Aerojet has been awarded a $10.4 million contract to design and develop a non-toxic peroxide Advanced Reusable Rocket Engine (ARRE) for the US Air Force’s Space Manoeuvre Vehicle (SMV).
The contract, awarded by the US Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate is expected to earn Aerojet up to $29.9 million over the next four years.
‘The ARRE program represents a dramatic stepping stone for Aerojet’s reusable rocket engine technologies – as well as the aerospace industry as a whole,’ said Russ Reavis, Aerojet vice president of programs. ‘This program will advance state-of-the-art peroxide engine technologies 30 years by maintaining storable rocket engine performance with environmentally friendly propellants.’
The SMV is a small, unmanned space vehicle envisioned as a reusable satellite bus with on-orbit manoeuvring capability. The US Air Force is considering the SMV concept for multiple missions including tactical reconnaissance, identification and surveillance of space objects, and space-based logistics.
‘Aerojet is tasked to develop an Advanced Reusable Rocket Engine that utilises non-toxic, hydrogen peroxide as a propellant,’ said Adam Siebenhaar, Aerojet ARRE capture manager. ‘The technology Aerojet proposed for the SMV engine significantly leapfrogs existing peroxide-based technologies by using advanced injection concepts, fabrication processes and chamber materials.’
The ARRE program is expected to start in May 2001 and run through April 2005. Development of the Advanced Reusable Rocket Engine and all its components will be conducted at Aerojet’s Sacramento facility.