A new joint venture called
Pratt & Whitney – Aerojet Propulsion Associates today was awarded a two-year,
$115 million NASA contract to develop booster engines in support of NASA’s
Space Launch Initiative (SLI) program — the first phase in building a new
space shuttle by 2010.

The joint venture is currently developing three booster engines (COBRA,
RLX and AJAX) to support NASA’s 2nd Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle
program, which is part of the SLI. This contract is for technology risk
reduction activities relative to the COBRA and RLX booster engines. The
initiative will identify the best technologies and engine(s) to achieve the
safety and reliability goals required for highly reliable, low-cost reusable
launch vehicles.

“As a single, stable team with broad capabilities, we can capitalize on
our two companies’ unique strengths to develop liquid booster engines that
offer the best combination of safety, reliability, operability, performance
and cost-effectiveness,” said Rick Bachtel, director of the new joint venture.
“Our team is organized to bring the ‘best-of-the-best’ capability to develop
our products without regard to the company of origin.”

The joint venture between United Technology Corporation’s
Pratt & Whitney Liquid Space Propulsion and Aerojet-General Corporation was
formed in March 2001. The goal of the joint venture is to develop next-
generation, reusable liquid booster engines for NASA and also for the U.S. Air
Force’s Phase II Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology (IHPRPT)

COBRA is a single preburner, staged, combustion hydrogen engine in the
600,000-pound thrust class. RLX is a split expander, hydrogen engine in the
300,000-pound thrust class. AJAX is a U.S.-based single preburner, staged,
combustion hydrocarbon engine.

Pratt & Whitney is leading the development of the COBRA and RLX, while
Aerojet is leading the development of the AJAX. The two companies bring
complementary technical expertise to the partnership. Aerojet has a broad
range of expertise in engine cycles and combustion devices. Pratt & Whitney
has extensive experience in cryogenic engine technologies; advanced controls
and engine health management/maintenance systems; and safe, durable

“We are combining decades of mission-proven, liquid propulsion experience
into a strong partnership, as evidenced by this the team’s advanced propulsion
concepts and this contract award,” said Russ Reavis, Aerojet vice president of

The joint venture is contractual, meaning it provides a single contractual
mechanism for customers. Pratt & Whitney is the managing partner and will
provide contractual and financial staff for the joint venture. The work for
any contract awarded to the joint venture will be divided between Aerojet’s
and Pratt & Whitney’s separate work sites. The two companies will continue to
compete separately for contracts and programs outside the joint venture.

Aerojet, a GenCorp company, is a world-recognized aerospace and defense
leader principally serving the space electronics, missile and space
propulsion, and smart munitions and armaments markets. Aerojet’s web site
address is http://www.aerojet.com.

Pratt & Whitney Space Propulsion, a leader in the propulsion industry,
includes liquid rocket and hypersonic propulsion at Liquid Space Propulsion,
located at West Palm Beach, Fla.; solid rocket propulsion at Chemical Systems
Division, located at San Jose, Calif.; Russian RD-180 rocket engines from RD
AMROSS LLC., located at West Palm Beach, Fla.; and automated spray systems and
services at Advanced Systems Technology, located at Huntsville, Ala. P&W is a
unit of United Technologies Corporation of Hartford, Conn. P&W’s web site
address is http://www.Pratt-Whitney.com.