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GenCorp Awarded Mars Rocket Contract
Sacramento - June 11, 1998 - GenCorp Aerojet was awarded a $485,000 contract to design and test a high performance/high technology rocket injector for use in a Martian-simulated environment by the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on May 27.

The rocket injector, using MON-25/Monomethylhydrazine propellants, will be used for the Mars Ascent Propulsion System (MAPS) Attitude Control Thruster Initial Phase Development Program. This program is necessary to develop enabling propulsion technologies required by the Mars Sample Return Vehicle, a major component in NASA's Mars Exploration Program.

"This is an exciting win for Aerojet," said Bob Harris, Aerojet vice president of Strategic and Space Propulsion. "Interplanetary exploration technology exceeds the capabilities of current state-of-the-art propulsion systems and Aerojet is proud to play a part in developing innovative propulsion solutions."

The Aerojet MAPS program will be accomplished at the Sacramento facility over a seven-month period beginning late May. The initial effort of the program will focus on injector design characteristics required to produce high performance and stable combustion using low temperature propellants which have freezing points below -50 degrees C, similar to the Martian environment. Subsequent phases will further develop and test new-technology lightweight components intended for the final flight version of the engine.

In addition to the Mars sample return mission, this task has applicability to a wide variety of other missions as well since low freezing-point propellants are also likely to be of use to any outer planet missions.

  • JPL's Robotics and Mars Exploration Technology Program
  • GenCorp's AeroJet Division

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