Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp company, announced today that its dual AJ26 main engine system once again successfully boosted Orbital Sciences Corporation s Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft on the second operational Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission, carrying the Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). Liftoff occurred at 12:52 p.m. EDT from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Following in-orbit activation shortly after launch, 32 Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-106M 7 lbf monopropellant hydrazine thrusters will fire to perform required in-orbit maneuvers. Cygnus berthing to the ISS is scheduled for approximately 6:39 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 16.
"This mission once again signifies the strength of this commercial partnership which supports NASA, our astronauts, the International Space Station and the nation," said Aerojet Rocketdyne Vice President of Space Launch Systems, Steve Bouley. "This team has collaborated very well and we look forward to many more missions together."
The AJ26 is a commercial derivative of the NK-33 engine, first developed by the Kuznetsov Design Bureau of Samara, Russia, manufactured to power the Russian N-1 rocket on a lunar mission in the early 1970s. As an oxidizer-rich, staged-combustion, oxygen kerosene engine, it achieves very high performance in a lightweight, compact package.
The Orbital-2 CRS mission is the second of eight operational missions covered under the CRS contract. Aerojet Rocketdyne's small monopropellant hydrazine thrusters aboard the Cygnus enable the spacecraft to move in any direction required for the mission. The thrusters are capable of firing in steady state and pulse mode, and provide the Cygnus spacecraft with agility and precision control including during space station berthing. These are the only hydrazine thrusters in use for space station resupply.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader providing propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems 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, and real estate markets.