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Atlas V Upper Stage, Placing Radiation Belt Storm Probes into Orbit

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Propulsion Powers Atlas V Upper Stage, Placing Radiation Belt Storm Probes into Orbit

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and RD AMROSS successfully propelled the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) mission into orbit, once again demonstrating the consistency and reliability of their rocket launch propulsion systems. The mission launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on 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. RD AMROSS LLC is a joint venture of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and NPO Energomash.

Built and managed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the RBSP includes two spacecraft designed to fly in elliptical orbits to study the planet’s radiation belts and help scientists better understand the sun’s influence on the Earth and near-Earth space. The mission is part of NASA’s Living with a Star Geospace program to explore fundamental processes that operate throughout the solar system, in particular those that generate hazardous space weather effects near the Earth and phenomena that could affect solar system exploration.

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.

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

Click here to read the United Launch press release.