Aerojet Rocketdyne to begin AR1 rocket engine production in US
Aerojet Rocketdyne is planning to commence the production of an AR1 rocket engine in Huntsville, Alabama, a move that could create 100 new jobs.
The expansion of AR1 engines production to the US would end the country's dependency on Russian engines for national security and civil space launches.
Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president Eileen Drake said: “Our world-class workforce is very excited to rapidly bring the AR1 engine into production, it will support the Trump administration’s efforts to make our military strong again.
“The AR1 rocket engine is crucial to ensuring America’s assured access to space and making US launch vehicles competitive across the globe.”
Testing of the engine, which will be used for launch vehicles, is currently underway.
The company said it plans to deliver a certified engine in 2019 to meet the congressionally-mandated deadline to end US dependence on foreign engine suppliers.
Aerojet Rocketdyne recently established its Defense Business Unit headquarters and relocated its Rocket Shop Defense Advanced Programs division to the 'Rocket City'.
The company is also expanding its presence at Nasa’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi to accommodate final assembly and hot fire testing of AR1 as well as assembly and hot fire testing of the RS-25 rocket engine that will power Nasa’s new space launch system (SLS).
Additionally, production of the company's RS-68 liquid rocket engine is currently underway.
To date, Aerojet Rocketdyne has delivered liquid-fuelled rocket engines to power the launches of the US Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle programme.