"Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion on NASA's Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket contributed to the success of the historic Artemis I mission, from liftoff to splashdown," said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen P. Drake.
"We're proud to be part of a team that has demonstrated the ability to safely and efficiently carry astronauts on future Artemis missions, effectively ushering in an exciting new generation of human spaceflight."
This contract option includes delivery of three additional sets of Orion's service module auxiliary engines and three additional jettison motors. The eight auxiliary engines each produce 105 pounds of thrust to help maintain Orion's in-space trajectory and position, and supplement the Orion Main Engine.
The jettison motor, located on Orion's Launch Abort System (LAS), generates 40,000 pounds of thrust to separate the LAS from the crew module during both nominal operations and abort scenarios, allowing the spacecraft to continue on its journey. The jettison motor is the only motor on the LAS that fires during every mission.
Aerojet Rocketdyne was awarded a separate contract in 2021 to provide new Orion Main Engines for future Artemis missions, and Lockheed Martin plans to use refurbished crew modules, which are propelled by reaction control thrusters, also built by Aerojet Rocketdyne, for later Artemis missions.
"Orion is NASA's deep space exploration vehicle," continued Drake. "Aerojet Rocketdyne is delivering the propulsion systems that will take the first woman and the first person of color to the Moon and create a sustainable presence on the lunar surface and develop technologies that will one day enable us to send astronauts to Mars."
The contract for three shipsets of Orion propulsion elements will be managed and performed out of the company's facility in Redmond, Washington. Work will also be conducted at Aerojet Rocketdyne facilities in Huntsville, Alabama, and Orange County, Virginia.
Aerojet Rocketdyne Delivers Propulsion For Artemis 3 Mission
Los Angeles (SPX) Apr 18 - Aerojet Rocketdyne recently completed the four RS-25 engines that will power the core stage of NASA's super heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) rocket during the historic Artemis 3 mission. Slated for launch around the middle of the decade, Artemis 3 is a planned lunar landing mission that will return humans to the surface of the Moon for the first time in more than 50 years.
"The Artemis 3 mission is pivotal in our nation's goal to return American astronauts to the surface of the Moon, establish a sustained presence there and pave the way for crewed missions to Mars," said Eileen P. Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president.
"As our nation makes this next giant leap in its space program, it is leveraging the extensive knowledge and lessons learned that were gained during our earlier exploration efforts, including the Apollo, Space Shuttle and Artemis I missions. We are truly standing on the shoulders of those who pioneered the exploration of deep space."
The four RS-25 engines that will power the SLS rocket's core stage during the Artemis 3 mission have been upgraded following their service during the shuttle program and will now generate about 2 million pounds of combined thrust. The Artemis 3 RS-25 engines safely flew 138 individual astronauts to orbit and supported 26 Space Shuttle missions, including:
Multiple International Space Station assembly missions
+ STS-95: The flight of then-U.S. Senator John Glenn, one of NASA's original Mercury astronauts
+ STS-114: The Space Shuttle program's return to flight following the Columbia accident
+ STS-125: The final Hubble servicing mission
In addition to the RS-25 engines, Aerojet Rocketdyne has delivered all of its other propulsion systems for the Artemis 3 SLS rocket and a majority of the propulsion systems for the Orion spacecraft.
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