Aerojet Rocketdyne and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., announced recently that they have completed a study on the development of a common upper stage service for NASA, designed for enhanced performance of NASA Launch Services and paving the way for additional missions.
The new common upper stage has the potential to be integrated onto several spacecraft–including Antares, Atlas V and the to-be-produced Delta IV Heavy–allowing for payload delivery to stretch further into the farther reaches of space.
“Aerojet Rocketdyne is proud to be part of this effort with NASA to study a common upper stage service that could encourage competition, enhance capabilities and enable more science-based missions in space,” said Julie Van Kleeck, vice president of Advanced Space and Launch Programs, Aerojet Rocketdyne.
The new common upper stage service could be available by 2017, said the company, and could enable future missions like Solar Probe Plus to travel to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
“It is rewarding to see that NASA’s investment in green propellant has direct application to this common upper stage due to its increased performance and human safety benefits,” said Jim Oschmann, vice president and general manager, Civil Space & Technology, Ball Aerospace.
Aerojet Rocketdyne plans to continue providing full upper stage service to global customers, NASA and the Department of Defense.