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Aerojet Rocketdyne to expand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center

Officials with Aerojet Rocketdyne say assembly and testing of its AR1 advanced liquid rocket engine will take place at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

As a result, the company is expanding its Center of Excellence for Large Liquid Rocket Engine Assembly and Test.

The AR1 is being developed to support the country’s mandate to eliminate U.S. reliance on the Russian RD-180 engine for national security space launches by 2019.

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s facility at Stennis Space Center is already home for assembly and testing of the RS-68 engine that powers the Delta IV family of launch vehicles, and the RS-25 engine that will power NASA’s Space Launch System – America’s newest heavy lift launch vehicle in development, set to be the most powerful rocket in the world.

As part of the buildup for RS-25 assembly and testing, Aerojet Rocketdyne is locating its RS 25 low pressure turbopump assembly to the company’s facility at Stennis Space Center.

“I am very pleased to announce our plans for expansion of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s presence in Mississippi,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake in a news release Monday. “We have had a long history of partnering with Stennis to power the nation into space. Assembly and testing of the AR1 at NASA Stennis adds to that legacy.”

This plan will establish Aerojet Rocketdyne’s facility at NASA Stennis as the company’s Center of Excellence for Large Liquid Rocket Engine Assembly and Test and solidify NASA’s Stennis Space Center as the nation’s premier rocket engine test facility, she said.

Currently, Aerojet Rocketdyne employs 130 people. That number is expected to grow to more than 200 as development and production of the AR1 engine continues, and as the RS-25 engine continues testing and restarts production.

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