Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc., announced it completed a key design milestone for its AR1 rocket engine this week. AR1 is an American-made engine that is being developed as a direct replacement for the Russian-made RD-180 engines that currently power launches of the majority of national security satellites to orbit for the U.S. government.
“This is one of the most important design reviews the program will undergo during its development,” said Julie Van Kleeck, vice president of Advanced Space & Launch Programs at Aerojet Rocketdyne. “As the only company domestically producing large liquid rocket engines, we apply rigorous design reviews as part of our overall development program, minimizing risk and helping ensure that we will meet the delivery schedule on a program of such national significance as AR1.”
“United Launch Alliance and Aerojet Rocketdyne have enjoyed a long relationship that spans decades,” said United Launch Alliance President and CEO, Tory Bruno. “Aerojet Rocketdyne continues to be a valued supplier and is making excellent progress on the AR1 engine development.”
Aerojet Rocketdyne’s stringent design, model, test and review process is essential for an engine developed to launch our nation’s most important national security space assets. During this design review, each of the 18 components and subsystems on the AR1 engine were thoroughly analyzed to ensure that each works properly and that once integrated, will function together seamlessly. With this review successfully completed, the company will continue with AR1 development in preparation for full-scale engine testing in 2017, and delivery of a flight-qualified engine ready for certification by 2019.
To date, AR1 has undergone more than 155 staged-combustion tests, built and successfully hot-fire tested additively manufactured components, conducted turbomachinery and valve tests, and began procurements for long-lead items.
“Our experience and proven track record of delivering highly reliable large liquid rocket engines, like the RS-25 for NASA’s Space Launch System and the RS-68 for the Delta IV launch vehicle, protects U.S. national security,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “We have achieved every milestone in our AR1 schedule to be ready for 2019 – we have in place the production facilities, tools, equipment, supply base and, most importantly, highly skilled employees to manufacture the AR1 engine to meet the national security needs of our nation.”