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Spacecraft Bound For Pluto Supported By Aerojet Propulsion

by Staff Writers
Sacramento CA (SPX) Jan 20, 2006
Aerojet provided the solid rocket power needed for launching the Lockheed Martin Atlas V launch vehicle and its Pluto New Horizons spacecraft earlier Thursday from Cape Canaveral, Fla. Aerojet's five solid rocket boosters (SRBs) provided the added thrust to get the New Horizons spacecraft to Pluto - the solar system's most distant planet.

The launch took place at 2:00 p.m. EST with the five SRBs providing an average thrust of more than 250,000 pounds each. This was the first Atlas V mission to use the five booster configuration. The Atlas V vehicle can accommodate configurations of zero, one, two, three, four or five boosters.

In addition to the SRBs, Aerojet provided eight solid propellant retro rockets that separate the Atlas core vehicle from the Centaur upper stage, 12 monopropellant thrusters on the Centaur upper stage, as well as the propulsion system for the Pluto New Horizons spacecraft.

"Today's launch of the Atlas V with its first-ever five booster configuration was an exciting milestone for the space industry," said Aerojet President Scott Neish.

"By successfully lifting the New Horizons spacecraft during a critical launch window, Aerojet has played a significant role in the successful mission to Pluto, helping our nation to understand the worlds at the edge of our solar system."

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NASA Delays Pluto Probe Launch Again
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 19, 2006
NASA has postponed the launch of its New Horizons Pluto probe "for at least one more day" due to a power outage at the laboratory managing the mission, the US space agency said Wednesday.

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