Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion aids launch of USAF satellite

Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc., a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (AJRD), has successfully supported the launch of the Lockheed Martin-built third Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous satellite (GEO Flight 3) for the US Air Force, the company said.

The mission, which is designed for early-warning missile detection, was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems on the Atlas V include the RL10C-1 upper-stage engine, six helium pressurization tanks, and 12 Centaur upper-stage Reaction Control System thrusters (RCS).

Aerojet Rocketdyne´s RL10C-1 upper-stage engine ignited after separation of the first stage to place the payload into orbit, helped by the Centaur RCS thrusters and pressurization tanks. The RL10C-1 delivers 22,890 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V upper stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.

Aerojet Rocketdyne also provided 18 monopropellant hydrazine thrusters on the GEO Flight 3 satellite, 12 MR-103G 0.2-lbf thrusters and six MR-106L 5-lbf thrusters. Once separated from the launch vehicle, the 18 thrusters on the GEO Flight 3 satellite provide stationkeeping, three-axis control and de-spinning of the reaction wheels throughout the mission. They also provide attitude control during orbit-raising, as well as the impulse needed for final decommissioning of the satellite.

ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, provided the pressure vessels on the first and second stages of the launch vehicle.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for SBIRS, which includes a combination of satellites in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit, hosted payloads in Highly Elliptical Orbit, and ground hardware and software. The data provided by SBIRS is designed to enhance the US military´s ability to detect missile launches, support ballistic missile defense, expand technical intelligence gathering and bolster battlespace awareness.

Aerojet Rocketdyne provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets.