Aerojet Rocketdyne Delivers First Set Of Propulsion Hardware For Boeing’s Starliner Spacecraft

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner will transport astronaut crews to the International Space Station. Image Credit: Boeing

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner will transport astronaut crews to the International Space Station. Image Credit: Boeing

October 18, 2016 – Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc., has completed delivery of the first set of hardware for Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner service module propulsion system. The Starliner is designed to ferry NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The first delivered hardware includes the low-pressure port and starboard manifold assemblies, which will distribute helium necessary to push propellants out to the service module’s engines and thrusters.

“The delivery of the first set of hardware for Starliner marks a significant milestone in the history of our nation’s leadership in space and its ability to send astronauts to the International Space Station from American soil once again,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “Congratulations to the entire team for its hard work and dedication on this critical NASA program.”

The spacecraft’s service module propulsion system provides integrated launch-abort capability on the pad and during ascent, along with all propulsion needs during a nominal flight – from launch vehicle separation, docking and undocking from the space station, and through separation of the crew and service modules when the spacecraft begins to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

Under its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract to Boeing, Aerojet Rocketdyne is completing the design, development, qualification, certification and initial production of the service module propulsion system. As part of the contract, Aerojet Rocketdyne will provide shipsets of service module propulsion system production hardware. Each shipset will include Launch Abort Engines (LAEs), Orbital Maneuvering and Attitude Control (OMAC) engines, Reaction Control System (RCS) engines, valves, tanks and more than 500 feet of ducts, lines and tubing. Boeing will assemble hardware kits into the service module section of the Starliner spacecraft at its Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Aerojet Rocketdyne also provides propulsion hardware supporting the Starliner crew module and Atlas V launch vehicle. The Starliner is targeting the delivery of astronauts to the space station for NASA, beginning in 2018.

The Starliner service module propulsion system includes 40,000-pound thrust launch abort engines used only in the unlikely event of a low-altitude abort; 1,500-pound thrust class OMAC engines that provide low-altitude launch abort attitude control; maneuvering and stage-separation functions; high-altitude direct abort capability and large orbital maneuvers; and 100-pound thrust class RCS engines that provide high-altitude abort attitude control, on-orbit low delta-v maneuvering function, and space station re-boost capability.

Commercial crew missions to the space station will restore America’s human spaceflight capabilities and increase the amount of time dedicated to scientific research off the Earth, for the Earth and beyond. A standard commercial crew mission to the station will carry up to four NASA or NASA-sponsored crew members and about 220 pounds of pressurized cargo. The spacecraft will remain at the station for up to 210 days, available as an emergency lifeboat during that time.

The Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The rocket’s configuration was unveiled earlier this week.