Rocket engines made by Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AJRD), continues the New Year with the successful placement of the last in a block of 12 Global Positioning Systems (GPS IIF) navigation satellites into orbit for the U.S. Air Force. This last mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion included an RL10C-1 upper-stage engine, six helium pressurization tanks and a dozen Centaur upper-stage thrusters used for roll, pitch, yaw and settling burns.

“Every launch is exciting but today’s mission caps nearly six years of Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion, successfully placing all 12 of these next-generation satellites into orbit,” said Ron Felix, vice president and general manager of the Space Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. “Our objective is always 100 percent mission success, and it’s an honor to know we have fulfilled that promise each and every time – not just with the first GPS Block IIF satellite placed into orbit in May 2010, but with each GPS spacecraft placed into orbit since the inception of the program in the late 1970s.”

“The placement of the next-generation 12-satellite GPS IIF constellation into orbit is now complete, providing critical navigational services to commercial and civilian users worldwide, as well as to the U.S. military, which depends on the satellites to keep troops and allied forces safe,” said Peter Cova, acting vice president of Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. “We’re proud to know our propulsion—and the men and women at Aerojet Rocketdyne who designed and developed it—played a key role in making these enhanced navigation capabilities a reality for everyone who uses them.”

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s role in the launch began after separation of the first stage, when a single RL10C-1 upper-stage engine ignited to place the payload into orbit, helped by the Centaur thrusters and pressurization tanks. The RL10C-1 engine delivers 22,890 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V upper stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants during its operation. ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, provides the pressure vessels on the first and second stages on the launch vehicle. In addition, the GPS satellite, built by the Boeing Company in El Segundo, California, includes a pair of Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems that are used periodically to keep the satellites in their proper orbits and to eventually decommission them.

The IIF satellites are designed to improve navigational accuracy for civil, commercial and defense applications worldwide. They feature more capability and improved mission performance, including predicted signal accuracy that is two times greater than heritage satellites; a 12-year lifespan that provides longer service and reduced operating costs; and a military signal that has better resistance to jamming in hostile conflict areas.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is an innovative company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense markets. The company is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne can be obtained by visiting our websites at and