Home >> News: March 19th, 2017 >> Story
Satnews Daily
March 19th, 2017

Aerojet Rocketdyne Gets All Fired Up ... Engine Launches WGS-9 for USAF

The dynamic team once again worked together to achieve the goal of a perfect launch of United States Air Force's WGS-9 satellite on ULA's Delta IV rocket, which was fired up with Aerojet Rocketdyne's engine. Below is the company's statement regarding the launch.

SACRAMENTO, California, March 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc., a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), played a major role in successfully launching and placing the ninth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS-9) spacecraft into orbit for the U.S. military. The mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems included the RS-68A booster engine, the RL10B-2 upper-stage engine, 14 helium pressurization tanks, and a 100 lbf bipropellant apogee-raising engine aboard the WGS-9 spacecraft.

Rocketyne's RS-68A booster engine firing test.

“The WGS satellites provide critical communication capabilities for our nation’s warfighters,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “We are honored that our propulsion systems are called upon to place these critical payloads into orbit – payloads that will help protect our nation and allied forces.”

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s role in the launch began when a single RS-68A engine ignited to boost the Delta IV off the pad, providing 702,000 pounds of lift-off thrust. The RS-68A is the world’s most powerful liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine. The RS-68 family of engines has now flown 35 commercial and government missions with 100 percent mission success.

After the upper stage separated from the launch vehicle, a single RL10B-2 upper-stage engine ignited to place the payload into orbit. The RL10B-2 delivers 24,750 pounds of thrust to power the Delta IV upper stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.

The RL10B-2 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. ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, manufactures the pressure vessels on the first and second stages of the launch vehicle.

Once separated from the launch vehicle, WGS-9 will perform multiple burns on Aerojet Rocketdyne’s High Performance Apogee Thruster (HiPAT™) rocket engine to complete the orbit raising from Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit to its final geosynchronous orbital position. The HiPAT™ rocket engine has a 100 percent mission success track record spanning over 115 missions, including all WGS spacecraft.

The Boeing-built WGS satellites provide increased military communications capabilities for U.S. and allied forces deployed worldwide. They help support the exchange of information, execution of tactical command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.