SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, has received the prestigious 2013 John R. Alison Award for its work on the X-51A WaveRider from the Air Force Association (AFA). The X-51A WaveRider hypersonic vehicle, powered by Aerojet Rocketdyne's SJY61 scramjet engine, achieved aviation history by making the longest-ever supersonic combustion ramjet-powered flight, flying full duration and achieving mission success.
"Receiving the Alison award from AFA is a tremendous honor and could not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of the X-51A WaveRider program staff," said Warren M. Boley, Jr., president of Aerojet Rocketdyne. "The X-51A WaveRider provides a foundation for future hypersonics research and ultimately the practical application of air-breathing hypersonic flight into operational systems."
Established in 1992, the John R. Alison Award is one of the AFA's top awards, and is given for the most outstanding contributions by industrial leadership in national defense. Aerojet Rocketdyne accepted the award during a reception at AFA's 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition on Sept. 18.
During the record-breaking flight, the unmanned WaveRider vehicle was carried beneath the wing of a U.S. Air Force B-52 and dropped from an altitude of about 50,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean off southern California. A solid rocket booster fired and propelled the cruiser to scramjet takeover, creating the supersonic environment necessary to operate the engine. The scramjet successfully propelled the cruiser, which traveled more than 230 nautical miles in about six minutes, streaking through the sky from Mach 4.8 to Mach 5.1 while climbing in altitude. The engine ran full duration, depleting all fuel as planned. It was the longest of the four X-51A flights and the longest air-breathing hypersonic flight ever.
The X-51A program is a collaborative effort of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Boeing and Aerojet Rocketdyne.
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, energy 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.