Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne today demonstrated its ongoing commitment to national defense by boosting into orbit the U.S. military's first Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous satellite (SBIRS GEO 1) for early-warning missile detection. The mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The Atlas V is powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 booster engine, and the Centaur upper stage is powered by the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RL10 engine. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company. RD AMROSS LLC is a joint venture of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and NPO Energomash
"Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's commitment to 100 percent mission success was again demonstrated by the steadfast performance of the RL10 engine, which provided the upper-stage propulsion to boost this national security asset into space right on target," said Jim Maus, director, expendable propulsion programs, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.
"The RD-180 engine performed exactly as expected, boosting the launch vehicle on the proper trajectory for this important mission," said Tom Wonnell, president and CEO of RD AMROSS. "We congratulate United Launch Alliance on another successful launch."
SBIRS, considered one of the nation's highest priority space programs, is designed to provide global surveillance for early-detection missile warnings, missile defense and technical intelligence.
The Atlas V Centaur upper stage is powered by a single RL10A4-2 engine that delivers 22,300 pounds of thrust. The Atlas V Common Core booster is powered by the RD-180 engine and delivers nearly 1 million pounds of thrust. The RD-180 is the only liquid oxygen-kerosene fueled engine with an oxygen-rich staged-combustion cycle flying in the United States today.
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