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Aerojet Rocketdyne Powers WGS-10 Military Communications Satellite from Launch Pad to Orbit

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

Aerojet Rocketdyne Powers WGS-10 Military Communications Satellite from Launch Pad to Orbit


  • RS-68A and RL10B-2 provide propulsion for United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket
  • HiPAT™ rocket engine helps deliver spacecraft to its final orbital position
  • Delta IV pressure vessels manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne subsidiary ARDÉ


CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., March 15, 2019 – Aerojet Rocketdyne played a major role in successfully supporting the launch and placement of the tenth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS-10) spacecraft into orbit for the U.S. military. The mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems on the Delta IV rocket included an RS-68A booster engine, an RL10B-2 upper-stage engine, 12 MR-106H reaction control thrusters and 14 helium pressurization tanks. On the WGS-10 satellite, Aerojet Rocketdyne provided the High Performance Apogee Thruster (HiPAT™) bipropellant, apogee-raising engine.


“The Aerojet Rocketdyne team is privileged to work on a wide variety of programs that support our nation’s warfighters,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “WGS-10 will provide our nation and its allies with the ability to securely exchange information, perform reconnaissance and execute tactical command and control.”


Aerojet Rocketdyne’s role in the launch began when a single RS-68A engine ignited to boost the Delta IV off the pad, providing more than 705,000 pounds of lift-off thrust.


Following separation of the upper stage from the launch vehicle, an RL10B-2 engine provided 24,750 pounds of thrust to power the Delta IV upper stage using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants. Different models of the RL10 have been in service for more than five decades with nearly 500 engines flown in space.


Twelve MR-106H 9-lbf reaction control thrusters provide roll, pitch and yaw control for the upper stage through payload deployment.


ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, manufactures the pressure vessels on the first and second stages of the launch vehicle. These pressure vessels hold industrial gases that are used during the Delta IV’s climb to orbit.


Following spacecraft separation, WGS-10 will carry out several burns using Aerojet Rocketdyne’s HiPAT™ rocket engine to raise its orbit from a geosynchronous transfer orbit to its final geosynchronous orbital position. The HiPAT™ rocket engine produces 100 pounds of thrust and has a 100 percent mission success track record spanning more than 130 missions, including all previously launched WGS spacecraft.


About Aerojet Rocketdyne: Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion systems and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, and tactical systems areas, in support of domestic and international customers. For more information, and Follow Aerojet Rocketdyne and CEO Eileen Drake on Twitter at@AerojetRdyne and @DrakeEileen.


Media Contacts:

Todd McConnell, Aerojet Rocketdyne, 561-882-5395

[email protected]

Mary Engola, Aerojet Rocketdyne, 571-289-1371

[email protected]