- Parabolic Arc
- June 2, 2023
Aerojet Rocketdyne Established Advanced Propulsion Office in Huntsville
HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Sept. 16, 2014 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, announced today the establishment of the company’s Advanced Hydrocarbon Propulsion Development Office (AHPDO) in Huntsville, Alabama.
The facility will focus on delivering a 21st century advanced hydrocarbon rocket engine to the nation and the integration of the company’s ongoing hydrocarbon technology and development efforts. This development work will include the AR1 advanced large hydrocarbon rocket engine, the NASA Advanced Booster Engineering Demonstration Risk Reduction program, the U.S. Air Force Hydrocarbon Boost Technology Development program, along with internal Aerojet Rocketdyne research and development involving the company’s Bantam Engine family for lower thrust applications.
AHPDO will work toward bringing a new generation of globally competitive hydrocarbon rocket engines to the marketplace, by integrating the latest breakthroughs in 21st century materials, manufacturing and engineering with decades of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s pioneering work in advanced hydrocarbon large liquid rocket engines. Modern engine cycles, new materials and state-of-the-art additive manufacturing are some of the key focus areas. Low cost, yet high-performing and highly reliable engines are the expected product from this effort.
Rapid development and certification of AR1, an all-U.S. designed, developed and produced advanced hydrocarbon engine, manufactured to power America’s current and future national security launch vehicles, is a key focus for AHPDO. AR1 is expected to be a catalyst for U.S. launch providers to compete more effectively in the global commercial launch marketplace, as it is being designed to be affordable, reliable and high performing. The AHPDO office will integrate AR1 development and production activities across Aerojet Rocketdyne’s various sites. The company’s Los Angeles and Sacramento, California facilities will bring the nation’s most advanced large rocket engine engineering and specialized manufacturing expertise to AR1. Aerojet Rocketdyne’s additional manufacturing and assembly work from the West Palm Beach, Florida facility will support AR1 development. Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Stennis facility will be used for AR1 engine final assembly and could begin to test as early as 2017. In addition, main propulsion system final assembly is planned for the Decatur, Alabama area in conjunction with the company’s strategic industry partners.
The AR1 rocket engine represents the first advanced hydrocarbon large liquid rocket engine in development by Aerojet Rocketdyne since the merging of the two leading U.S. rocket propulsion companies, Aerojet and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, in June 2013.
“Our goal with this new Advanced Hydrocarbon Propulsion Development Office is nothing short of a renaissance in American rocket engine development,” said GenCorp President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Seymour. “AHPDO is exactly why just over one year ago we brought together America’s two top rocket engine companies, Aerojet and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. AHPDO will integrate the tremendous R&D and production capacity found across Aerojet Rocketdyne to provide America with an affordable world-class hydrocarbon engine.”
Huntsville, Alabama was selected as the home base of this 21st century R&D office due to the tremendous capability in the area and alignment with key government, academic and private sector organizations. A Huntsville base for this new advanced hydrocarbon propulsion development office aligns with several other national advanced liquid rocket engine activities, such as work with Aerojet Rocketdyne’s strategic partner, Dynetics, including NASA’s current risk reduction work for key components of this type of rocket engine; important production capacity provided by strategic partner, Teledyne Brown Engineering in Huntsville; and the ongoing efforts of the National Institute of Rocket Propulsion Systems.
According to Aerojet Rocketdyne President Warren M. Boley, Jr., “Making Huntsville home for this new advanced hydrocarbon propulsion development office is a logical extension of our company’s growing presence in the Huntsville community.”
Dr. Jerrol “Jay” Littles has been named to lead the new advanced hydrocarbon propulsion development office. Littles, a native of Huntsville, has been with Aerojet Rocketdyne in the Huntsville community for the past six years after working for Pratt & Whitney in West Palm Beach, Florida and East Hartford, Connecticut. He will work in close coordination with Gene Goldman, former acting NASA Marshall Space Flight Center director and Stennis Space Center director, who guides Aerojet Rocketdyne’s growth in the Southeastern United States.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader providing propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. GenCorp is a diversified company that provides innovative solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense, and real estate markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies’ websites at www.Rocket.com and www.GenCorp.com.
