Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, announced today the launch of an Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Spacecraft (LCROSS). Aerojet provided 12 small monopropellant hydrazine thrusters aboard the Atlas Centaur upper stage, eight retro rockets for the Atlas Centaur separation from the launch vehicle, and an additional eight monopropellant thrusters aboard the LRO spacecraft.
As the pre-launch project evolved and the LCROSS mission was added, Aerojet performed two additional qualification test programs after hardware delivery -- one for the launch vehicle and one for the payload to ensure that the thrusters would be capable of completing the extended missions.
NASA's spacecraft will use vastly different methods to study the lunar environment. The LRO will orbit the moon using Aerojet thrusters to turn the suite of instruments toward the moon for thorough studies. It will be looking for potential landing sites for astronauts.
LCROSS will watch the spent Centaur upper stage as it collides with a permanently shaded crater in an effort to kick up evidence of water at the moon's poles. LCROSS will also impact the lunar surface during its course of study. "Aerojet is proud to support NASA's return to the moon," said Dr. Scott Miller, director of Chemical Propulsion Programs at Aerojet. "We look forward to supporting further lunar exploration on the Orion program."
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/.
CONTACT: Glenn Mahone, +1-202-302-9941, Glenn.Mahone@Aerojet.com, or
Kristin Conner, +1-916-355-2143, Kristin.Conner@Aerojet.com, both of Aerojet