Skip to main content

Style: Folsom | El Dorado Hills

Aerojet Rocketdyne Promoting The Martian Movie Release with Q&A in Sacramento

Sep 23, 2015 04:37PM ● Published by David Norby

photo by nikonomad/

Journey to Mars Underway at Aerojet Rocketdyne

The highly anticipated film, The Martian, is being released in theaters nationwide on Oct. 2.  Though the movie is a fictional adaptation of the book by the same name, the technologies currently being developed to send humans to Mars in the 2030s are very real. Experts from Aerojet Rocketdyne are available to speak to the media regarding the progress currently underway to send humans to Mars.

WHAT: Aerojet Rocketdyne is currently working on key technologies that will be used to take humans to the surface of the red planet. These technologies include:

  • Space Launch System (SLS): Currently in-development, SLS is an advanced rocket that will be more capable than any existing launch vehicle and is slated for its first launch in 2018. This rocket will send humans and supplies on their journey to Mars.  SLS uses the sophisticated RS-25 engine to power its core stage.  The RS-25 engine was designed and built by Aerojet Rocketdyne in California; it is assembled at the company’s facility at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
  • Orion Spacecraft: Humans will be carried into deep space by the Orion capsule aboard the SLS. The propulsion systems built by Aerojet Rocketdyne for Orion, include the Orion main engine, twelve thrusters for the crew module, eight thrusters on the service module and a jettison motor on the launch all built in Sacramento California and Redmond, Washington. We like to say, we provide propulsion for Orion from “liftoff to splashdown.” The Orion capsule’s first test flight was in December 2014. 
  • Solar Electric Propulsion: The journey to Mars is long and will require months’ worth of supplies for the crew. These supplies need to be pre-positioned in advance of the crews, and Solar Electric Propulsion technology presently used to keep communication satellites in proper orbit will be a key enabler to send supplies affordably to Mars.  Aerojet Rocketdyne’s team in Redmond, Washington currently builds SEP systems for satellites. 

WHO: Joe Cassady is a board member of Explore Mars, a non-profit space-exploration organization, as well as Aerojet Rocketdyne’ s executive director for space  He is an expert on propulsion systems and the architectural designs needed to visit Mars.  Mr. Cassady is based in the company’s Washington, DC office.

Jim Paulsen is the vice president for program execution for Advanced Space & Launch Programs at Aerojet Rocketdyne.  He oversees the development of the RS-25 engines, which will power SLS. He is located in the company’s Los Angeles, California facility. 

Sam Wiley is Aerojet Rocketdyne’s program director for human space development. He oversees development of the Orion spacecraft’s propulsion systems. Mr. Wiley is based in the company’s Sacramento, California office.

Roger Myers is the executive director for advanced in-space programs at Aerojet Rocketdyne.  Dr. Myers is based in Redmond, Washington, where he specializes in mission architectures for near-Earth, cis-lunar and Mars exploration. 

Jay Littles is Aerojet Rocketdyne’s director of advance launch programs and an expert on additive manufacturing, or 3D printing technology, for launch vehicle booster engines and satellite thrusters. Dr. Littles is based out of the company’s Huntsville, Alabama offices. 

WHEN: Our experts are available now until Oct 2nd for telephone and on-camera interviews

HOW: Please contact Mary Engola 703-236-1256, or Carri Karuhn 818-586-4963, to schedule an interview.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is an innovative company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense markets. The company is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets.  Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne can be obtained by visiting our websites at and

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to the Style - Folsom El Dorado Hills free newsletter to stay informed

Community Technology mars aerojet