They say, "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out." But in the case of Aerojet Rocketdyne (formerly Aerojet-General Corp.), it actually did. Founded by a professor and his colleagues at Caltech, the company develops and makes propulsion systems for defense and space applications, including tactical missiles and space launch vehicles. It is the largest provider of propulsion systems in the US, serving the likes of the US Army, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and NASA. Aerojet Rocketdyne is a key subsidiary of GenCorp. In 2013 GenCorp acquired Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and merged it with Aerojet-General to form Aerojet Rocketdyne.
Change of Company Type
Aerojet's operations changed significantly in 2013 when parent company GenCorp acquired the space propulsion operations (Rocketdyne) belonging to Pratt & Whitney. GenCorp bought the operations for $550 million and combined Rocketdyne and Aerojet-General to form Aerojet Rocketdyne. The deal doubled the size and scope of Aerojet.
Aerojet operates about 15 manufacturing sites in 10 states across the US. It has three sales offices in Arlington, Virginia; Huntsville, Alabama; and Washington, DC. Internationally, it serves European customers through its Ireland-based subsidiary.
Aerojet's contributions to NASA's space shuttle program include orbital maneuvering system engines that provide thrust for critical in-flight maneuvers; reaction control system engines that help guide the orbiter to more than 30 International Space Station (ISS) dockings; and auxiliary power unit generators that support countdown and ascent milestones. Aerojet boasts more than 30 years of partnership with NASA.
Sales and Marketing
Aerojet Rocketdyne typically sells its propulsion products and components to major prime contractors like Lockheed Martin (28% of sales), United Launch Alliance (25%), and Raytheon (17%) that are, in turn, developing systems for US government entities like the US Department of Defense (DoD) and NASA (11%). It also occasionally serves these agencies directly.
Although broad support continues for the DoD and NASA through fiscal 2013, their budgets are under pressure due to cost impacts of the military operation halts in Afghanistan and a high US deficit. The NASA budget is authorized to grow modestly but may remain flat or even decline slightly due to calls for reduced federal spending. Because the US government accounts for more than 90% of its revenues, Aerojet's business performance is largely at the mercy of such budgetary decisions.