Aerojet Engine Helps Launch GRAIL Lunar Mission Company's thrusters to assist twin spacecraft with lunar orbit insertion
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, announced that its AJ10 engine successfully powered the second stage of today's Delta II launch carrying a new generation of lunar exploration spacecraft.
Under contract to United Launch Alliance, Aerojet's AJ10 hypergolic engine provided 10,000 lbs. of thrust during today's launch of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission. The mission will fly twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon to learn more about its geologic composition and also provide a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system were formed.
Aerojet's AJ10 engines have been used on all 150 Delta II missions to date and have achieved a 100 percent success rate. The engines have supported numerous launches of critical NASA and military missions including the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, as well as the United States Air Force Global Positioning System (GPS) Block IIR fleet.
Aerojet also provided propulsion components to GRAIL. Each of the two GRAIL spacecraft carries a monopropellant hydrazine gas generator that feeds its attitude control system and a larger thruster for major maneuvers including lunar orbit insertion.
"The AJ10 engine and our thrusters are flight-critical components of this exciting lunar investigation," said Vice President of Space and Launch Systems, Julie Van Kleeck. "We are proud that our products are trusted to be a part of this exploration initiative and look forward to seeing the great science that will come from this mission."
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.