Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

Aerojet Rocketdyne Propulsion Solutions to Keep U.S. Adversaries Guessing


From the dawn of the space age, space objects have traveled along predictable, gravity-driven paths first defined by the German Renaissance astronomer and mathematician, Johannes Kepler.

For decades, those predictable orbits served our nation well; space was essentially a sanctuary. But in our now-congested, contested, and competitive Space Area of Operations (AOR), Keplerian orbits will no longer cut it.

At public appearances, including at the 2023 Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo., then Deputy Commander of U.S. Space Command (now retired) U.S. Space Force Lt. Gen. John Shaw, said maneuverability - regardless of domain - enables military forces to move quickly, sidestep defenses and achieve surprise. Space, he said, should be viewed no differently than any other operational domain.

Dynamic Space Operations, or DSO, at its heart is about being able to maneuver once on orbit, said Tom Wehr, director of business development for launch and space exploration at Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3Harris Technologies company. Maneuverability complicates an adversary's planning and targeting.

For example, because ground-surveillance satellites follow predictable orbital paths, adversaries typically know when one will be overhead and can modify their behavior accordingly, Wehr said. Similarly, space surveillance operations would benefit from the ability for satellites to maneuver to take a closer look at objects of interest. And if conflict breaks out in the space AOR, maneuverable satellites can complicate an adversary's ability to target and deny our space superiority.

All of that requires more propulsion capability than what you've typically seen in the past, Wehr said.

Aerojet Rocketdyne, a longtime global leader in rocket and in-space propulsion, offers several DSO-enabling capabilities, with more in development. These propulsion capabilities provide the speed and efficiency to maneuver without regret. Some examples include:

Electric satellite thrusters with 10 times the efficiency of conventional chemical propulsion systems.

A long-life version of the company's high-thrust RL10 upper stage rocket engine, capable of multiple of in-space restarts, an industry workhorse that has sent probes across the Solar System and beyond.

High-performance propellants that are more efficient and environmentally friendly than hydrazine and other chemical fuels typically used for in-space propulsion.

Air-breathing electric propulsion systems for satellites operating in very low Earth orbit, or VLEO. Because they draw their propellant from the residual atmosphere in VLEO, these systems have virtually unconstrained maneuverability.

Long-life mono-propellant thrusters for refuelable space vehicles.

High Delta-V Integrated ESPA (EELV Secondary Payload Adapter) Propulsion Systems to provide significant maneuverability capability to smaller space vehicles.

Long-life, high-performance bipropellant liquid rocket engines for higher-impulse DSO maneuver requirements.

On-orbit refueling and propellant management systems for monopropellants and cryogenic propellants.

Aerojet Rocketdyne provides highly reliable and long-life propulsion solutions for any mission, Wehr said, emphasizing that when it comes to DSO, there is no one-size-fits-all system.

Electric propulsion is one example; it is ideal for mass-constrained satellites that do not require high-speed or long-distance maneuverability. These systems enable planners to devote only a small amount of total available satellite mass to propellant, he said.

Aerojet Rocketdyne's electric thrusters have long been operational aboard commercial and government satellites, and the company is developing higher power systems to support NASA's exploration goals. Electric thrusters provide low-thrust, high-specific-impulse propulsion for missions needing more efficiency than speed.

Additionally, Aerojet Rocketdyne is working on a longer-life RL10 upper stage engine that could relocate payloads days or even weeks after launch, making them difficult to track, Wehr said. In one scenario, a primary satellite might initially be launched to geostationary-orbit (GEO), and the upper stage then maneuvers a secondary payload into a disposal orbit - an area of space above the GEO arc that serves as a graveyard of sorts for spent hardware. The upper stage could then restart on demand and deliver the secondary payload to the orbit required to perform its mission.

The long-life RL10 complicates an adversary's thinking because they now have to track everything in the disposal orbits because they might do something later on, he said.

Restarting an RL10 that has been inactive for extended periods in the extreme cold of space is a nontrivial challenge, Wehr said.

Another DSO capability of interest to the Space Force is on-orbit satellite refueling, and this is another area where Aerojet Rocketdyne's products shine. Aerojet Rocketdyne's chemical and electric propulsion systems have an unrivaled operational track record that gives mission planners confidence in their durability and ability to safely conduct proximity operations.

Refueling doesn't do any good if your thrusters are going to burn out, Wehr said. You've got to have a thruster that you can keep using and that's where we have an advantage.

That translates into a Space Force advantage as it deals with increasingly capable adversaries in a contested space environment. DSO is about upending the predictability that has traditionally defined orbital operations through propulsive maneuverability, something that plays to the strengths of Aerojet Rocketdyne.
See more stories from harris

Most recent headlines


Dalet Appoints Santiago Solanas as CEO to Lead Next Era of Growth and Innovation

Dalet, a leading technology and service provider for media-rich organizations, is excited to announce Santiago Solanas as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO)....


