SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 1, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, announced today that it submitted a formal response to the U.S. Air Force's Request for Information on options for future booster propulsion and launch systems that could be used as alternatives to foreign-supplied RD-180 engines.
Aerojet Rocketdyne's written response and subsequent one-on-one interview with Air Force officials provided details on the recommended steps the U.S. Government should take to minimize the total lifecycle costs of National Security Space launches while ensuring a commercially competitive U.S. space launch enterprise that is no longer reliant on foreign suppliers. The engine technology proposed to fulfill the U.S. Government's requirements is Aerojet Rocketdyne's new AR1, a 500,000 lbf thrust-class liquid oxygen/kerosene booster engine currently in development within the company's Advanced Development Business Unit.
The AR1 employs advanced, highly-efficient oxygen-rich staged combustion engine technology that Aerojet Rocketdyne has continuously evolved for more than 20 years through multiple contracted and internal technology maturation efforts and advanced design concept programs. AR1 utilizes the latest technology, materials, additive manufacturing and rocket engine manufacturing capabilities gleaned from heritage lessons learned on the venerable RS-68, RL10 and, most recently, J-2X programs. Rapid development and certification of the AR1 will take place at existing manufacturing and test facilities with delivery of a flight-qualified engine planned by 2019, leading to a low-risk transition to affordable production utilizing a known supply base, a multi-use manufacturing footprint and a proven and skilled workforce.
Aerojet Rocketdyne's proposal to incorporate AR1 engines into Atlas V launch vehicles would require minimal changes to the Atlas V, its ground support equipment and launch infrastructure. The AR1's flexible, modular design allows the engine to be configured to support multiple launch vehicles, providing a U.S.-designed and manufactured propulsion system for the Atlas V that can be easily adapted to power other current and future government and commercial launch vehicles.
"Delivering high-performance, reliable propulsion systems is our core business at Aerojet Rocketdyne and our record of mission success on more than 2,100 launches to date is unmatched in the industry," said Paul Meyer, senior vice president of Advanced Programs and Business Development for Aerojet Rocketdyne. "Our AR1 engine will deliver the lowest life cycle cost and the reliability needed to launch the Air Force's critical payloads. America's continued, self-reliant access to space is crucial to national security - this is the time to realize that we need a response to a national need at minimum cost and risk to the American taxpayer, that at the same time preserves our industrial base."
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.