September 23, 2013
Credit: Guy Norris/AWST
Facing even greater budgetary uncertainty than before, Aerojet Rocketdyne is entering a key period of testing in its drive to cut cost from the propulsion element of NASA's heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) vehicle.
Working closely with the space agency, the newly merged rocket engine company has a raft of cost-saving initiatives underway ranging from production streamlining to advanced, but cheaper, manufacturing methods. According to NASA's SLS liquid engines program manager Mike Kynard, the goal is straightforward. “We want SLS to be more affordable. We don't want to spend all our money on the truck that takes us to space—we want to be able to spend more on exploration when we get there.”