Aerojet Rocketdyne
IndustryAerospace and Defense
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne
Key people
Eileen Drake (CEO and President)
ProductsRocket motor and missile propulsion
Number of employees
ParentAerojet Rocketdyne Holdings

Aerojet Rocketdyne is an American manufacturer of rocket, hypersonic, and electric propulsive systems for space, defense, civil and commercial applications.[2][3] Headquartered in Sacramento, California,[4] the company is owned by Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings. Aerojet Rocketdyne was formed in 2013 when Aerojet (then owned by GenCorp) and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne were merged, following the latter's acquisition by GenCorp from Pratt & Whitney.[5][6] On April 27, 2015, the name of the holding company, GenCorp, was changed from GenCorp, Inc. to Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc.[7]

Lockheed Martin announced plans to take over Aerojet Rocketdyne on December 20, 2020 as part of a $4.4 billion acquisition; however this was abandoned by Lockheed on February 13, 2022 after opposition from Raytheon led the FTC to move to block the acquisition.[8][9][10][11]


RS-25 engines
RS-25 engines

Current engines

Former production engines and others

Rocketdyne F-1 engines on the Apollo Space Program's Saturn V first stage
Rocketdyne F-1 engines on the Apollo Space Program's Saturn V first stage

In development

X3 Ion Thruster

On 13 October 2017, it was reported that Aerojet Rocketdyne completed a keystone demonstration on a new X3 ion thruster, which is a central part of the XR-100 system for the NextSTEP program.[19][20] The X3 ion thruster was designed by the University of Michigan[21] and is being developed in partnership with the University of Michigan, NASA, and the Air Force. The X3 is a Hall-effect thruster operating at over 100 kW of power. During the demonstration, it broke records for the maximum power output, thrust and operating current achieved by a Hall thruster to date.[19] It operated at a range of power from 5 kW to 102 kW, with electrical current of up to 260 amperes. It generated 5.4 Newtons of thrust, "which is the highest level of thrust achieved by any plasma thruster to date."[19][22] A novelty in its design is that it incorporates three plasma channels, each a few centimeters deep, nested around one another in concentric rings.[20] The system is 227 kg (500 lb) and almost one meter in diameter.[19]

Other notable products

Multi-mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator

Aerojet Rocketdyne is the prime contractor to the US Department of Energy for the Multi-mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator. The first flight MMRTG is currently powering the Mars Curiosity Rover, and a second flight unit powers the Perseverance Rover.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Lockheed Martin to Acquire Aerojet Rocketdyne | IndustryWeek
  2. ^ "Hypersonics | Aerojet Rocketdyne".
  3. ^ Stone, Mike (25 January 2022). "U.S. FTC to sue to block Lockheed Martin's $4.4 billion Aerojet deal". Reuters.
  4. ^ "Locations" Aerojet Rocketdyne
  5. ^ "Two engine rivals merge into Aerojet Rocketdyne". Spaceflight Now. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  6. ^ Roop, Lee (June 17, 2013). "Here's how Aerojet Rocketdyne might bring 5,000 new aerospace engineering jobs to Huntsville". Alabama Media Group. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  7. ^ "History". Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. Archived from the original on 2016-08-07. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  8. ^ Erwin, Sandra (December 20, 2020). "Lockheed Martin to acquire Aerojet Rocketdyne for $4.4 billion". Space News. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  9. ^ Erwin, Sandra (February 17, 2021). "Raytheon to challenge Lockheed Martin's acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne". Space News. Retrieved February 19, 2021.((cite news)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "Federal Trade Commission blocks Lockheed Martin's acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne". 25 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Lockheed Martin Terminates Agreement to Acquire Aerojet Rocketdyne". Media - Lockheed Martin. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  12. ^ "Aerojet Rocketdyne Motor Plays Key Role in Successful Blue Origin In-Flight Crew Escape Test". 6 October 2016.
  13. ^ W. David Woods, How Apollo Flew to the Moon, Springer, 2008, ISBN 978-0-387-71675-6, p. 19
  14. ^ "AR1 Booster Engine". Aerojet Rocketdyne. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  15. ^ "Aerojet Rocketdyne 3D Prints An Entire Engine in Just Three Parts". 2014-06-26. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  16. ^ Clark, Stephen. "Atlas 5 rocket launches infrared missile detection satellite for U.S. Space Force – Spaceflight Now". Retrieved 2021-05-21.
  17. ^ "Aerojet Rocketdyne Selected As Main Propulsion Provider for Boeing and DARPA Experimental Spaceplane". 24 May 2017. Archived from the original on 30 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Farewell, Phantom Express: Boeing is pulling out of DARPA space plane program". 20 January 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  19. ^ a b c d Pultarova, Tereza (13 October 2017). "Ion Thruster Prototype Breaks Records in Tests, Could Send Humans to Mars". Space. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  20. ^ a b Mcalpine, Katherine (19 February 2016). "Hall thruster a serious contender to get humans to Mars". PhysOrg. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  21. ^ PEPL Thrusters: X3 University of Michigan. 2017.
  22. ^ Wall, Mike (26 April 2016). "Next-Gen Propulsion System Gets $67 Million from NASA". Space. Retrieved 2017-10-13.