Aerojet Delivers Final Orion EFT-1 Crew Module Reaction Control System Pod Assembly

Image Credit: NASA
Image Credit: NASA

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 8, 2013 — Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, announced today that the final Crew Module Reaction Control System (CM RCS) pod assembly for NASA’s Orion spacecraft’s Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) has arrived at the Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

Aerojet’s CM RCS pods will provide the full complement of primary and redundant control required for critical maneuvers upon a high-speed re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. This specific hardware will be integrated into the Orion spacecraft to support NASA’s EFT-1 mission, currently slated for 2014.

“We take our 100 percent mission success record seriously,” said Julie Van Kleeck, Aerojet’s vice president of Space and Launch Systems. “We put our heart into our products and the integration work at KSC will close more than three years of design and development activities in support of EFT-1.”

The two assemblies delivered now join six others already at KSC, including two pitch-up pods with a single rocket engine; two pitch-down pods, each with a single rocket engine; two right and left roll pods, each with two rocket engines; and two right and left yaw pods, each with a single rocket engine.

Beginning in June, the pods will undergo proof pressure and leak testing, valve leak testing, and rocket engine functional testing at NASA. Aerojet will support processing activities that involve the rocket engine pods with procedure reviews and onsite engineering and assembly support during installation and testing on the crew module.

The CM RCS pod assemblies were designed by a multi-disciplinary team that utilized expertise across several Aerojet sites nationwide. The propulsion system utilizes Aerojet MR-104G 160 lbf monopropellant engines that are configured into four major pod design variants. The pod development work culminated with the final fabrication and assembly of the complete EFT-1 shipset at Aerojet’s facility in Redmond, Wash. Aerojet performed the CM RCS work under contract with NASA’s Orion prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT).

The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, currently in development, is an advanced spacecraft design utilizing state-of-the-art technology that will allow humans to travel beyond low-Earth orbit on future missions to destinations such as asteroids, Lagrange Points, the moon, and, someday, Mars. The LAS design, using an Aerojet jettison motor, is a key element to NASA’s continuing efforts to improve astronaut safety as the agency develops this next generation of spacecraft.

Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader providing propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense, strategic, tactical missile, and armaments areas in support of domestic and international markets. GenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale, and leasing of the company’s excess real estate assets. Additional information about Aerojet and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies’ websites at<> and<>.



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  1. when is this site going to publish the article highlighting the differences between the Apollo era capsules and Orion?

    • Whiteflash,
      This is twice you’ve asked. Why don’t you contact Boeing, SpaceX & Lock-Mart and complain that they haven’t provided us with the required information yet? Sorry, but you’ve already been told what we’re waiting on.
      Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

  2. Ken,
    Not interested in posting my opinion on the subject only to be torn apart by NewSpace supporters. As to the article that Whiteflash is talking about – we’ve been trying to produce a comprehensive review/comparison of several capsule-based systems. However, without certain data we don’t want to run it as it lacks depth.
    Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

    • Getting good data is difficult at times and I respect the integrity you wish to hold to with regard to the quality of your articles. I do look forward to when you have the data (if they ever respond)and you are ready to publish it.

      Personally, because I hold truth above all, I look for people to tear apart my opinions. To me, the highest respect is being given to me when somebody takes the time to substantively refute my arguments. It’s when they attack me without taking on my argument that upsets me (but even then, only if they are somebody I already respect. Anonymous trolls mean nothing to me.)

      I never take it personally when somebody says I’m wrong and provides supportive details. I’m thankful, because if I can verify their data it allows me henceforth to make an improved argument taking their data into consideration.

      I know you’re sensitive to trollish and rude behavior. My favorite blogger, Steven Den Beste, used to publish great analysis several times a day until he decided it just wasn’t fun for him anymore.

      But for me, no matter how harshly they attack me, if they include an argument of substance, it more than makes up for everything else and I’m thankful.

      For example, in the post I provided a link to, I note that public specs show Sundancer has less mass and more volume than Orion. This is substantive data. If true it raises the question of which architecture makes more sense especially in light of Bigelow’s comment (which I point out I disagree with) that the Orion is unnecessary in light of the BA330.

      I believe the Sundancer’s 180 m3 is more than enough for a six person mission at significantly less cost than both the BA330 and Orion. While I think cost in isolation misses an important point, when something does cost less it improves the possibilities of everything that follows. As a matter of fact, this new realization (which I must admit to my embarrassment) means many of the older posts I’ve made on my blog now require updating with new numbers.

      So I hope I never make an argument that you feel lacks substance and is only for the purpose of tearing into you. That is never my objective and I hope others would not be doing that either. As far as somebody looking down on me? Let them. I know who I am. I’m no fool. I just play one in public. 😉

      Take it from an old fart. To thine own self be true.

      Or as my dad used to tell me. A wise man learns even from fools. A fool never learns at all.

      Don’t be discouraged. You do a fine job on your articles.

      • Ken,
        The reason why I dread it – is that responding eats up my most precious commodity – time. It’s been my experience that 98 percent of the people I try to communicate with – just want others to parrot whatever they’re saying. I’d like to say it doesn’t offend me – but that’d be lying. It’d be different if folks were flexible – but my experience on our comments page is that folks are so rigid in their beliefs that I feel I’d get a better conversation out of a chunk of linoleum.
        Sincerely, Jason

        • Time is valuable, no doubt about it.

          If you’ve already answered a question and somebody doesn’t bother to read it… they aren’t worth your time to respond to. Leave ’em hanging and save yourself some time.

          I understand that sometimes you feel you must respond, as I did to Jim here. I left out specific missions, but he is welcome to refute my post in my comments section if he wishes to. I will not be offended if he chooses not to.

  3. Oh im sorry Jason, i just was told in a different comment that the article i mentioned was going to be posted a couple weeks ago, was just checking in. :/

    • Whiteflash,
      It’s all good. Just keep in mind, if we say we’re going to do something – we will. That is, unless outside forces beyond our control don’t allow us to. 🙂
      Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

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