Aerojet Rocketdyne Delivers Flight Solar Electric Propulsion Thrusters for NASA and NOAA’s GOES-R Spacecraft

Image Credit: GOES-R, NASA and NOAA
Image Credit: GOES-R, NASA and NOAA

Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp company, announced today that it has shipped the first set of four Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) thrusters for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R).

Aerojet Rocketdyne shipped the first set of four solar electric propulsion thrusters to Lockheed Martin at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. Lockheed Martin will integrate the Aerojet Rocketdyne SEP thrusters and associated power conditioning units and electrical cabling with the GOES-R spacecraft. It will then be shipped to Lockheed Martin’s facility near Denver Colo. where it will undergo final integration and testing. The completed satellite will ultimately be shipped to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to support a planned late 2015 or early 2016 launch on an Atlas V 541 expendable launch vehicle.

“Aerojet Rocketdyne pioneered the use of SEP on commercial, NASA and DoD satellites, and we are excited to now extend these mission cost savings advantages to NASA, NOAA and the GOES series of weather satellites,” said Warren M. Boley, Jr., Aerojet Rocketdyne president. “I’d like to congratulate our Redmond, Washington team for their dedication to mission success supplying high quality SEP flight hardware for another major government flight program.”

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Redmond Space Systems Business Unit is the world’s leading supplier of Solar Electric Propulsion systems, with more than 500 SEP thrusters and in excess of 100 SEP power processors flown with 100 percent mission success. Aerojet Rocketdyne has successfully flown four different types of SEP products. The GOES-R SEP thrusters are commonly referred to as arcjet thrusters. Arcjet thrusters use the electric power generated by the spacecraft’s solar arrays to generate and sustain an electric arc inside a hydrazine rocket engine, boosting the performance of the engine by a factor of 3. The arcjet thrusters enable launch of the GOES-R satellite on an Atlas V 541, resulting in substantial launch cost savings over an all-chemical propulsion approach.

The GOES-R series is a collaborative development and acquisition effort between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA. The GOES-R satellite will provide continuous imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s Western Hemisphere and space weather monitoring, resulting in more timely and accurate weather forecasts. It will improve support for the detection and observations of meteorological phenomena and directly affect public safety, protection of property, and ultimately, economic health and development. The first launch of the GOES-R series satellite is scheduled for a late 2015 or early 2016 launch.

Aerojet Rocketdyne 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 diversified company that provides innovative solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense, energy and real estate markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies’ websites at and

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