SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, provided its solid rocket boosters to the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle for the inaugural launch of the U.S. Navy's five-satellite Mobile User Object System (MUOS). Built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), MUOS is a next-generation narrowband tactical satellite communications system that will significantly improve ground communications for U.S. forces on the move.
Five Aerojet AJ60 Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) ignited at lift-off, increasing the launch thrust of ULA's Atlas V rocket by more than 1.9 million pounds. All Atlas V launches requiring extra boost performance have flown Aerojet-produced SRBs. These motors have demonstrated a 100 percent success record in flight, having flown 15 missions over the past 10 years with vehicle configurations ranging from one to five SRBs.
Eight Aerojet retro rockets also assisted with the Atlas Centaur separation from the launch vehicle approximately 4.5 minutes into flight. In addition, 12 Aerojet monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters on the Atlas V Centaur upper stage provided roll, pitch and yaw control as well as settling burns for the upper stage main engine. Once separated from the launch vehicle, MUOS will use 12 0.2 lbf and six 5 lbf Aerojet thrusters for in-flight maneuvers and final de-orbit."Aerojet propulsion is trusted to not only assist with launching such a critical satellite, but also to delivering it to its final orbital destination," said Aerojet Vice President of Space and Launch Systems, Julie Van Kleeck. "Helping ensure the success of the launch and a payload that supports the safety and helps promote the success of our nation's warfighters is an inspiration for the entire team." The Navy Communications Satellite Program Office (PMW 146) is responsible for the MUOS program. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company is the MUOS prime contractor and lead system integrator.