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Aerojet Rocketdyne tapped for spacecraft's crew module propulsion

A propulsion systems for the crew module of a spacecraft is to be developed and produced by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

By Richard Tomkins
Aerojet Rocketdyne tapped for spacecraft's crew module propulsion
Test version of Boeing's CST-100 crew module at the company's Houston Product Support Center in Texas. NASA photo by Robert Markowitz

SACRAMENTO, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- A propulsion system for a crew service module for a spacecraft is to be designed, developed, qualified and produced by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

The company said the work comes under a sub-contract from Boeing and continues the work performed for Boeing under previous awards.

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The Commercial Crew Transportation Capability, or CCtCap, sub-contract for the Crew Space Transportation-100 Starliner service module propulsion system is worth nearly $200 million.

The capsule will take astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

According to the company, the Starliner propulsion system system will provide launch-abort capability on the pad and during ascent. It will also provide all propulsion needs during a nominal flight, including during launch-vehicle separation, docking and undocking from the ISS, and through separation of the crew and service modules when the spacecraft begins to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.

During re-entry, monopropellant thrusters from the company will provide the crew module propulsion.

"The Starliner abort propulsion system is designed to quickly 'push' a crew capsule toward safety if an abort is necessary," Aerojet Rocketdyne said. If unused for an abort, the propellant is then used to complete the spacecraft's nominal mission."

Aerojet Rocketdyne will provide Boeing with seven shipsets of hardware with options for additional shipsets under the CCtCap contract. Each shipset will include four Launch Abort Engines, 24 Orbital Maneuvering and Attitude Control engines, 28 Reaction Control System engines, 164 valves, 12 tanks and more than 500 feet of ducts, lines and tubing.

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The CST-100 is scheduled to deliver astronauts to the ISS for NASA beginning in 2017.

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