A new engine developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in Canoga Park powered a Delta IV heavy rocket taking a U.S. government satellite into orbit on June 29.

The RS-68A engine is a modified version of the RS-68 and has 39,000 more pounds of thrust than the original. The RS-68 was developed for commercial use with company funds.

During hot-fire tests, the RS-68A engine demonstrated the ability to operate for 4,800 seconds of cumulative run time - more than 10 times what's needed to boost the Delta IV heavy rocket into space.

“This launch is testament to the reliability of our propulsion systems, and the capabilities of the talented people who make them a reality,” said Steve Bouley, vice president, Launch Vehicle & Hypersonic Systems, in a prepared statement.

Mark R. Madler