Astera Launches LunaBulb

Astera Launches LunaBulb posted: 13/06/2024 Astera LunaBulb PrepCaseKit Astera - a leading developer of innovative light solutions for film, event and TV...


Shaping the Future We Want to See: A Note From Shira Rockowitz and Kristin Feeley

This summer we're pulling back the curtain on Sundance Labs by sharing lette...


Give Me the Backstory: Get to Know Pedro Freire, the Writer-Director of Malu

By Lucy Spicer One of the most exciting things about the Sundance Film Festival is having a front-row seat for the bright future of independent filmmaking. Whi...


Spotify's 2024 Songs of Summer Predictions Are Ready to Bring the Heat

Can you hear the soundtrack to your life over the next few months? It's time for Spotify's Songs of Summer to take over your speakers as you hit the bea...


Billie Eilish and Spotify Bring the Mysterious Universe of HIT ME HARD AND SOFT' To Seoul

In May, Spotify and Billie Eilish welcomed U.K. fans inside the vast, mysterious...


Alexander Skarsgrd Spotlights Innovative Solutions to Our Planet's Biggest Challenges on the New Podcast How We Fix This'

Our planet is facing some serious issues. And How We Fix This-a new podcast host...


L3Harris Delivers Enhanced Airborne ISR Capability to Canada

Susan Harper, Consul General of Canada in Dallas, Texas, visits with the L3Harris Canadian Manned Airborne ISR (MAISR) team and U.S. Army Fixed Wing representat...


DMC Production Leverages Grass Valley AMPP for Revolutionary Remote Production of the 2024 RallyX Motorsports Championship

Montreal, Canada - June 12, 2024 - Grass Valley, a leader in live production sol...


Whisper extends EditShare to build new capabilities

Whisper Extends EditShare to Build New Capabilities Dynamic workflows designed by Tyrell will support major commissions Boston, MA, June 12, 2024 - EditShare...


Latest ATSC 3.0 Plugfest' Targets Transport, DRM, and More

COCKEYSVILLE, MD. The Sinclair Broadcast Group, along with the Pearl TV consortium, hosted yet another ATSC 3.0 device interoperability test at the ONE Media la...


Roku Unveils TV Streaming Ad Solution

SAN JOSE, Calif. Roku has announced Roku Exchange, a TV streaming-first advertising technology solution that connects ad inventory with advertiser demand....


DMC Production Reimagines Remote Race Workflow With Grass Valley AMPP

Scandinavian remote video production company DMC Production leveraged Grass Valley's AMPP for live coverage of the 2024 RallyX to live stream the motorsport...


Capitol Broadcasting Selects Triveni Digital to Simplify NextGen TV Operations

PRINCETON, N.J. Triveni Digital has announced that Capitol Broadcasting Company the owner and operator of WRAL-TV, WRAZ-TV, WILM-TV, and WNGT-TV in North Caroli...


Byron Allen Gets Fred Dressler Leadership Award at Mirror Awards in NYC

Byron Allen, founder, chairman and CEO of Allen Media Group, gets the Fred Dressler Leadership Award at the 2024 Mirror Awards June 13 in New York. Established ...


BOOK REVIEW: Here Now the News: An Inside Scoop Into New York's Best-Loved Anchors'

Jerry Barmash has published Here Now the News: An Inside Scoop into New York'...


Nate Burleson To Host Hollywood Squares'

Nate Burleson, co-host of CBS Mornings, will host the primetime game show Hollywood Squares on CBS. Drew Barrymore will inhabit the center square on the classic...


Taylor Tomlinson Gets Second Season for After Midnight' on CBS

After Midnight, the late-night show hosted by Taylor Tomlinson, has been renewed for a second season on CBS. The show is inspired by Comedy Central's @midni...


Shari Redstone's National Amusements Says Paramount-Skydance Deal is Dead

National Amusements Inc., the Redstone family holding company that owns a controlling interest in Paramount Global, said Tuesday it will not be doing a deal wit...


Netflix's Dancing for the Devil' Again Tops TVision Power Score Ranking

Netflix's Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult waltzed into the top slot in TVision's Power Score ranking of the biggest shows streaming on connect...


Blackmagic Design unveils world's first camera and editing system for Apple Vision Pro

The company has also introduced an updated version of DaVinci Resolve which incl...


No deal! Shari Redstone pulls plug on Skydance/Paramount Global merger

The company said it had not been able to reach mutually acceptable terms regarding the potential transaction with Skydance Media By Jenny Priestley Published...


IAB Tech Lab Releases Ad Creative ID Framework

NEW YORK In a notable development in the media industry efforts to improve the efficiency and cross-platform measurement of CTV ad campaigns, the IAB Tech Lab h...


NVISA and ATSC Deploy ATSC 3.0 Warning System at FEMA Facility

WASHINGTON, D.C. The NextGen Video Information Systems Alliance (NVISA) and the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) have announced a strategic partners...


Clear-Com Gen-IC Virtual Intercom Ships

ALAMEDA, Calif. Clear-Com has begun shipping its Gen-IC Virtual Intercom, a new system combining the benefits of cloud production with the system reliability fo...


