With every successful launch comes an army of companies that lend their expertise to help achieve a positive outcome. Aerojet Rocketdyne was on hand to support the rocket that sent WorldView-4 skyward.
Statement From Aerojet Rocketdyne
Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), successfully supported the launch of WorldView-4, DigitalGlobe’s newest high-accuracy, high-resolution imaging satellite. The mission was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket today. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion on the Atlas V included the RL10C-1 upper-stage engine, six helium pressurization tanks and a dozen Centaur upper-stage Reaction Control System thrusters (RCS). For the WorldView-4 satellite, Aerojet Rocketdyne provides 12 MR-106L 5-lbf hydrazine rocket engines which provide all of the maneuvering and attitude control propulsion for the mission.
“High-resolution commercial satellite imagery plays a critical role in modern society, from helping to keep nations safe, to supporting disaster response efforts, to powering a wide range of location-enabled applications and services. We are proud to support the launch of WorldView-4 and its sophisticated technology, which millions of commercial users throughout the world will rely upon for years to come,” said Eileen Drake, president and CEO of Aerojet Rocketdyne.
Aerojet Rocketdyne's role in the launch began after separation of the first stage, when a single RL10C-1 upper-stage engine ignited to place the payload into orbit, helped by the Centaur 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 during its operation.
The RL10C-1 was developed from the RL10 family of upper-stage engines, which have accumulated one of the most impressive track records of accomplishments in the history of space propulsion. More than 470 RL10 engines have supported launches over the last 50 years, helping to place military, government and commercial satellites into orbit, and powering scientific space-probe missions to every planet in our solar system.
The 12 MR-106 series 6-9 lbf Centaur upper-stage hydrazine thrusters provide roll, pitch and yaw control, as well as settling burns. Aerojet Rocketdyne has flown more than 3,000 MR-106 series 6-9 lbf thrusters with 100 percent mission success. ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, provided the pressure vessels on the first and second stages of the launch vehicle.
WorldView-4 was built by Lockheed Martin and is owned and operated by DigitalGlobe. The satellite will orbit Earth every 90 minutes, traveling 17,000 miles per hour and capturing as much as 680,000 square kilometers of the Earth’s surface daily – the equivalent of the land area of Texas. The 12 MR-106L engines on the WorldView-4 satellite are located at the corners of the satellite to provide three-axis control, as well as maneuvering of the satellite. Each rocket engine is approximately the size of an average person’s hand and weighs less than 1.5 pounds.