Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, was named NASA Glenn Research Center's Large Business Prime Contractor of the Year for its commitment to small business advancement during a five-year effort to create liquid methane propulsion engines.
Aerojet was recognized at NASA's 2011 Small Business Industry Awards ceremony in Herndon, Va. for delivering engines that met or exceeded all requirements while also exceeding small business outreach goals.
NASA awarded Aerojet a contract in 2006 to develop a Reaction Control Engine (RCE) for use with liquid oxygen/liquid methane propellants. In 2008, NASA awarded Aerojet another contract to develop a liquid oxygen/liquid methane Ascent Main Engine. Both these developments were critical risk reduction programs that demonstrate new propellant technology for deep space exploration missions.
"The Aerojet team went from a blank sheet to our first RCE test in just 14 months and our lightweight thruster has demonstrated the viability of cryogenic liquid oxygen liquid methane reaction control engines for deep space missions," said Eric Veith, Aerojet program manager.
As part of this work, Aerojet was creative in meeting NASA's small business requirements by fostering partnerships and tailoring engine development work scope. The company employed interns through a program that helps fulfill NASA and Department of Defense (DoD) small business Historically Black Colleges and Universities requirements. The company also used its onsite staffing agency that focuses on using small businesses to fill temporary staffing needs for engineers and consultants. Aerojet plans to participate in NASA and DoD mentor-protege programs and to continue engagement through community business outreach efforts.
"We executed pioneering liquid oxygen and liquid methane rocket engine development and maintained our commitment to helping small businesses," said Veith.
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' websites at http://www.Aerojet.com and http://www.GenCorp.com.