Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, announced today that NASA's Kepler mission was launched aboard the ULA Delta II from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The launch vehicle will place the Kepler spacecraft into solar orbit.
The Kepler mission will survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy in search of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone. Aerojet provided eight MR-103G 0.2 lbf rocket engine assemblies to Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. for the Kepler spacecraft and has provided propulsion for every NASA Discovery mission.
Aerojet, under contract to United Launch Alliance, provides the Delta II rocket's second stage liquid engine. Other notable Delta II launches include critical NASA missions such as the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, MESSENGER, Phoenix Mars Lander, GLAST, THEMIS, STEREO and Deep Impact, as well as the USAF Global Positioning System (GPS) Block IIR fleet and several missions for the National Reconnaissance Office. "The Kepler mission is an important science mission that will help us understand whether planets like Earth are common or rare in the galaxy. Aerojet is proud to be part of the team to send them on their way," said Richard Yanick, director of Delta II and Space Tank Production Programs.
Kepler is a NASA Discovery Mission. Ames is the home organization of the science principal investigator and is responsible for the ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colo., is responsible for developing the Kepler flight system and supporting mission operations. For more information about the Kepler mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kepler.
Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the missile and space propulsion, defense and armaments markets. GenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale, and leasing of the company's excess real estate assets. Additional information about Aerojet and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies' Web sites at http://www.aerojet.com/ and http://www.gencorp.com/.