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Aerojet Rocketdyne chooses Alabama as assembly site for new rocket engine

Aerojet Rocketdyne
A model of the rocket engine used in the Saturn V rocket sits in front of the entrance to the Aerojet Rocketdyne facility in Canoga Park on May 28, 2015.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Rocket engine manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne has chosen Huntsville, Ala., as its final assembly site for the new AR1 rocket engine, creating 100 new jobs in the area.

The company considered several locations for engine production, including its facility in Canoga Park, but ultimately choose Huntsville because of its proximity to final testing and rocket integration operations in Alabama, said Julie Van Kleeck, vice president of the company’s advanced space and launch business.

Alabama is already home to one of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s engineering facilities. The company’s defense business unit is also headquartered in Huntsville.

Canoga Park was ruled out as an assembly site because it would have required construction of an additional building at the company’s already-crowded facility, Van Kleeck said.

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However, all of the components for the AR1 engine, which will be powered by liquid oxygen and kerosene, will be made in Canoga Park. The engine is currently undergoing development and testing and is set to be ready by 2019. 

The firm’s parent company, Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc., is based in El Segundo.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is competing against Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin to develop an American engine for United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket.

samantha.masunaga@latimes.com

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Twitter: @smasunaga

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