Aerojet Rocketdyne Role in ULA Launch of SBIRS Satellite Includes Debris Minimization
The launch of the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite 4 (GEO Flight-4) aboard a
The added power from the single AJ-60A reduced the amount of fuel needed by the rocket's Centaur upper stage to place the Lockheed Martin-built SBIRS GEO Flight-4 satellite into its proper transfer orbit. Once the satellite separated, the Centaur had sufficient fuel left over to propel itself into the ocean, so that it will not pose a collision threat to spacecraft in an increasingly congested orbital environment.
"As space becomes increasingly congested, it is important to recognize propulsion systems play an important role in supporting efforts to minimize orbital congestion that otherwise could hamper future operations," said
The Centaur is powered by Aerojet Rocketdyne's RL10C-1 upper-stage engine, which generates 22,890 pounds of thrust. Variants of the RL10 have been in service for more than 50 years on multiple vehicles, including ULA's current Delta IV, which is used along with the Atlas V to launch the vast majority of
Both stages of the Atlas V used
Aerojet Rocketdyne's propulsion products were not limited to the launch vehicle. The SBIRS GEO Flight-4 satellite is equipped with 18
"The SBIRS satellites help safeguard the nation's homeland and deployed forces against the threat of ballistic missile attacks. It is critical to have reliable propulsion systems on every satellite to ensure they maintain a watchful eye and are able to detect a threat at a moment's notice," added Drake.
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