GenCorp Nabs Contract For Landing Rockets On Crew Exploration Vehicle
If it can work for missile defense interceptors, why not on manned spaceships?
NASA gave Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc. company, a five year contract to develop technology for a rocket-powered landing system for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) crew module as it returns to Earth.
Funded by the NASA Langley Research Center at Hampton, Va., the contract includes options for fabrication, system development, and demonstration tests at the Langley impact test facility. The contract is capped at $4.25 million dollars.
During the first phase of the contract, Aerojet will provide consulting services and controllable thrust expertise to help NASA demonstrate the benefits of using its controllable solid propulsion systems to enhance the safety of CEV ground landings.
The rocket-powered landing system would provide a soft and controlled landing for astronauts returning to earth by reducing both the downward velocity and sideways motion in order to prevent tipping or roll-over during touchdown, according to NASA.
Controllable rocket power technology proposed for CEV was originally developed for missile defense applications.
“Aerojet has an established record in the development and production of controllable solid propulsion systems for missile defense applications and looks forward to applying this expertise to a CEV landing system,” said Julie Van Kleeck, Aerojet vice president of Space Programs. “The availability of this technology will enable NASA to verify astronaut safety in time to meet the CEV program schedule.”