Aerojet Engine Helps Launch GRAIL Lunar Mission
- Company's thrusters to assist twin spacecraft with lunar orbit insertion
Under contract to United Launch Alliance, Aerojet's AJ10 hypergolic engine provided 10,000 lbs. of thrust during today's launch of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission. The mission will fly twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon to learn more about its geologic composition and also provide a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system were formed.
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Aerojet's AJ10 engines have been used on all 150 Delta II missions to date and have achieved a 100 percent success rate. The engines have supported numerous launches of critical NASA and military missions including the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, as well as the United States Air Force Global Positioning System (GPS) Block IIR fleet.
Aerojet also provided propulsion components to GRAIL. Each of the two GRAIL spacecraft carries a monopropellant hydrazine gas generator that feeds its attitude control system and a larger thruster for major maneuvers including lunar orbit insertion.
"The AJ10 engine and our thrusters are flight-critical components of this exciting lunar investigation," said Vice President of Space and Launch Systems, Julie Van Kleeck. "We are proud that our products are trusted to be a part of this exploration initiative and look forward to seeing the great science that will come from this mission."
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Source : Aerojet