Aerojet Rocketdyne provided a range of propulsion products to support the launch of the U.S. Air Force‘s fourth Lockheed Martin-built missile warning satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance-made Atlas V rocket on Friday.
An Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ-60A solid rocket strap-on motor powered the Atlas V’s Centaur upper stage to transport the Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Flight-4 satellite into orbit, the company said Friday.
Centaur gained an additional boost from the AJ-60A motor and had enough leftover fuel to dive into the ocean after the mission to prevent collision with a spacecraft in the orbital environment.
“As space becomes increasingly congested, it is important to recognize propulsion systems play an important role in supporting efforts to minimize orbital congestion that otherwise could hamper future operations,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne president and CEO.
Aerojet Rocketdyne also supplied the RL10C-1 upper-stage engine for Centaur and helium pressurization tanks for both stages of Atlas V.
The SBIRS GEO Flight-4 satellite will use 18 Aerojet Rocketdyne hydrazine thrusters to stay in the right orbit and orientation throughout its mission, which could last for up to 12 years or more.
The SBIRS constellation works to deliver missile defense, battlespace awareness and intelligence gathering support to the U.S. military.