Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc., a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has helped to propel the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft on its seventh operational delivery flight under the NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract, transporting supplies and materials to the International Space Station.
The flight, Orbital ATK CRS-7, was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion included an RL10C-1 upper-stage engine; six helium pressurization tanks; 12 Centaur upper-stage thrusters used for roll, pitch, yaw and settling burns; and 32 MR-106M 7 lbf thrusters aboard the Cygnus.
Aerojet Rocketdyne's RL10C-1 upper-stage engine ignited after separation of the first stage to place the payload into orbit, helped by the Centaur Reaction Control System (RCS) thrusters and pressurization tanks. The RL10C-1 delivers 22,890 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V upper stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.
The RL10C-1 was developed from the RL10 family of upper-stage engines, which has accumulated one of the most impressive track records of accomplishments in the history of space propulsion. More than 475 RL10 engines have supported launches over the last 50 years, playing a vital role in placing military, government and commercial satellites into orbit, and powering scientific space probes on every interplanetary mission in our solar system.
The 12 MR-106 RCS thrusters are assembled in four rocket engine modules and provide pitch, yaw and roll control for the Centaur upper stage as well as settling burns prior to firing the RL10C-1 engine. ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, provides the pressure vessels on the first and second stages of the launch vehicle, as well as one pressure vessel on Cygnus.