Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc., Rancho Cordova, California, has been awarded a $9,452,398 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Advanced AF-M315E Engine Monopropellant Engine Development. This contract provides a contract vehicle the Air Force Research Laboratory, Aerospace Systems, and Rocket Propulsion Division can use to address technical needs for next-generation strategic, tactical, and spacecraft propulsion systems. Work will be performed in Redmond, Washington, and is expected to be completed by April 21, 2024. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition with five offers received.
AF-M315E is one of the hydrazine alternatives in development that brings several advantages: it’s ~50% denser than traditional hydrazine, has a better specific impulse, and is significantly less toxic (which means less special handling).
This award isn’t a ton of money—especially for Aerojet Rocketdyne—but it’s good to see continued development on this front.
I’m very curious who submitted the other four offers, but it’s not a surprise to see Aerojet Rocketdyne win. They also built the propulsion system for NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (to launch on Falcon Heavy as part of STP-2), so I wonder how much commonality there is here.