The successful insertion was achieved with a large geosynchronous telecommunications satellite, built by commercial satellite manufacturer, SSL, which was recently launched. The milestone will be commemorated by a ceremony at the company’s Redmond, Washington facility, with SSL officials in attendance.
The R-4D-15 HiPAT™ performs orbit-raising maneuvers for many of the world's communication satellite platforms. Variants of the R-4D have played critical roles in NASA missions such as Cassini’s exploration of Saturn and its moons; as well as the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency International Space Station re-supply vehicles.
“The model R-4D-15 HiPAT™ is the highest-performing rocket engine in its class,” said Warren Yasuhara, vice president of Space Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. “By offering a higher specific impulse than comparable engines, the HiPAT™ reduces the total amount of fuel required for the mission and allows spacecraft operators to trade propellant mass for high-value payload.”
The R-4D product line includes a series of liquid bipropellant engines that use the propellant combination of nitrogen tetroxide (MON-3) oxidizer and monomethylhydrazine (MMH) fuel. These propellants are storable at room temperature and do not require a separate ignition source, simplifying many higher-level integration issues while still providing high performance. The R-4D was originally developed as a thruster for the reaction control systems for the Apollo Service Module and the Lunar Excursion Module. The HiPAT™ is the fifth generation of the R-4D 100 lbf thrust class of liquid bipropellant engines and the second generation of high performance iridium/rhenium engines.
“This engine has incredible lineage,” said Steve Harper, Bipropellant Propulsion Product Line manager at Aerojet Rocketdyne. “Dating back to Apollo, Aerojet-Rocketdyne’s R-4D family of 100 lbf bipropellant engines holds an impressive record of 100 percent mission success throughout five decades of service in space.”
For additional information, please visit the Aerojet-Rocketdyne infosite at http://www.rocket.com/