Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne today helped boost into orbit the first mission in NASA's "Living With a Star" program to explore more about how the sun affects life on Earth. The Solar Dynamics Observatory mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The Atlas V is powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 booster engine and a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RL10 upper-stage engine. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX). RD AMROSS LLC is a joint venture of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and NPO Energomash.
"Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is pleased to provide power for the first mission in this exciting NASA program to learn more about the sun's impact on our solar system and the Earth," said Jim Maus, director, expendable propulsion programs, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "This first launch of the RL10 in 2010 is the 407th production model RL10 to fly, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with United Launch Alliance in this coming decade."
"RD AMROSS and its partners -- NPO Energomash and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne -- congratulate NASA on this successful launch," said Len Dest, president and CEO of RD AMROSS. "We are proud to say that the RD-180 has provided power for all 20 Atlas V launches, including four with NASA payloads."
The Atlas V Centaur upper stage is powered by a single RL10A-4-2 engine that delivers 22,300 pounds of thrust. For over 46 years, the RL10 has been one of the United States' most reliable upper-stage engines. The Atlas V Common Core booster is powered by the RD-180 engine delivering nearly 1 million pounds of thrust. The RD-180 is the only liquid oxygen-kerosene fueled engine with an oxygen-rich staged combustion cycle flying in the United States today.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines.
Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and commercial building industries.