Four Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines collectively provide two million pounds of thrust to power the core stage of SLS, making it the world’s most powerful rocket
FREMONT, CA: American rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer, Aerojet Rocketdyne, completed all of its propulsion hardware for the first crewed flight of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft. The engines and motors produced by Aerojet will support NASA’s Artemis II mission. The Artemis II mission is the second flight of SLS and Orion and the first to send an astronaut crew to fly around the Moon.
“These are very exciting times for both NASA and the nation,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “The United States is sending humans beyond low Earth orbit for the first time in nearly 50 years, and we are traveling even farther with Artemis than we did with Apollo.”
Four Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines collectively provide two million pounds of thrust to power the core stage of SLS, making it the world’s most powerful rocket. Aerojet completed upgrading the Artemis II RS-25 engines with advanced components and controllers in November 2019. The engine assembly and testing were completed at the company’s facility at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, and all four engines are ready for integration with the Artemis II core stage.
“The Artemis II mission will be the first time the Space Launch System and Orion will send astronauts into orbit around the Moon, and it is a key precursor to landing the first woman and the next man on the Moon,” added Drake. “Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems will play a critical role in making this endeavor a reality.”
Aerojet’s RL10 engine powers the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS), or the second stage, of the SLS. This engine provides the power to accelerate the Orion spacecraft to speeds over 24,000 miles per hour and set it on a course for the Moon. The design, manufacture, assembly, and testing of the RL 10 engine for Artemis II took place at Aerojet Rocketdyne’s West Palm Beach facility in Florida. The engine is ready for installation on the ICPS being manufactured by Boeing and United Launch Alliance in Decatur, Alabama. Aerojet also provides several propulsion systems for the Lockheed Martin-built Orion crew module and the European Service Module that will be used on the Artemis II mission. The biggest of these is the jettison motor which generates 40,000 pounds of thrust for the Launch Abort System (LAS).