Aerojet Rocketdyne has received a potential eight-year, $174 million contract to develop, test and certify RL10 upper stage engines for NASA“™s Space Launch System rocket.
NASA said Saturday the contract will run through Feb. 29, 2024 and covers the production of 10 RL10C-3 engines and two spare engines in support of the SLS rocket“™s second and third space flights with the space agency“™s Orion spacecraft.
The agency noted the SLS“™ first launch into space is scheduled in late 2018.
NASA plans to incorporate one RL10B-2 engine into the SLS rocket“™s interim cryogenic propulsion stage and integrate four RL10C-3 engines with the SLS Block 1B configuration“™s exploration upper stage in an effort to support human exploration missions into deep space.
“Engines are one of the most complex rocket elements and we“™re pleased to be working with Aerojet Rocketdyne to build these flight engines,“ said James Burnum, SLS liquid engines RL10 manager at NASA.
“Starting with the second mission, humans will be traveling into deep space further than ever before,“ Burnum added.
Aerojet Rocketdyne will conduct engine tests at NASA“™s test facility in Florida and perform a “green run“ test of the EUS with the RL10 engines at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi under the contract.
The RL10 engine has recorded approximately 15,000 hot fires, logged over 400 flights and recorded a hot fire operation time of more than 2.3 million seconds.