36 responses to “Aerojet Rocketdyne Established Advanced Propulsion Office in Huntsville”
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Senator Shelby will be happy about this and will be wanting to send them some work in the next session.
Personally, I wish that house GOP would not waste money on hydrocarbon engine design, but focus on nuclear engines.
It would be useful to have multiple companies doing this, since we already have other companies doing the other
Nuclear propulsion is a non-starter politically.
Project Timberwind and Project Promethus got a little funding but were both closed down before any real hardware got to fly.
I think the best we can hope for is RTG’s. The new Stirling Radioisotope Generator and the MMRTG’s are looking a lot better with double the effiecency.
Rtg are about heat and electricity for long periods.
But nuke engine does not have to be big. I think that if somebody developed a relatively small engine ( preferably that can scale ) would be a winner. It can push cargo to the moon and back, but also NASA could use them to send new long distant missions.
A large nuke engine would be hard to do politically, BUT a small thorium based one would fly.
Thorium is not itself a fission fuel, it’s fertile material for breeding fuel. Thorium reactors have to be large enough that the small fraction of bred uranium, plutonium, etc is enough to keep a chain reaction going and produce enough surplus neutrons to breed more. They are big and heavy, not a major problem for stationary power reactors but not suitable for rockets or spacecraft.
Thorium was to be used for usaf’s nuke plane. Ft. St brain’s reactors were half the size of comparable ur reactors.
Thorium is ideal for the engines, due to politics, until we get resources off world.
No it wasn’t. My only guess is you are confusing molten salt reactors with thorium reactors…molten salt reactors are a commonly proposed implementation of thorium reactors, but while they were the first molten salt reactors built, the aircraft reactors used highly enriched uranium.
Thorium reactors simply can not be half the size of uranium reactors. Thorium isn’t even fissile, thorium reactors need to breed U-233 and use *that* as both a fuel and a source of enough excess neutrons to continue breeding fuel. A thorium reactor is fundamentally a uranium reactor with a large quantity of thorium mixed into its fuel.
You are right about the aircraft (I was in a hurry and went with personal memory, which currently has issues).
The FSV was designed in late 60-70, and built in the 70s.
At the time, not only was the reactor much smaller than normal reactors, but they had a fraction of the shielding/containment. FSV worked awesome on the front end.
Sadly, GA screwed up the helium->water heat transfer, along with the alarm system, which ultimately lead to shutting it down early.
And yes, thorium is basically, a uranium reactor, but it requires relatively little uranium to get started (though less at start means that it takes longer to get excess heat) . As such, it is fine for long-term reactors.
By launching thorium, with a small amount of U, it should get us past the politicans.
Long term, high energy density reactors, sure. Not the short duration, high power density reactors needed for nuclear rockets. Thorium reactors would be more suitable for, say, a plant processing volatiles into chemical rocket fuel.
However, while they’d be suitable for such an application, they don’t have any major advantages in the near future. The technology is less mature, the minimum size is larger, and they’re no safer to launch than uranium reactors, an inactive reactor with fresh fuel of any sort is a negligible radiation hazard. There’s even an argument to be made that using enriched uranium in space reactors makes it unavailable for use in bombs.
Yes I know .. but eletrical generation and electrical propulsion go hand in hand. These are smaller units but it seems they fall under the radar more so than space reactors. There were only a couple hundred protestors for cassini and just a handful for curiousity.
Electrical propulsion an generation do go hand in hand. But, nuke electricity is to heavy for electrical propulsion. Until, we have fusion that emits beta, and a simple collector, nukes based electricity will remain way too heavy.
As such, it really only makes sense to have nuke propulsion, with electricity as a side feature.
Mr. Listner is correct. Politically there are some powerful members of congress who do not want anything nuke. They were against the restarting the pu production for the RTG’s, that is why were were buying it from Russia, I doubt they are selling us anymore.
