SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 20, 2014 – Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, has received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Electric Propulsion Technical Committee at the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics for its contribution to the Advanced Extremely High Frequency-1 (AEHF-1) Rescue Team. The team, which included two other aerospace companies and the U.S. Air Force, helped save the AEHF-1 military communications satellite and place it into proper orbit after the spacecraft’s main bipropellant engine failed to ignite.
“Aerojet Rocketdyne is honored to receive this prestigious award as part of the AEHF-1 Rescue Team,” said Julie Van Kleeck, vice president of Space Advanced Programs at Aerojet Rocketdyne. “The team did remarkable work to preserve the full-mission capability of the satellite in the face of tremendous challenges. This rescue paves the way for extending the use of electric propulsion to reduce the cost of next-generation, Department of Defense-related space missions.”
The AEHF-1 satellite was successfully launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster in August 2010, and was expected to reach geosynchronous orbit within 100 days. But the bi-propellant propulsion system on the satellite’s main engine failed, stranding the AEHF-1 in the wrong orbit and placing it at risk of being a total loss. The AEHF-1 Rescue Team was assembled and devised a plan to use the spacecraft’s smaller hydrazine thrusters to lift the orbit above the atmosphere and then use the electric Hall thruster system to complete the orbit-raising mission—with whisper-like impulses—until it reached its desired orbit 14 months later.
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.