by Staff Writers
Sacramento CA (SPX) Aug 13, 2014
Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (GY) company, completed its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) commitment in support of Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft that will help open a new era of spaceflight and carry people to low-Earth orbit from American soil once again.
A CST-100 partner and team member since 2010, Aerojet Rocketdyne's CCiCap work continued the development of the service module and launch abort propulsion system from prior commercial crew contracts with Boeing.
"Over the past year, we've achieved major milestones that are paving the way for CST-100 to take flight," said Terry Lorier, Aerojet Rocketdyne's CST-100 service module propulsion system program manager.
"In total, during the CCiCap contract period of performance, Aerojet Rocketdyne conducted eight Launch Abort Engine (LAE), 49 Orbital Maneuvering and Attitude Control (OMAC) system and 33 Reaction Control System (RCS) hot fire tests, all of which helped mature the system design to position Aerojet Rocketdyne to be ready to move into qualification testing early in the next phase of the program."
The LAE is a pusher launch abort system that rapidly "pushes" a spacecraft toward safety if a launch abort is needed. If unused for an abort, the propellant and propulsion system are used to complete the spacecraft's nominal mission through separation of the crew module from the service module as it begins re-entry back into the Earth's atmosphere.
"The LAE test series saw the engine successfully operate at twice its mission life, producing 39,700 pounds force thrust," said Lorier. "The four LAEs are derived from proven hardware based on heritage designs."
The CST-100 service module propulsion system provides integrated launch abort capability and all propulsion needs during flight from launch vehicle separation, docking and undocking with an orbiting space complex, and through separation of the crew and service modules when the spacecraft begins re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
"There are 24 1,500-pound thrust class OMAC engines on the service module that provide low-altitude launch abort attitude control, maneuvering and stage separation functions, high-altitude direct abort capability and large orbital maneuvers," said Lorier. "The OMAC engines are based on Aerojet Rocketdyne small engine development and production hardware."
The 28 100-pound thrust class RCS engines are adapted from a similar engine design currently in production. These engines provide high-altitude abort attitude control, on-orbit low delta-v maneuvering functions and space station re-boost capability.
Boeing is advancing the design of its CST-100 spacecraft to compete as a commercial transport vehicle to the International Space Station and other future low-Earth orbit destinations. Aerojet Rocketdyne performed the CST-100 service module propulsion system work at its Los Angeles, California and Carlstadt, New Jersey facilities.
"Under its fixed-price CCiCap contract with Boeing, Aerojet Rocketdyne is leveraging proven hardware to deliver an affordable and sustainable propulsion system that can be counted on to perform throughout the spacecraft's mission," said Lorier.
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