Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Up for Sale by Parent UTC

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WASHINGTON — United Technologies Corp. (UTC) of Hartford, Conn., said March 15 it intends to sell its rocket-propulsion business, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

In a press release, UTC said Rocketdyne, along with four other UTC businesses, now “are treated as held for sale and have been moved to discontinue operations in UTC’s financial statements.”

The release did not identify a buyer for Rocketdyne, which UTC bought from Boeing Co. of Chicago in 2005.

UTC said selling Rocketdyne will help finance its acquisition of aerospace systems and services vendor Goodrich Corp., Charlotte, N.C. Goodrich shareholders approved the takeover March 13.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne specializes in rocket propulsion and space power systems. Based in Canoga Park, Calif., with major facilities in West Palm Beach, Fla., the company makes the RL-10 upper-stage engines used on United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets as well as the  Delta 4’s RS-68 main engine.

Rocketdyne is also working on the J-2X upper-stage engine for NASA’s planned heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS). NASA has scheduled two SLS flights so far: one in 2017 and one in 2021. Neither mission calls for an SLS stack that includes a J-2X.

The possible sale of Rocketdyne, whose business suffered following the retirement of NASA’s space shuttle, has been rumored for months. Rocketdyne built and maintained the main engines used on the space shuttle fleet.