Aerojet Propulsion Propels Atlas V Launch Vehicle and Delivers MUOS Satellite to Orbit
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, provided its solid rocket boosters to the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle for the inaugural launch of the U.S. Navy’s five-satellite Mobile User Object System (MUOS). Built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), MUOS is a next-generation narrowband tactical satellite communications system that will significantly improve ground communications for U.S. forces on the move.
Five Aerojet AJ60 Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) ignited at lift-off, increasing the launch thrust of ULA’s Atlas V rocket by more than 1.9 million pounds. All Atlas V launches requiring extra boost performance have flown Aerojet-produced SRBs. These motors have demonstrated a 100 percent success record in flight, having flown 15 missions over the past 10 years with vehicle configurations ranging from one to five SRBs.
Eight Aerojet retro rockets also assisted with the Atlas Centaur separation from the launch vehicle approximately 4.5 minutes into flight. In addition, 12 Aerojet monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters 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 will use 12 0.2 lbf and six 5 lbf Aerojet thrusters for in-flight maneuvers and final de-orbit.
“Aerojet propulsion is trusted to not only assist with launching such a critical satellite, but also to delivering it to its final orbital destination,” said Aerojet Vice President of Space and Launch Systems, Julie Van Kleeck. “Helping ensure the success of the launch and a payload that supports the safety and helps promote the success of our nation’s warfighters is an inspiration for the entire team.”
The Navy Communications Satellite Program Office (PMW 146) is responsible for the MUOS program. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company is the MUOS prime contractor and lead system integrator.
Aerojet manufactured the Atlas V Solid Rocket Boosters at its Sacramento, Calif. facility. The retro rockets were designed and developed by Aerojet in Gainesville, Va. and manufactured in Camden, Ark. The two types of thrusters aboard MUOS were designed and manufactured at Aerojet’s Redmond, Wash. facility.
Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the missile and space propulsion, defense and armaments markets. GenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale, and leasing of the company’s excess real estate assets. Additional information about Aerojet and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies’ websites at http://www.Aerojet.com and http://www.GenCorp.com.