Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Engine Launches Planet-Hunting Spacecraft
The Kepler spacecraft is part of NASA’s mission to find orbiting planets that could contain water and harbor life. For four years, Kepler will observe the brightness of more than 100,000 stars in the Milky Way to detect periodic dimming. Such dimming could occur when a planet passes in front of its parent star, momentarily blocking the starlight seen from Earth. Kepler contains a lens, primary mirror and a charge-coupled device array for collecting light. After it is launched, Kepler will pass the moon’s orbit and orbit the sun, trailing Earth. It is the first space mission of its kind to search for small, orbiting planets that may harbor life in our galaxy.
“All previous planet-hunting expeditions have used land-based telescopes, and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is proud to be part of a mission that brings us closer to finding other Earth-like planets,” said
The Kepler spacecraft is equipped with a specially designed photometer that can simultaneously focus on more than 100,000 stars with the precision required to detect orbiting planets.
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.
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
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