Aerojet Rocketdyne played a central role in Wednesday morning’s launch of NASA’s heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket.
The Chatsworth location of the subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holding Inc. in El Segundo, supplied the four RS-25 core-stage engines that lifted off the SLS rocket from Launch Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida with the Orion spacecraft.
The RS-25 is a modified version of the Space Shuttle main engine that has been updated with new controllers and adapted for the new launch system.
Eileen P. Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne chief executive, congratulated NASA on bringing the world’s most powerful rocket into service.
“All of our propulsion systems, including the SLS first- and second-stage engines, performed magnificently today,” Drake said in a statement.
Dubbed Artemis I, the uncrewed Orion spacecraft will circle the moon in a 25-day mission that will conclude with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
As it continues its journey, Orion, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., will rely on Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems for maneuvering and orientation.
On the Orion service module, Aerojet provided the Orion Main Engine, which is a 6,000 pounds of thrust engine derived from the Space Shuttle’s Orbital Maneuvering System and eight auxiliary engines with heritage back to Apollo, according to a release from Aerojet.
On the crew module, Aerojet provided 12 reaction control thrusters that will control the crew module’s orientation for re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, the company’s release said.
The Artemis I mission is a national effort with contributions from Aerojet Rocketdyne sites located in Chatsworth; Sacramento; Redmond, Wash.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Stennis, Miss.; Carlstadt, N.J.; Huntsville, Ala.; Orange, Va.; and Camden, Ark.