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Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Propulsion Orbits Critical Communications Satellite for U.S. Military

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Video Credit: SpaceVidsNet via YouTube

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne upperstage propulsion successfully orbited the second in a series of Advanced Extremely High-Frequency (AEHF) communications satellites for the U.S. military, once again demonstrating the consistent reliability of its power and propulsion systems. The spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The Atlas V is powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 booster engine, and the upper-stage is powered by the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RL10 engine.

The AEHF is a joint service satellite communications system that will provide global communications for military troops within all services of the U.S. Department of Defense. The spacecraft will be used to relay highly secure and jam-resistant communications for the Armed Forces of the United States, the British Armed Forces, the Canadian Forces and the military of the Netherlands. When fully deployed, the system will consist of four spacecraft that travel in geostationary orbits.

The Atlas V Centaur upper-stage is powered by a single RL10A4-2 engine that delivers 22,300 pounds of thrust. The Atlas V Common Core booster is powered by the RD-180 engine and delivers nearly 1 million pounds of thrust. The RD-180 is the only liquid oxygen/kerosene-fueled engine with an oxygen-rich staged-combustion cycle flying in the United States today.

Click here to read Pratt & Whitney’s press release.

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