Aerojet Rocketdyne announced Feb. 12 that its Large Class 92″ diameter second stage solid rocket motor was successfully tested at simulated altitude conditions at the Arnold Engineering and Development Complex at Arnold AFB, Tenn.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is aGenCorp company.
The Large Class second stage was designed, fabricated and tested by Aerojet Rocketdyne for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Hill AFB, Utah, under a demonstration contract which required use of available technologies applicable to multiple future common strategic propulsion systems.
“This stage is a significant improvement over currently fielded systems,” said Tyler Evans, Aerojet Rocketdyne vice president, Rocket Shop(SM) defense advanced programs. “The application of this advanced design, using affordable materials and subsystems provided by our strong industrial base partnerships, will reduce future acquisition program costs and improve system reliability. These technologies are relevant across all Air Force and Navy missiles, whether for strategic deterrence, prompt strike or other applications, and they are key to sustaining the needs of the nation’s war fighters.”
Aerojet Rocketdyne leveraged the contract to sustain and improve the solid rocket motor industrial base, a critical national need recognized by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The company’s Rocket Shop(SM) staff created a stage design capable of being fielded for 35 years, a significant improvement over currently fielded ground-based systems. Affordability features were integrated into the design, including the use of low-cost propellant common to the solid rocket boosters already in production, and a domestically sourced nozzle exit cone material. The motor case was designed and fabricated at the General Dynamics facility in Lincoln, Neb., using domestically sourced carbon fiber. The thrust vector actuation system was fabricated by Honeywell Aerospace in Tempe, Ariz.
Aerojet Rocketdyne cast the motor and assembled the stage at its facility in Sacramento, Calif., using facilities optimized for affordable production. The test was developed and executed at AEDC in conjunction with the Aerospace Testing Alliance, the test facility’s operating contractor.