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Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne Propulsion Orbits Critical Communications Satellite for US Military
by Staff Writers
Canoga Park, CA (SPX) May 10, 2012


The AEHF is a joint service satellite communications system that will provide global communications for military troops within all services of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne upperstage propulsion successfully orbited the second in a series of Advanced Extremely High-Frequency (AEHF) communications satellites for the U.S. military once again demonstrating the consistent reliability of its power and propulsion systems.

The spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

The Atlas V is powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 booster engine, and the upper-stage is powered by the Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne RL10 engine. Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. company.

"The RL10 has accumulated one of the most impressive lists of accomplishments in the history of space propulsion - and today was no exception," said Christine Cooley, RL10 program manager, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne. "We're proud to help place this important payload into orbit, providing critical communication capabilities for service men and women deployed worldwide."

"The RD-180 boosted the Atlas V with flawless precision, and we look forward to working with our customer on future missions that support U.S. troops and allied forces," said Bill Parsons, president and CEO of RD AMROSS

The AEHF is a joint service satellite communications system that will provide global communications for military troops within all services of the U.S. Department of Defense.

The spacecraft will be used to relay highly secure and jam-resistant communications for the Armed Forces of the United States, the British Armed Forces, the Canadian Forces and the military of the Netherlands. When fully deployed, the system will consist of four spacecraft that travel in geostationary orbits.

The Atlas V Centaur upper-stage is powered by a single RL10A4-2 engine that delivers 22,300 pounds of thrust. The Atlas V Common Core booster is powered by the RD-180 engine and delivers nearly 1 million pounds of thrust. The RD-180 is the only liquid oxygen/kerosene-fueled engine with an oxygen-rich staged-combustion cycle flying in the United States today.

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