Aerojet Successfully Test Fires World's Largest Monolithic Solid Rocket Motor for Use on Atlas V

Press Release From: Aerojet
Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Aerojet today successfully test fired a full-scale, 67-foot Atlas V solid rocket motor for 92 seconds at thrust levels ranging from 285,000 to 390,000 lbf. The motor, strapped horizontally to a massive test stand, burned nominally in this assessment of the performance, quality and processing of the solid rocket motor assembly. Preliminary review of post-test data indicate the motor performed nominally achieving all performance objectives that were specified for the test.

"This is a major accomplishment in the qualification of this new motor supporting Lockheed Martin's Atlas V launch vehicle," said Mark Kaufman, Aerojet Atlas V program director. "The test demonstrated that design criteria and manufacturing processes are in place for producing and flying a monolithic solid rocket motor of this size. This qualification test was a critical milestone for use of this motor on an upcoming Atlas V launch in early 2003."

Today's test marks the second of three qualification motor firings and reflects a number of new design features that will enhance the robustness of the motor for its application on Atlas V. The third and final qualification motor firing is scheduled for early December 2002. Completion of the qualification phase is expected by early January 2003 and production of flight motors is underway to support a planned first flight in 2003.

Aerojet's 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, such as 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 is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the missile and space propulsion, and defense and armaments markets. For more information, please visit

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