DPA Microphones, Wisycom Join Forces to Expand U.S. Presence

LONGMONT, Colo. & CHANTILLY, Va. DPA Microphones and Wisycom have announced a strategic alliance to work together to expand their operations in the U.S....


TNT Sports Inks $650M Deal for French Open

With published reports indicating that Warner Bros. Discovery is fighting an last minute battle to retain some rights to air NBA games, WBD's TNT Sports has...


Nexstar Names Lisa Taylor SVP of Digital Ad Sales

IRVING, Texas Nexstar Media Group has appointed Lisa Taylor as senior vice president of digital advertising sales, where she will be responsible for acceleratin...


Paramount, Skydance Deal Collapses

The on-again, off-again, negotiations over a merger between Skydance Media and Paramount Global have collapsed, with the Wall Street Journal publishing a statem...


Revolutionizing Media Advertising: The Transformative Potential of AI in Campaign Planning

In today's dynamic and hyperconnected digital landscape, media advertising h...


SVG Sports Cloud Production Forum: Sessions Now Available To Watch on SVG PLAY

SVG Sports Cloud Production Forum: Sessions Now Available To Watch on SVG PLAY Catch up on the latest in live cloud-based production strategies and technology ...


InfoComm 2024, Part 1: Live-Sound Show Returns in Full Force

InfoComm 2024, Part 1: Live-Sound Show Returns in Full Force The event has evolved into the single-biggest installed-AV expo in the U.S. By Dan Daley, Audio Ed...


InfoComm 2024, Part 2: Gear for Big Sound in Stadium and Arena

InfoComm 2024, Part 2: Gear for Big Sound in Stadium and Arena Immersive live sound is part of sports entities' engagement strategies By Dan Daley, Audio E...


Netflix & Shondaland Announce the Song List and Soundtrack for 'Bridgerton' Season 3

Back to All News Netflix & Shondaland Announce the Song List and Soundtrack for...


Sweet Home' Season 3 Arrives July 19 in Fitting Finale to Epic Series

Back to All News Sweet Home' Season 3 Arrives July 19 in Fitting Finale to Epic Series Entertainment 12 June 2024 GlobalSouth Korea (Republic of Korea)...


Expo Pantalla. Mexico City. 1819 June 2024

Meet us at Expo Pantalla 2024. 18-19 June, 2024 WTC Ciudad de M xico To make an appointment, contact: [email protected] Find out more about Expo Pantalla ...


Arqiva x Wonderseekers - engaging children with science

Expanding a connection running for over 20 years, find out more about Arqiva and Wonderseekers More than 20 years ago, Arqiva donated unused land next to its M...


Scaling to New Heights: NVIDIA MLPerf Training Results Showcase Unprecedented Performance and Elasticity

The full-stack NVIDIA accelerated computing platform has once again demonstrated...


COCESNA and Thales signed two contracts to modernize its AMHS and AIM systems and navigation aids infrastructure

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn COCESNA and Thales signed two contracts to moder...


Footage of Cruelty and Abuse of Horses in Kildare revealed by RT Investigates

Hidden cameras capture horses being repeatedly hit and punched around the head Images show a horse too weak to stand being prodded with a pitchfork Major...


Nerding About NeRFs: How Neural Radiance Fields Transform 2D Images Into Hyperrealistic 3D Models

Let's talk about NeRFs - no, not the neon-colored foam dart blasters, but ne...


TOPS of the Class: Decoding AI Performance on RTX AI PCs and Workstations

Editor's note: This post is part of the AI Decoded series, which demystifies AI by making the technology more accessible, and showcases new hardware, softwa...


Celebrate and Honor Pride With LGBTQIA+ Artists, Creators, and Curated Playlists on Spotify's GLOW Hub

From the rise of disco in the 1970s to the current wave of hyper pop, queer crea...


90 years of Dr. Schnabel GmbH - SGL's Limburg site has every reason to celebrate

On June 8, we celebrated the 90th anniversary of Dr. Schnabel GmbH at our Limbur...


Little J & Big Cuz returns for season four this July

Little J & Big Cuz returns for season four this July 11 June, 2024 Media releases *First look here* Award-winning animated children's series Little J ...



Tuesday 11 June 2024, Johannesburg. The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF...


ST Engineering iDirect Joins WAVE Consortium as Board Member

Spearheading industry collaboration to transform the satcom industry into a fully interoperable ecosystem Herndon, VA., June 11, 2024 - ST Engineering iDirect,...


The Many Moving Parts of the Transition to NextGen TV

Fifteen years ago this month, U.S. broadcasters cut the cord on NTSC, shutting down analog TV and putting the finishing touches on a transition to digital tha...


Sally Wallington Joins Pebble To Lead Worldwide Sales

EPSOM, U.K. Sally Wallington has joined automation, content management and integrated channel specialist Pebble as senior vice president of sales with responsib...