Aerojet Rocketdyne has completed the assembly of the first AR1, a new rocket engine funded by the U.S. Air Force.
A partnership between small launch vehicle company Firefly Aerospace and propulsion developer Aerojet Rocketdyne, highlighted by Firefly’s potential use of Aerojet’s AR1 engine, also has more immediate benefits for the companies.
Firefly Aerospace on Oct. 18 said it is collaborating with Aerojet Rocketdyne to increase the performance of its upcoming Alpha launch vehicle, and is considering Aerojet Rocketdyne’s AR1 engine for a future launch vehicle.
Aerojet Rocketdyne says it’s committed to completing development of the AR1 rocket engine and is seeking potential partners for a new medium-class launch vehicle that could use the engine.
ULA finally selects BE-4 engine for Vulcan, marking an anticlimactic victory for Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin (and another disappointment for Aerojet Rocketdyne).
United Launch Alliance announced Sept. 27 that it has selected Blue Origin to provide the main engine for its next-generation Vulcan launch vehicle, a decision long expected by the industry.
With growing doubts it will be selected by United Launch Alliance for its Vulcan rocket, Aerojet Rocketdyne is looking to smaller launch vehicles as potential customers for its AR1 engine.
"It doesn't necessarily mean buying a company. It could be buying a product line. It could be buying a portion of a business that fits with us. We want to make sure that it's strategic."
Aerojet Rocketdyne and the U.S. Air Force have revised an existing agreement supporting development of a new large rocket engine to include work on an updated version of an upper stage engine.
The U.S. Air Force and Aerojet Rocketdyne are working to revise an agreement to support development of the company's AR1 rocket engine, as questions continue about the engine's long-term future.
Aerojet Rocketdyne’s success in developing AR1, an engine designed to replace Russian-made RD-180 engines on United Launch Alliance rockets, hinges in part on its use of Mondaloy, a nickel-based superalloy invented in the 1990s by metallurgists Monica Jacinto.
ASRC of Beltsville, Md., has test fired a subscale propellant injector built via additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, paving the way for a version that will be able to support whichever engine United Launch Alliance chooses to replace the Russian-built RD-180 on the Atlas 5 rocket.
Research and development (R&D) costs for the AR1 rocket from the program’s inception through June 30 have reached about $228 million, according to recent Security Exchange Commission (SEC) filings by Aerojet Rocketdyne, the engine's manufacturer.
An independent assessment of rocket engine development delivered to a House committee last week has concluded that Blue Origin remains well ahead of Aerojet Rocketdyne despite a recent testing setback.
Air Force leaders didn't definitively say if they'll cut off funding, but said they're more interested in launch services than engines.