Aerojet Rocketdyne

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Aerojet Rocketdyne
Industry Aerospace
Predecessor Aerojet
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne
Founded 2013
Headquarters Sacramento, California, United States
Products Rocket motor and missile propulsion
Parent Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings

Aerojet Rocketdyne is an American rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer. Headquartered in Sacramento, California, the company is owned by GenCorp. Aerojet Rocketdyne was formed in 2013 when Aerojet (already owned by GenCorp) and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne were merged, following the latter's acquisition by GenCorp from Pratt & Whitney.[1][2]


Current engines

  • RS-25 (LH2/LOX) – Reusable main engine for the retired Space Shuttle. Remaining shuttle engines are scheduled for use on Space Launch System first stage launches after which an expendable version, RS-25E will be developed for follow-on SLS launches.
  • RL10 (LH2/LOX) – Developed by Pratt & Whitney and currently used on both the upper stage of the Delta IV as well as the Centaur upper stage for the Atlas V. Formerly used on the Centaur upper stage for Titan, the Saturn I, and on the vertical-landing McDonnell Douglas DC-X "Delta Clipper". It was intended to serve as the main propulsion engine for the proposed Altair lunar lander.
  • RS-68 (LH2/LOX) – First stage engine for the Delta IV.
  • J-2X (LH2/LOX) – Engine is under development as of 2013 to be used on the Earth Departure Stage for the Block II of the Space Launch System.
  • Baby Bantam (kerosene/LOX) – In June 2014, Aerojet Rocketdyne announced that they had "manufactured and successfully tested an engine which had been entirely 3D printed." The engine is a 22 kN (5,000 lbf) thrust engine.[3]
  • AJ-26 (RP-1/LOX) – Rebranded and modified NK-33 engines imported from Russia. Used as first stage engine for the Antares.

Former production engines



The AR1 is a proposed 2,200-kilonewton-class (500,000 lbf) thrust RP-1/LOX rocket engine that Aerojet Rocketdyne proposed in 2014 to "lobby the government to fund an all-new, U.S.-sourced rocket propulsion system." As of June 2014 Aerojet's early projection was that the cost would be under US$25 million per pair of engines, not including the up to US$1 billion estimated development cost to be funded by the government.[4][5] Later in 2014, the US Congress passed a law requiring the US Air Force to "develop a new propulsion system by 2019 to replace the RD-180 engine" that powers Atlas V used by United Launch Alliance (ULA).[6]

ULA announced in early February 2015 that they are considering undertaking domestic production of the Russian RD-180 engine at its Decatur, Alabama rocket manufacturing facility. The US-manufactured engines would be used only for government civil (NASA) or commercial launches, and would not be used for US military launches. ULA CEO Tory Bruno also indicated that ULA is considering the AR1 option, along with the US manufacture of the RD-180 by ULA under license as backup options to the primary option ULA is pursuing for the Atlas V successor with the Blue Origin BE-4 methalox engine.[7]

The AR1 engine has the advantage of matching the fueling configuration of the current launch vehicle, but is disadvantaged by being much earlier in the development process for a new rocket engine.[8] In February 2015, the USAF released the results of its analysis of the project to build a new US government-funded engine in five years, and said that the "2019 deadline was too aggressive given that it would likely take six to eight years to develop an alternate U.S.-built engine, plus another year or two to integrate the new engine with existing rockets."[6] Aerojet Rocketdyne has stated a commitment to delivering the AR1 in 2019.[9]

In September 2015, AJR made an offer to buy ULA for US$2 billion. Shortly thereafter however, ULA and Blue Origin announced a joint agreement to expand production capabilities in order to manufacture the BE-4 rocket engine currently in development and test. ULA also reconfirmed that the decision on using the BE-4 vs. AJR AR1 for the new Vulcan rocket would not be made until late 2016, with maiden flight of Vulcan continuing to be planned for no earlier than 2019.[10] The U.S. Air Force awarded a $115 million contract to Aerojet Rocketdyne for development of the AR1 engine to be completed in 2019. Contract options could increase government funding up to $501 million.[11][12]

See also


  1. "Two engine rivals merge into Aerojet Rocketdyne". Spaceflight Now. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Here's how Aerojet Rocketdyne might bring 5,000 new aerospace engineering jobs to Huntsville
  3. "Aerojet Rocketdyne 3D Prints An Entire Engine in Just Three Parts". 2014-06-26. Retrieved 2014-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Butler, Amy (2014-06-03). "Aerojet Rocketdyne Targets $25 Million Per Pair For AR-1 Engines". Aviation Week. Retrieved 2014-06-16. Aerojet Rocketdyne is targeting a cost of $20–25 million for each pair of new AR-1 engines as the company continues to lobby the government to fund an all-new, U.S.-sourced rocket propulsion system ... The effort to build a new, 500,000-lb. thrust liquid oxygen/kerosene propulsion system would take about four years from contract award and cost roughly $800 million to $1 billion. Such an engine is eyed for United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket as well as Orbital’s Antares<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Leone, Dan (2014-06-02). "Aerojet Rocketdyne Exec Pitches Long-brewing Concept as RD-180 Replacement". Space News. Retrieved 2014-06-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Shalal, Andrea (25 February 2015). "Air Force seeks rethink of 2019 deadline for new U.S. rocket engine". Reuters. Retrieved 1 March 2015. Congress last year passed a law that requires the Air Force to develop a new propulsion system by 2019 to replace the RD-180 engine that powers one of two rockets used by the current monopoly launch provider, United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Fleischauer, Eric (7 February 2015). "ULA's CEO talks challenges, engine plant plans for Decatur". Decatur Daily. Retrieved 9 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Mike Gruss (27 February 2015). "Timing of Russian Engine Ban Puts ULA, Air Force, in a Bind". Space News. Retrieved 1 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Tweet". 2015-04-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Boeing, Lockheed Differ on Whether to Sell Rocket Joint Venture". Wall Street Journal. 10 September 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Aerojet, ULA Nab Air Force Contracts to Replace Russian Rocket Engine". Defense News, 29 February 2016.

External links