Politicians come and go. The 2 worst against nukes was Kennedy and biden.
Both are gone.
And if somebody works with say upower, they might make an interesting reactor.
A lot more than them… President Obama could not get funding to restart the PU production in the 2011 budget, he only requested 25 million.
yeah, but, they gave 10 million in 2011, and then in 2012.
Things change as politicians change.
I really hope you correct, I really had hopes when Project Promethus was started but then Griffin side tracked the funding and once again .. nothing.
Yes but it was to a joint funding with the DOE and Congress refused to fund their half, it is my understanding by 2022 NASA will be hard pressed to fly past mars. Unless that is the whole point. Again I really would like to see nuclear options for space get funding. Especially propulsion.
Sorry, it’s not *size* that makes people freak (as the nonsense over Cassini’s RTG shows), it’s the *nuclear* part…
yes, but only a few ppl are freaked out by it.
What a mistake. They are following the others. I guess just chasing federal funds.
Far better for them to focus where others are not. In particular, implementations of their engines, or better yet, work on nuke engines.
Yeah, a few of you will say that they can not, yet the real issues are material science combined with engine design.
The real issue is nobody is going to fund a mission big enough to require a nuclear engine.
Actually, it would be interesting if someone would build a scaled-down version of the old NERVA engine for use as an upper stage on boosters like the Atlas V, Delta IV, Falcon 9, or Falcon Heavy. Having people who are hands-on familiar with nuclear thermal technology would be useful if a consensus were to be reached supporting a manned Mars mission at some time in the future, and even without it, using a scaled-down nuclear-thermal engine might be useful for planetary missions, especially to the outer planets. It might become the next-generation Centaur stage.
I prefer sending up a cold reactor and fuel pellets seperate and activate the reactor in lunar orbit.
Lunar orbit is pretty extreme – by that time, you have already expended a large part of the energy you need to expend to escape Earth’s gravity. I get that you don’t want it in a location where it would reenter the Earth’s atmosphere if everything goes south – but if it were assembled in MEO, it would allow enough time (decades) to recover the hardware if everything were to go south.
I only saw lunar to take away the politics, it would eliminate a lot of the anti nuke people’s argument.
What’s wrong with building an engine that is federally funded?
Nothing. But why have 3 companies doing the same thing , when better opportunities exist?
A nuclear engine will NOT happen……period!
I recall plenty of ppl proclaiming that spacex would never get a rocket and then even saying that they will not compete against other companies/nations.
Likewise, that electric cars could never compete against ice cars, nor would they ever slow down ice sales.
And yet, all is true.
So, why are u so certain that nuke engines will not happen.
Because just like human spaceflight, a nuclear rocket is not on the list of priorities for the U.S. Government been there done that and no private nuclear rocket will be built–at least not in the U.S. Too much risk, not enough payoff.
Don’t bet on it not being built
I think this is a good move, are you sure they’re following others? I don’t think anyone in the US is working on this particular engine type (RP-1 oxidizer-rich staged combustion), the Russians have perfected this, it would be a good idea for the US to learn how to build one. It would also be an alternative to BE-4, a little competition never hurts.
The new Aerojet Rocketdyne engine development is redundant with the SpaceX Raptor and the Blue Origin BE-4 already well into development. By the time AJR have anything ready, there will no customers left. Unless Shelby can keep the SLS going and get funding for a advance liquid booster. What a waste of resources.
Absolutely!. This is an engine and a development program without customers and without a rocket vehicle.
“AR1 is expected to be a catalyst for U.S. launch providers to compete more effectively in the global commercial launch marketplace,…”
Which US launch providers exactly?. Not ULA, Not Blue Origin, Not SpaceX. That leaves only Orbital/ATK. Sorry, but I don’t see Orbital competing “in the global commercial launch marketplace” against ULA/BO & SpaceX; not with this tech.
Even if OrbATK is going to replace the AJ26/NK-33 in their Antares launch vehicle. They need something they can get in about 3 to 4 years. So a candidate for the BE-4 or something from the RD-190 engine family. The AJR AR-1 is too far out in the future.