Sacramento, Calif.-based Aerojet said April 19 it had completed a second series of vibration and altitude hot-fire tests of its 160-pound thrust monopropellant rocket engine planned for NASA’s Orion crewed spacecraft.

The current Orion crew module flight configuration includes a dozen Aerojet MR-104G engines operating at 160 pounds of thrust. During the test series, Aerojet demonstrated the engine’s ability to reach the 175 pounds of thrust that would be required in a launch-abort scenario.

Aerojet’s announcement follows a decision by U.S. President Barack Obama to redirect NASA’s Orion program to design and build a crew-escape variant of the capsule that would launch unmanned to the international space station and remain there to bring astronauts home in an emergency.


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