The newest rocket engine built by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will power the Jan. 19 launch of a Delta IV rocket carrying a military satellite as its payload.
The launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station of the Wideband Global SATCOM communications satellite is the first of 11 scheduled missions in 2012 for the Canoga Park-based engine manufacturer.
The RS-68 engine on the booster stage was developed and built in the Valley and has been used on 17 flights with 100 percent success rate, said Steve Bouley, vice president, launch vehicle & hypersonic systems.
“It was done specifically for the Delta IV vehicle and commercially financed by The Boeing Company,” Bouley said.
Boeing owned Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne until selling the division in 2005 to United Technologies.
The upper stage of the Delta IV is powered by a RL10B-2 engine that has a history dating back to the late 1950s. The engine has been used 450 times, Bouley said.
The engine maker is pushing on making its products affordable for government missions, Bouley said.
“The government is challenged on the budget side and the (U.S.) Air Force has to make decisions on its procurements,” Bouley said. “We are working on affordability so the government gets the best solution on those procurements.”