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Sun, Aug 14, 2011

Testing Continues On Human-Rated Launch Vehicles

Aerojet's Upper Stage Engine Technology Hydrogen Turbopump Achieves 100 Percent Operational Speed

Aerojet said Thursday it has successfully tested a state-of-the-art Upper Stage Engine Technology (USET) Hydrogen Turbopump Assembly (TPA) at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Edwards Air Force Base, CA.

Aerojet and its teammate, Florida Turbine Technologies Inc. (FTT), Jupiter, FL, designed, manufactured, assembled and delivered the turbopump assembly to the AFRL test facility and successfully demonstrated steady state operation at 100 percent power. The USET TPA has undergone 19 tests to date with testing scheduled to continue through the summer months.

The USET program is an AFRL Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology (IHPRPT) program that started in 2003 and is focused on the next generation of physics-based modeling and simulation design tools that will reduce design time, lower cost and increase fidelity for the next generation engine. The USET TPA was designed using this analytical capability while developing key technologies for insertion to a TPA for a new upper stage rocket engine that could replace the current Delta IV and Atlas V upper stage engines. Aerojet's USET TPA is designed for a 45,000 pound-force of thrust upper stage engine and operates at 90,000 rpm. It is about the size of a swimming pool pump.

"Our Aerojet/FTT team has developed the key analytical capability and technologies required for a next generation upper stage rocket engine. We've demonstrated and validated the models and technologies that will ensure an affordable program and much shorter development schedule than previously possible," said Linda Cova, executive director, Pump-Fed Engine Development programs at Aerojet. "An upper stage engine turbopump like this hasn't been successfully developed in decades."

FMI: www.Aerojet.com, www.GenCorp.com

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