San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Rocketdyne Powers Satellite Launch

By Mark Madler Monday, February 11, 2013

Upper stage engines built by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne powered an Atlas V rocket launched Monday taking a satellite into orbit for use by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base north of Santa Barbara was the second this year for the Canoga Park-based rocket engine manufacturer.

The Atlas V carrying the Landsat Data Continuity Mission satellite used an RL10A-4-2 engine for the upper stage. The engine is propelled by liquid hydrogen and is a model based on rocket technology first developed by Pratt & Whitney in the late 1950s.

The RD-180 booster engine used for the launch was built by RD AMROSS LLC, a joint venture between Rocketdyne and NPO Energomash, a Russian company that builds rocket engines.

The satellite provides uninterrupted data and imagery of terrestrial and polar regions. The information is used for land-use planning; water-use monitoring, support of disaster response; and for study of climate, water and carbon cycles.

“We’re honored to help NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey acquire what will be some of the best data and imagery available of the Earth across the globe for use in agriculture, education, business and science,” said RD AMROSS Chief Executive and President Bill Parsons in a prepared statement.