Aerojet Rocketdyne's propulsion systems successfully did their jobs pushing ULA's NROL-47 skyward, on a secret mission for national security. The powerful RS-68A booster engine, the RL10B-2 upper-stage engine, 14 helium pressurization tanks, and 12 MR-106H 9 lbf hydrazine rocket engines on the upper stage.
Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc., a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), successfully supported the launch of a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. The mission, known as NROL-47, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems included an RS-68A booster engine, the RL10B-2 upper-stage engine, 14 helium pressurization tanks, and 12 MR-106H 9 lbf hydrazine rocket engines on the upper stage.
“The successful launch of a payload in support of our national security and that of allied forces demands the best propulsion systems available,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “Aerojet Rocketdyne employees across the country work hard to ensure 100 percent mission success, and our role in yet another launch for the National Reconnaissance Office demonstrates the trust and confidence in our propulsion.”
Aerojet Rocketdyne’s role in the launch began during liftoff when an RS-68A engine ignited to provide 702,000 pounds of lift-off thrust. The RS-68A is the world’s most powerful liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen booster engine.
After the upper stage separated from the launch vehicle, a single RL10B-2 engine ignited to provide 24,750 pounds of thrust to power the upper stage into orbit. 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 480 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 Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-106H monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters packaged in four modules on the Delta IV upper stage provided roll, pitch and yaw control as well as settling burns for the upper stage. ARDÉ, a subsidiary for Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, furnished 14 pressurant tanks for the vehicle.