Aerojet Rocketdyne (NYSE:AJRD) and NASA Stennis Space Center signed a Space Act Agreement for test services and test stand support of the AR1 multi-element pre-burner and main injector. Currently in development by Aerojet Rocketdyne, the AR1 engine is a replacement for the Russian-made RD-180 engines that power the Atlas V launch vehicle. This agreement builds on the current assembly and testing of the company’s RS-68 and RS-25 engines at NASA Stennis.

“This is another example of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s focus to maintain schedule for the United States to be able to have AR1 ready to fly in 2019, to keep our country on track to end dependence on Russian engines,” said Julie Van Kleeck, Aerojet Rocketdyne vice president of Advanced Space & Launch.

Under the agreement, the company will pay NASA Stennis to modify the E-1 complex, cell 1 test stand over a period of six months. The test stand will be configured to conduct AR1 staged combustion testing.

The AR1 engine uses two combustion devices: a pre-burner and a main injector/combustion chamber. These two devices operate in extreme temperature and pressure environments and are critical to the function of the engine. As part of the development path to full-scale testing, AR recently conducted subscale pre-burner hot-fire testing at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center using hardware fabricated via additive manufacturing that serves to reduce both cost and schedule for the production engine.

“We are using a stair step approach to eliminate the highest risk items first in our AR1 engine development program to ensure earliest possible delivery,” added Van Kleeck. “By incorporating additive manufacturing and other new processes, materials and techniques into our plan, we offer the Nation a timely, cost-efficient path to end reliance on the Russian engines.”

The AR1 engine provides 500,000 pounds of thrust and features advanced oxygen-rich staged combustion kerosene technology making it configurable to multiple U.S. launch vehicles.

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