Aerojet Rocketdyne’s next-gen rocket engine has concluded a series of 22 critical design reviews with a system-wide CDR clearance.
Aerojet says the AR-1 will be ready for integration into the Atlas V by 2019. But it’s viewed outside the company mostly as a back-up alternative to another next-gen engine in development —- the BE-4 from Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ fledgling rocket company.
AR-1 is a liquid-fueled rocket engine and will be manufactured in an Aerojet facility in Huntsville, Ala. The engine’s system-wide critical design review focused on the AR-1’s ability to meet the performance requirements for such a booster engine prior to the start of full manufacturing.
“This important milestone keeps AR-1 squarely on track for flight readiness in 2019,” Aerojet chief Eileen Drake said. “AR-1 ends foreign dependence, fits on existing launch vehicles with the least amount of changes to the system or on new launch vehicles in development, and is compatible with current ground and launch infrastructure.”
More than 200 system-level design requirements were established and verified while the AR-1 went through its incremental design reviews.
Said Julie Van Kleeck, Aerojet vice president of advanced space and launch programs: “Aerojet Rocketdyne understands the exacting engine development and launch vehicle integration processes required for national security space missions. We have the resources and capabilities in place to support national security launches using the AR1 as the booster engine starting in 2020.”
Production of the engine is scheduled to start in 2019.