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Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s Space Shuttle Main Engines Propel Japanese Laboratory to International Space Station


CANOGA PARK, Calif. – Three Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Space Shuttle Main Engines powered the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center today on Mission STS-123 to the International Space Station. STS-123 is the 25th mission to the ISS, delivering part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) module and marking the beginning of JAXA’s permanent presence on the station. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. [NYSE:UTX] company.

The Japanese experiment logistics module, pressurized section, is only one part of JAXA’s contribution to the ISS, the other being the pressurized module and robotic arm of the Japanese experiment module, which will be delivered to the ISS in the next shuttle mission. Together, the two stages will make up “Kibo” -- Japanese for hope -- to complete the station’s Japanese complex. This follows the recent installation of the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory delivered by Space Shuttle Atlantis in February.

“We are very proud to help NASA and JAXA successfully set the cornerstone for international space exploration,” said Jim Paulsen, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) program manager. “And we’re especially proud to be able to provide the absolute best in rocket engine propulsion to get our astronauts there and back safely.”

After getting the JAXA module installed, the astronauts will conduct a spacewalk to attach the Canadian Space Agency’s newest contribution to the station, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator or Dextre. Dextre has two small robotic arms and will be attached to the station’s robotic arm, Candarm2, and in future missions will allow astronauts to replace hardware outside the station without performing a spacewalk.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has provided the SSMEs since the first shuttle mission in 1981. The SSME is the world’s only fully reusable high-performance rocket engine. Each SSME is capable of producing a half-million pounds of thrust in space.


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