Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hydrazine monopropellant thrusters key to LRO & LCROSS success, so far...

American Pacific Corporation's wholly-owned in-space propulsion subsidiary AMPAC In-Space Propulsion), reports that its hydrazine monopropellant engines, with a 30+ year history of successful space application, are key elements of the propulsion systems that power NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS). The two spacecraft were launched on June 18th aboard an Atlas V from Cape Canaveral, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has already transmitted the first images in its mission to map the lunar surface. Mission data indicates that the engines on LCROSS are also performing as expected.

The MONARC family of monopropellant engines dates back to the ATS-3 weather and communication satellite, which has been operating for more than 40 years. The MONARC family of engines has provided attitude control for missions ranging from earth observation and monitoring, to solar exploration and mapping, global wireless communications and strategic defense. Nearly two thousand (2,000) MONARC engines have been successfully flown.

AMPAC-ISP provided MONARC engines to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for LRO, and to Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems for LCROSS. The two spacecraft use three distinct engines sized for the specific missions. "AMPAC-ISP is proud to provide mission critical propulsion components for these important NASA programs. The LRO and LCROSS missions are crucial to future manned exploration and lunar science," said Robert Huebner, American Pacific Corporation, Vice President - AMPAC-ISP.

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