Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Helps Boost Twin Satellites to Study the Moon
CANOGA PARK, Calif., Saturday, September 10, 2011
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne today demonstrated its continued support of NASA and space exploration by successfully boosting the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft, which scientists will use to unlock the mysteries of the Moon. The mission launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket with a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-27A engine. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company.
"The RS-27A performed with the reliability for which it earned its reputation," said Elizabeth Jones, RS-27A program manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "We're proud of the role the RS-27A engine is playing in helping scientists better understand Earth and other planets in the solar system, and we look forward to working with NASA on future missions."
The RS-27A, a liquid-oxygen/kerosene engine system that has flown without failure 236 times since its first flight in 1974, continues Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's legacy of building numerous, reliable liquid-oxygen/kerosene propulsion systems, including the Saturn program's F-1 and H-1 engines; the Atlas MA-3, MA-5 and MA-5A engines; and the predecessor to the RS-27, the Thor MB-3 engine.
GRAIL consists of twin lunar-bound spacecraft that will fly in tandem orbits around the moon for several months to measure its gravity field, from its crust to core, in unprecedented detail. The mission will also answer longstanding questions about the moon, and provide scientists with a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.
In addition to manufacturing the RS-27A, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is developing the J-2X engine to power NASA's next era of human spaceflight. The engine is being tested under a development contract awarded by NASA and is designed to power the upper stage of a heavy-lift launch vehicle in anticipation of NASA's next era of human spaceflight.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, 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 Rocketdyne is headquartered in Canoga Park, Calif., and has facilities in Huntsville, Ala.; Kennedy Space Center, Fla.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Stennis Space Center, Miss; and Carlstadt, N.J. For more information about Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, go to www.prattwhitneyrocketdyne.com.
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.