Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's Space Shuttle Main Engines Power Delivery of Science Equipment and Supplies to the International Space Station
Three Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) today successfully powered the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on Mission STS-131 to deliver science equipment and supplies that will allow astronauts to better study Earth. The SSME is the only fully reusable high-performance rocket engine rated for human space flight. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.
Discovery, with a crew of seven, launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on the 33rd flight to the International Space Station (ISS) for a mission that will include three spacewalks to replace an ammonia coolant tank, change a gyro assembly and retrieve an external Japanese experiment. Astronauts will install MARES, a Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System, so they can assess the strength of their muscles in space. They will also install a window observational research facility, which will allow crew members to better study global climates, land and sea formations and weather damage with the use of cameras, multispectral and hyperspectral scanners, camcorders and sensors.
"The performance of our three Space Shuttle Main Engines was excellent," said Jim Paulsen, SSME program manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "We're honored to help deliver crew and equipment to the ISS that will allow astronauts to determine how microgravity affects their health, and to take appropriate countermeasures to prevent muscle atrophy while in space."
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines.
Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and commercial building industries.