past 2025."
"We are proud to be a long-time partner in ULA's Atlas V program and our team is especially excited about this system's role in protecting and improving the communications of our brave warfighters around the globe," said Peter Cova, deputy, Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. "This flight represents Aerojet Rocketdyne from top to bottom, showcasing our products and incorporating technologies from our various operating facilities around the country."
"The proven reliability and success of the AJ60 Solid Rocket Boosters and the RL10 provide a winning combination of rocket propulsion, and we are proud to enable this technology that will support our troops at home and overseas," said Christine Cooley, RL10 program manager at Aerojet Rocketdyne. "We continue to invest in evolving the RL10 engine, paving the way for an affordable engine that can sustain mission success and meet the fleet needs well into the next decades."
The five AJ60 SRBs were ignited at lift off, increasing the launch thrust of the Atlas V rocket by more than 1.9 million pounds. All Atlas V launches requiring extra boost performance have flown Aerojet Rocketdyne-produced SRBs and this particular flight includes the 49th Aerojet Rocketdyne SRB delivered to ULA last April. These motors have demonstrated a 100 percent success record in flight, having now flown 17 missions over the past 10 years almost to the day, since the first Atlas V launch with SRBs on July 17, 2003.
A single RL10A-4-2 engine delivers 22,300 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V upper-stage, burning cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants along the way. 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 the history of space propulsion. 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.
In addition to the five SRBs and upper-stage engine, 12 Aerojet Rocketdyne monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters in four modules on the Atlas V Centaur upper stage provided roll, pitch and yaw control as well as settling burns for the upper stage main engine. Once separated from the launch vehicle, MUOS-2 will use 12 MR-103G 0.2 lbf and six MR-106L 5 lbf thrusters for in-flight maneuvers and final relocation.
Aerojet Rocketdyne manufactures the Atlas V Solid Rocket Boosters at its Sacramento, Calif. facility. The two types of thrusters aboard MUOS were designed and manufactured at Aerojet Rocketdyne's Redmond, Wash., facility. The RL10 engine is designed and manufactured at Aerojet Rocketdyne's facility in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Built by Lockheed Martin, MUOS-2 is a next-generation narrowband tactical satellite communications system that will provide mobile U.S. forces with reliable and secure global communication, including, for the first time, simultaneous voice and data capabilities. The Navy's Program Executive Office for Space Systems and its Communications Satellite Program Office are responsible for the MUOS program. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company is the MUOS prime contractor and lead system integrator.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader providing propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense, strategic, tactical missile, and armaments areas in support of domestic and international markets. GenCorp is a diversified company providing innovative solutions to its customers in the aerospace and defense, energy 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