Aerojet today successfully test fired a full-scale, 67-foot demonstration solid rocket motor for 95 seconds at thrust levels ranging from 285,000 to 390,000 pounds of thrust. The motor, strapped horizontally to a massive test stand, burned nominally in this assessment of the performance, quality and processing of the solid propellant. Two more hot fire tests in the Lockheed Martin Atlas V launch vehicle configuration are scheduled for completion by early next year.
"The test is a major milestone in the development of this new motor," said Mark Kaufman, Aerojet Atlas V program director. "This demonstrated that our design is sound and our manufacturing processes are in place for producing a monolithic solid rocket motor of this size. Verification of this technology paves the way for use of this motor on other space launch systems beginning with Lockheed Martin's Atlas V, which supports the U.S. Air Force EELV Program."
This motor testing phase concludes more than two years of design and development work by a dedicated program team of scientists, engineers and specialists at Aerojet, and moves this important next generation U.S. launch vehicle closer to actual production. Medium-to-heavy-lift launch vehicles will be used primarily for launches of U.S. government missions as well as the commercial satellite market. Aerojet's advanced solid rocket motors will provide reliable, high-performance boosting power to help place these payloads into orbit.
Aerojet's winning solid rocket motor design derives much of its technology from the company's extensive experience producing solid rocket motors for past programs developed to defend our nation, like Minuteman and Peacekeeper ICBMs, as well as pioneering work on numerous other large and small defense and space systems. Engineers have been able to capitalize on the inherent reliability of Aerojet solid rocket motors that is the result of decades of flight-testing and real mission experience.
Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the space electronics, missile and space propulsion, and smart munitions and armaments markets. Aerojet's Web site address is http://www.aerojet.com .