An Atlas V rocket launched the Landsat 9 spacecraft from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on September 27. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems supported the launch of the Atlas V and continue to support operation of the spacecraft. Photo: United Launch Alliance
Mission launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket
Sept. 27, 2021 - Propulsion hardware supplied by Aerojet Rocketdyne helped put America’s newest land imaging satellite into orbit and will play an ongoing role in mission operations.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifted off September 27 at 11:12 PT to put NASA’s Landsat 9 satellite into a near-polar orbit. The rocket features numerous Aerojet Rocketdyne systems, most notably the RL10C-1 engine that powers the vehicle’s Centaur upper stage with 22,890 pounds of thrust.
“For more than five decades the RL10 has been a reliable and versatile workhorse for the nation, delivering satellites to a number of orbits for civil, military and commercial customers,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne Space Business Unit Senior Vice President Jim Maser. “We look forward to continuing to serve our customers in the decades ahead with upgraded versions of the engine.”
In addition to the RL10, the Centaur features 12 Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-106 reaction control thrusters for orientation and settling burns, along with two helium-filled propellant pressurization tanks supplied by the company’s ARDÉ subsidiary. The Atlas V’s first stage utilizes four ARDÉ pressurization tanks.
The Northrop Grumman-built Landsat 9, which will collect medium-resolution multispectral land imagery for a variety of applications, has four MR-111G and eight MR-106L thrusters supplied by Aerojet Rocketdyne for orientation, orbital station keeping and orbit-raising maneuvers. Fueled by hydrazine, the MR-111G and MR-106L engines generate one and five pounds of thrust, respectively.