An AJ-60A booster, without nosecone attached, being fitted to an Atlas V
|Country of origin||USA|
|Used on||Atlas V|
|Height||17.0 m (669 in)|
|Diameter||1.6 m (62 in)|
|Gross mass||46,697 kg (102,949 lb)|
|Thrust||1,688.4 kN (379,600 lbf)|
|Burn time||94 seconds|
The AJ-60A rocket motor was developed between 1999 and 2003 for use on the Atlas V. In 2015, ULA announced that the Atlas V will switch to new GEM 63 boosters produced by Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. A stretched version of this booster will be used on the upcoming Vulcan rocket.
On January 19, 2006 the New Horizons spacecraft to Pluto was launched directly into a solar-escape trajectory at 16.26 kilometers per second (58,536 km/h; 36,373 mph) from Cape Canaveral using an Atlas V version with 5 of the these SRBs and Star 48B thirdstage . New Horizons passed the Moon's orbit in just nine hours.
AJ-60A is a solid fueled rocket burning HTPB. The casing is composed of a graphite epoxy composite, and the engine throat and nozzle are made of carbon-phenolic composite. As configured for use on Atlas V, the nozzle is fixed at a 3 degree cant away from the attachment point, but Aerojet offers a variant with thrust vectoring capability. The Atlas V configuration also features an inward slanting nosecone, but it is available with a conventional nosecone or none at all for use on other rockets. AJ-60A is the largest monolithic solid rocket motor currently in production. The stages are designed to be transported by truck.
- "Atlas V Solid Rocket Booster". Retrieved January 6, 2016.
- Jason Rhian (23 September 2015). "ULA selects Orbital ATK's GEM 63/63 XL SRBs for Atlas V and Vulcan boosters". Spaceflight Insider.
- Scharf, Caleb A. (February 25, 2013). "The Fastest Spacecraft Ever?". Scientific American. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- Neufeld, Michael (July 10, 2015). "First Mission to Pluto: The Difficult Birth of New Horizons". Smithsonian. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- "New Horizons: Mission Overview" (PDF). International Launch Services. January 2006. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- "Atlas V User's Guide 2010" (PDF). 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2016.