HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Sep. 09, 2019 – Aerojet Rocketdyne recently tested its Jettison Demonstration Motor 4 (DM-4) at the Redstone Test Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This successful test marks a significant milestone in the company’s long-term affordability and utilization improvement initiative, the Competitive Improvement Program (CIP).
Aerojet Rocketdyne’s CIP aims at reducing product costs and increasing operational efficiency. As part of CIP, Aerojet Rocketdyne began transitioning its energetics and final assembly of NASA’s Orion jettison motor to its Orange, Virginia, facility in May 2017.
DM-4 is the first jettison motor that has utilized Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Orange, Virginia, facility for propellant mixing and loading, and motor final assembly. The successful test of this motor rounded out an extensive two-year transition effort that increased affordability and demonstrated that there was no loss of fidelity or quality in the transfer of the program. Moving forward, all future production motors will utilize the Orange County facility for each of these demonstrated processes.
“The successful DM-4 test is a testament to how we planned and executed our Competitive Improvement Plan,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “In Orange, Virginia, we had the right sized facility already in place and a highly skilled workforce ready to support the jettison motor program. This successful transition showcases the commitment by Aerojet Rocketdyne to seamlessly transition production capabilities in order to drive greater efficiently and product affordability for our customers.”
During its test, the DM-4 motor fired for approximately 1.5 seconds and generated 40,000 pounds of thrust, simulating the Launch Abort System (LAS) jettison event that NASA’s Orion spacecraft will experience during future Artemis missions.
“Since the jettison motor has to fire on every launch of the Orion spacecraft, execution, attention to detail and product safety are key,” continued Drake. “With the knowledge transfer completed and a successful demonstration under our belt, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Orange facility is now ready for full production of Orion’s jettison motor in support of NASA’s human exploration efforts.”
The jettison motor is one of three motors on the Orion spacecraft’s LAS, and is the only motor that is used for both a normal launch sequence as well as launch abort. The jettison motor performs the critical task of separating the LAS structure from the spacecraft to allow crewmembers to continue on their journey during a normal launch sequence, or enables the spacecraft to deploy its parachutes for a safe landing after an abort scenario.
About Aerojet Rocketdyne:
Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion systems and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, and tactical systems areas, in support of domestic and international customers. For more information, visit www.Rocket.com and www.AerojetRocketdyne.com. Follow Aerojet Rocketdyne and CEO Eileen Drake on Twitter at @AerojetRdyne and @DrakeEileen.