Work begins on new Aerojet Rocketdyne facility
On April 25, Aerojet Rocketdyne broke ground on a 17,000-square-foot engineering, manufacturing and development facility for its solid rocket motors.
The new facility, located in Camden, Arkansas, has a proposed opening date sometime in the spring of 2020, and is set to serve as the company’s development facility for future solid rocket motor designs. According to company President and CEO Eileen Drake, the new facility is planned to be the most modern and sophisticated rocket development facility in the country.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is no stranger to Arkansas, having had a presence in the state since 1979. The new facility is set to boost the south Arkansas economy by expanding its 800-person workforce to 900 employees in the state over the next three years, thanks in part to the new facility.
“The aerospace and defense industry continues to be one of the top economic drivers in Arkansas, and that wouldn’t happen without the incredible workforce and their employers, ” said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson in a statement. “We’re thrilled to see Aerojet Rocketdyne continue to grow in Camden, and we appreciate the investments they make in South Arkansas and in our nation’s security.”
Best known for producing the RS-25 engines, which were used on the Space Shuttles and will get continued use as engines powering NASA’s Space Launch System into orbit, Aerojet Rocketdyne was formed in 2013 when Aerojet and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne merged.
The Sacramento, California-headquartered company currently produces several engines for United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV and solid rocket motors for Atlas V rockets. Aerojet Rocketdyne is also producing the solid rocket motor for Blue Origin, known as the CCE SRM, which is used on the New Shepard crew capsule as a launch escape system.
Having a life-long interest in crewed space flight, Desforges’ passion materialized on a family vacation in 1999 when he was able see the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-96. Since then, Desforges has been an enthusiast of space exploration efforts. He lived in Orlando, Florida for a year, during which time he had the opportunity to witness the flights of the historic CRS-4 and EFT-1 missions in person at Cape Canaveral. He earned his Private Pilot Certificate in 2017, holds a degree in Aviation Management, and currently works as an Operations Analyst in the aviation industry in Georgia.