Valley Engine Maker Giving Lift to New NASA RocketWednesday, September 14, 2011
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will supply the main engine and upper stage engine for the new rocket proposed by NASA to take humans on deep space missions.
The space agency announced Sept. 14 it would move forward with the heavy one-time use rocket to carry the manned Orion capsule, cargo, equipment and science experiments.
The rocket, officially named the Space Launch System, is the first exploration-class vehicle since the Saturn V rocket that took U.S. astronauts to the moon during the Apollo program.
Canoga Park-based Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will develop, manufacture and test the main engine and the upper stage engine.
The company based the main engine for the Space Launch System on the design of the main engine used on the Space Shuttle.
For the upper stage engine, Pratt & Whitney updated the J-2X engine used on the Saturn V.
The company was pleased that NASA selected engine designs with 100 percent mission success, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne President Jim Maser said in a prepared statement.
“We remain committed to partnering with NASA on cost-effective solutions that bring capabilities on line as quickly and efficiently as possible, while engaging our vital engineering skills to keep the country’s industrial base strong,” Maser said.
NASA anticipates a first mission for the new rocket at the end of 2017.