Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Aerojet Wants to Take Over Atlas V Rocket Production, Use its AR-1 Rocket Engine

Rocket engine builder Aerojet Rocketdyne, in partnership with two other companies, is interested in obtaining the production and launch rights to United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket, currently the mainstay of the U.S. military fleet.

In theory, the consortium would use Aerojet’s AR-1 engine, currently in development, to replace the controversial Russian-made RD-180 engine used on the Atlas 5 today. The consortium includes Dynetics, the Huntsville, Alabama-based engineering company, and Shafer Corp., the Arlington, Virginia-based science and engineering contractor led by former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin.

Denver-based ULA said in a May 11 email to SpaceNews that the company has “no intention of selling or transferring” the Atlas 5 production rights, a move that would create a new competitor in the national security launch market.

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