Aerojet Develops Innovative Reaction Control Engine Technology for NASA's Exploration Program

Nov 28, 2007, 00:00 ET from Aerojet

    SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Aerojet, a
 GenCorp Inc. (NYSE:   GY) company, recently completed developmental testing
 of an innovative cryogenic oxygen/methane Reaction Control Engine (RCE)
 critical to ongoing lunar lander architectural decision making. Aerojet
 completed over 135 tests of the reaction control engine for NASA's
 Propulsion Cryogenic Advanced Development (PCAD) project of the Exploration
 Technology Development Program. The Exploration Technology Development
 Program, based at Langley Research Center, strives to mature technology to
 support future human and robotic exploration missions for the Exploration
 Mission Systems Directorate at NASA Headquarters. The results exceeded
 project goals.
     The NASA PCAD project, managed by NASA Glenn Research Center and
 supported by the NASA Johnson Space Center, was created to explore
 cryogenic propulsion technologies that potentially enable higher performing
 space vehicles through weight reduction and provide simplified ground
 operations by virtue of non-toxic propellants. Aerojet's recent fast-paced
 design, build and test program has provided valuable risk reduction for the
 RCE, which is widely recognized as a key challenge in fielding non-toxic
 propulsion systems.
     The cutting-edge engine technology integrates an injector-igniter
 assembly with two propellant valves resulting in an engine weight that is
 comparable to an earth-storable reaction control engine. The igniter
 further achieved 100% reliable ignition. "Aerojet's injector and igniter
 sea level testing exceeded operational pulsing requirements set by the
 project and provided extensive test data in support of NASA's Exploration
 Technology Development Program," said Mark Klem, PCAD Project Manager.
     The most challenging requirement for any cryogenic reaction control
 engine is to produce repeatable thrust impulses. Aerojet achieved very
 small thrust impulses which enable fine in-space maneuvering operations and
 provide higher performance through efficient consumption of on-board
 propellants -- exceeding NASA's original objectives. "Aerojet took on
 significant technical challenges in this RCE development program," said
 Julie Van Kleeck, Aerojet's vice president of Space Programs. Van Kleeck
 noted that "Aerojet's testing demonstrates that performance and operability
 issues associated with non-toxic propulsion technologies can be overcome."
     Aerojet's successful test program provides the hot fire data needed to
 update the existing design and fabricate additional reaction control
 engines for delivery to NASA's White Sands Test facility and the NASA Glenn
 Research Center in early 2008 to support a full-propulsion module system
 test as well as extensive altitude engine testing.
     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 and

SOURCE Aerojet