NASA has awarded Rancho Cordova's Aerojet a $23.3 million contract to develop engineering demonstrations and risk-reduction concepts for future advanced boosters for the agency's Space Launch System.
Aerojet is one of four companies contracted to improve the affordability, reliability and performance of an advanced booster for a future version of the SLS heavy-lift rocket.
The SLS vehicle is earmarked for NASA's Orion spacecraft. The initial 77-ton configuration will use two five-segment solid rocket boosters similar to those that helped power the Space Shuttle to orbit.
An evolved 143-ton rocket will require an advanced booster with more thrust than any existing U.S. liquid- or solid-fueled booster, NASA said.
NASA said Aerojet will be involved in development, evaluation and testing of multiple functions of the advanced boosters.
The three other companies under contract in connection with the SLS advanced boosters are Northrop Grumman Corp. Aerospace Systems of Redondo Beach, ATK Launch Systems Inc. of Brigham City, Utah and Dynetics Inc. of Huntsville, Ala.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville manages the SLS program for the agency.