Large Innovation in a Small Southern Town: Building Northrop Grumman’s OmegA

Iuka employees take pride in over a 20 year legacy of producing large composite launch vehicle structures. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

IUKA, Miss. (Northrop Grumman PR) — In a small Mississippi town, a group of scientists and engineers recently gathered to discuss their next project: building large aerospace composite structures for Northrop Grumman’s new OmegA rocket. OmegA is being designed to launch the U.S. Air Force’s most critical spacecraft for U.S. national security missions.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Successfully Tests Re-generatively Cooled, 3D Printed RL-10 Thrust Chamber

A re-generatively cooled, 3-D printed thrust chamber assembly for the next generation of RL10 rocket engines undergoes hot-fire testing at Aerojet Rocketdyne’s facility in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., June 13, 2018 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne recently achieved a significant milestone by successfully completing a series of hot-fire tests of an advanced, next-generation RL10 engine thrust chamber design that was built almost entirely using additive manufacturing; commonly known as 3-D printing.

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Masten Space Systems Selected for NASA SBIR Phase 1 Award

Masten Space Systems of Mojave will pursue a project designed to better use additive manufacturing (AM) in the production of rocket engines with the help of NASA funding.

The space agency selected the company’s PermiAM project for funding under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 program. The contract is worth as much as $125,000 over 13 months.

“Part of the work performed in this SBIR will help in determine the potential savings for future engine development programs, currently projected at 10x for injector build cost savings which require face cooling,” the project summary stated.

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United Launch Alliance Selects Aerojet Rocketdyne’s RL10 Engine for Next-generation Vulcan Centaur Upper Stage

Commerical Crew Program (CCP) astronauts visit Aerojet Rocketdyne to see engine test. (Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

CENTENNIAL, Colo., May 11, 2018 (ULA PR) – United Launch Alliance (ULA) today announced Aerojet Rocketdyne as a strategic partner for the RL10 upper stage engine for ULA’s next-generation Vulcan Centaur rocket following a competitive procurement process.

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Orbital ATK Unveils OmegA Rocket

OmegA rocket (Credit: Orbital ATK)

DULLES, Virginia, 16 April 2018 (Orbital ATK PR) — During the 34th annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today provided a detailed update on the important progress being made on its Next Generation Launch System.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Successfully Tests Full-Scale 3-D Printed RL10 Thrust Chamber

Aerojet Rocketdyne recently completed successful hot-fire testing of a full-scale, additively manufactured thrust chamber assembly for the RL10 rocket engine at its West Palm Beach, Florida facility. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 03, 2017 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD) has successfully hot-fire tested a full-scale, additively manufactured thrust chamber assembly for the RL10 rocket engine that was built from a copper alloy using selective laser melting (SLM) technology, which is often referred to as 3-D printing.

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RL-10 Engine Tested for Boeing CST-100 Starliner Flight

Steam billows from the engine test stand as the RL10 engine fires. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)
Steam billows from the engine test stand as the RL10 engine fires.
(Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

By Steven Siceloff
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A trio of NASA astronauts watched last Friday as engineers and technicians from Aerojet Rocketdyne fired one of the RL10 engines that will help power the first crewed flight test of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner as it flies into orbit on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Successfully Tests Complex 3-D Printed Engine Injector

aerojet_rocketdyne
SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 07, 2016 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), marked another major milestone in its ongoing effort to incorporate additive manufacturing technology into its products by completing a series of successful hot-fire tests of its RL10 upper-stage rocket engine. The RL10 development engine, dubbed XR708, included a core main injector built using additive manufacturing technology, often referred to as 3-D printing.

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The Year in Commercial Space 2014 (Part II)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)
Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Second of 2 Stories

It was a busy year for a number of commercial space companies. While most of them made considerable progress, the news wasn’t all good.

A Dream Deferred

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) had a pretty rough year, losing out on two major contracts and laying off more than 100 employees.

On a Friday in May, just as everyone was preparing for the long Memorial Day weekend, Virgin Galactic announced it was dumping the hybrid rubber motor SNC developed for SpaceShipTwo in favor of a hybrid nylon one produced by Scaled Composites.

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Space Access Society Update

Earth_from_space_graphic
Space Access Update #136 7/27/14
Copyright 2014 by Space Access Society

In this Issue:

– Bill Gaubatz
– Experienced Engineering Teams And US Space Launch Development Policy
– SLS Sole-Sourcing
– 2014 Space Politics: Halftime Report

  • Senate Appropriations Impasse, Other Legislation
  • Commercial Crew & Cargo at Crossroads
  • Defense Launch & Propulsion Politics

– Supporting Space Access

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U.S. Launch Companies at Crossroads in 2014

Cygnus is released from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)
Cygnus is released from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Part 2 of 2

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

Editor’s Note: In Part 1, we took a look at the highly successful year that all three U.S. launch providers had in 2013.  Today, we will look at the challenges ahead for each company.

Coming off a stellar year, each of America’s three launch providers — Orbital Sciences Corporation, SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) — finds itself in a distinctly different place and facing unique challenges. The coming year could begin to significantly remake the global launch market, with significant consequences for all three players and rival providers overseas.

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RL-10 Anamoly Remains Mystery as Launch Delays Lengthen

Aviation Week reports that investigators are still searching for the reason that an RL-10 engine experienced an under thrust on a Delta IV launch last month, nearly destroying a military GPS satellite.

The U.S. Air Force is not close to finding a root cause of a recent low-thrust problem in an RL10 upper stage engine made by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, and the service may further delay launch of its Orbital Test Vehicle-3 mission as well as NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System K spacecraft, says Air Force Space Command chief Gen. William Shelton.

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