Aerojet Rocketdyne Tests Reaction Control Thruster for Orion Crew Capsule; Eileen Drake Quoted

Eileen Drake

Aerojet Rocketdyne has concluded a test of a thruster system for NASA’s Orion spacecraft that will launch aboard the Space Launch System rocket as part of Exploration Mission-1.

The company said Monday it conducted the qualification test at its Redmond, Wash.-based facility to demonstrate the reaction control system’s capability to withstand shock and vibration as part of the unmanned EM-1 launch.

The non-flight EM-1 RCS thruster test engine underwent 962 seconds or 16 minutes of firing time and consumed 619 pounds of propellant during the yearlong test program.

RCS is composed of 12 MR-104G hydrazine thrusters and is designed to guide Orion’s re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere once the Lockheed Martin-built crew vehicle separates from the service module.

“Following our rigorous qualification testing program, we’re confident that this enhanced RCS system is ready to fly,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne president and CEO.

“The reaction control thrusters are critical to the Orion capsule’s safe return to Earth at the completion of EM-1 as well as future crewed missions.”

Aerojet Rocketdyne used 3D printing process to produce the nozzle extensions for the RCS engine and other components.

The company also provides the jettison motor and the upper- and main-stage liquid engines for the SLS rocket apart from the RCS thruster system.

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