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Mon, Apr 04, 2011

Aerojet Completes Acceptance Testing On First MR-104G Engine

Program Supports NASA's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle

Vibration and hot fire acceptance testing has been completed on the first development MR-104G mono-propellant rocket engine planned for use on NASA's Orion Crew Module (CM). The engine is being developed by Aerojet in conjunction with Lockheed Martin and NASA. Twelve of the 160-lb. thrust MR-104G engines, arranged in four single-engine pods and four dual-engine pods, provide the full complement of primary and redundant control required for critical maneuvers upon re-entry into the atmosphere.

Photo Courtesy AeroJet

Completion of the MR-104G acceptance testing was a critical milestone in the development of the Orion crew module propulsion system. This verification engine will be used to demonstrate Orion-specific performance and life requirements in support of the spacecraft's initial orbital flight.

The acceptance test successfully demonstrated several new design features for the MR-104 engine including a newly developed 120 volt series-redundant propellant valve, a 120 volt/40 watt catalyst bed heater, a new chamber pressure transducer and an integral thruster mount configuration. Aerojet completed these modifications to support Orion's shock and vibration environment requirements.

The MR-104 engine family originally provided in-space propulsion for the Voyager 1 and 2 and Magellan missions. Subsequent MR-104 variants provided propulsion for Landsat and NOAA as well as for other U.S. government programs. "This testing success is a culmination of great teamwork on the design and risk reduction efforts," said Aerojet Orion Program Manager, Kim Wierenga. "It is exciting to reach a point where Aerojet is verifying several new design features that enable this thruster to fly on Orion's first flight."

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion crew exploration vehicle, which is being developed as the nation's next generation spacecraft for future human exploration throughout our solar system. Aerojet is part of the nationwide Orion industry team led by Lockheed Martin, which includes five major subcontractors and a nationwide network of minor subcontractors and small businesses across the country.



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