Aerojet Rocketdyne – Historic Rocket Engine Maker Sold for $4.4 Billion

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Through the history of the US space program there have been 2 corporations which made most of the rocket engines for the boosters – Aerojet and Rocketdyne. Up until 10 years ago it was hard to find a space mission they hadn’t provided hardware for. Nowadays it’s hard to find a rocket booster which uses their engines.
Aerojet-Rocketdyne was created in 2013 out of a merger of these and over the weekend it was announced that Lockheed Martin is buying this historic company.
So I figured it’d be worth talking about these organizations and how important they’ve been to the space program in the past, and how they may be losing out in the booster market but still keep providing space hardware for other niches.

History of Aerojet Rocketdyne from their own site:

Here’s a list of US rocket engines with their manufacturers:

  1. Alex Romo

    cool maybe they can finally clean up Santa Susana Field Laboratory

  2. roidroid

    Old American mil-space industry eats itself a bit more.

  3. Jon Tipping

    Whoohoo! A rocket powered Ercoupe.

  4. Wayne Thompson

    A lot of great information. Thanks for sharing with us!

  5. Johnny Thunder

    Holy crap they make Electric propulsion as good as it is in KSP!?

  6. SteveEarl

    No matter. At least Probodobodyne will never disappear


    Back in the early ’70s I worked for a company that made rocket nozzles for Aerojet General.

  8. Rich B

    Yes Lockheed sees all the lucrative US Military contracts as where the value is at.

  9. Matthew Booth

    The company name is also straight out of the Jetsons.

  10. hell maclaine

    Wait a sec, theres the virus though. Its almost as if they are assured everything is going to go ahead as normal. Hmmm

  11. Galileo Chiu

    Reat in peace old sport

  12. Dennis Stolwijk

    Scott, your The Expanse books are out of order on the shelf… tut tut tut :P

  13. FrogMan

    Old ending music back on yoopiiiiiie ! <3

  14. Strike Raid

    If we just talk about liquid engines, don’t forget Reaction Motors from long ago, and then Thiokol (yes they did build at least one liquid engine), and TRW of all things. Thing about the AJ-10; it actually predates the Vanguard. The Aerobee used that motor and even the WAC Corporal engine is the engine the AJ-10 was developed directly from. So that particular engine spans the entirety of US liquid rocket history, and shows no sign of ending. It may end up outlasting the B-52.

  15. PsychoLucario

    “The price should come down [on the RS-25]” ya sure, that’s not exactly what it was made for but sure lets keep thinking that since SLS isn’t just a way to slush cash into the hands of certain political donors


    They just keep building engines. Suspiciously creative and efficient.

  17. petomni

    Would love to see a video on the X3 hall thrusters you mentioned here!

  18. moto450r

    Lockheed Martin, a defense contractor, is positioning itself for Space Force contracts.

  19. David Badt

    11 mins, pure content, no midrolls. God bless Scott Manley and the great work he does.

  20. Wesley Ashley

    They probably got some strange looks when they said the rocket engines were made by General tire so they had to change the name.

  21. NuclearMedicineman

    Damn. I wanted to get that for Christmas, but it was a bit out of my price range.. I was hoping to pick it up on sale after the holidays.

  22. Thomas Nixon

    I used to make parts for them mainly a filter that cooled the fuel

  23. Roland Lawrence

    1:08 men back in the day. smoking while working on rocket motors!

  24. Colton Burge

    Aerojet built the largest solid rocket and tested it my hometown of homestead fl. My parents said when they tested the rocket at night it would light up all of homestead and the Everglades

  25. Mohamad El-Kara

    Not gonna lie, the first 10 seconds I was afraid you were going to reach out and give me a headbutt…

  26. Joshua Bishop

    The man knows his engines! Thank you Scott for the energy and information you put into your channel!

  27. Edward Schoenman

    My brother was Aerojet General——Gencorp. They sold him today. Sad!

  28. Loanword Eggcorn

    Another wonderful history! Thanks Scott!
    In the big picture, Lockheed Martin is saving the Aeroet Rocketdyne intellectual property from dying due to being outcompeted by SpaceX and to a much lesser extent Blue Origin.

  29. Greg Strosnider

    I have 30 shares of AJRD. I’m happy with the slight profit.

  30. TheDeckinator

    Yay. Now they have more stuff and they get more money.

  31. Matt Horkan

    I have seen via the discipline of trespassing Aerojets saturn V alternative with my own eyes ;)

  32. James

    Scrambling to acquire competitors to keep pace with SpaceX.

  33. ThirteenthAndy

    I happen to be watching this just down the street from Aerojet Rocketdyne right now.

  34. madjedi22

    As a space nerd, I both love and absolutely DESPISE SLS.

  35. AeroCraft

    1:19 Finally found a good use for an Ercoupe 😂

  36. Chris Serfas

    Government funded dinosaur. I work there. No youth, no excitement. Geniuses yes, but old.

  37. Rowdy Yates

    In the game of Jeopardy, it’s not so important to score big on Daily Doubles as it is to keep them away from your opponents, so that they cannot.

  38. Joseph Astier

    I think someone noticed that SpaceX and Rocket Lab were rolling their own engines and decided that it was time to sell out.

  39. Bram Moerman

    Wow. An aercoupe with JATO bottles. I’m surprised it held together.

  40. crash6674

    seems like a great idea to consolidate the few company’s even more

  41. Richie's Little Thunder

    Always wondered what happened to “The Hood” after Thunderbirds……

  42. Andrew Malin

    Raytheon and Hughes have been in bed together since the ’70’s. I know, me mum worked for Hughes.. Do a video of these two corps. Very interesting video today. Check it out!

  43. shaun

    Merry Christmas, you’ve been a gem over the lockdown!

  44. Sam Barnum

    Would love to see an infographic of timelines of US rocket companies, including what they made/make and when they merged etc.

  45. Oliver F

    I recently watched “Strange Angel” on CBS, (a drama about Jack Parson’s, one of Aerojet’s founders). It’s a little out there, but still a great watch… Anyone else on here seen it?

  46. Falk macht Sachen

    Still their company name sounds like a Bond villain’s company.

  47. Tubajock2

    im surprised that was allowed to happen, with a reduction in competitors in the DoD field

  48. Frederick Kaludis

    Scott we were shock by this e own shares of Aerojet been stocks been paying poorly but we hung in there. Happy now but owed it.

  49. MeMad Max

    $4.4 billion… thats it?
    Hard times man…

  50. Mike Nichols

    Former Rocketdyne employee from the Boeing years here.

  51. DaveWhiteInYoFace

    Hi Scott! I always wondered why the thermo electric generators are always mounted at what looks like a 45 degree angle?

  52. Helium Road

    Lockheed Martin is also working on fusion power. With the advanced technology of both companies, we may be closer to an Epstein Drive.

  53. Steve Robbins

    Ha, ha! I worked there when it was just Rocketdyne, and then for a few years after Boeing bought it. After I left it was sold to Pratt and Whitney, then sold again to Aerojet, and now sold for a forth time!!! Good luck Lockheed Martin!!!

  54. MarkTheShark

    Missed opportunity for a Scott Manley-Company Man collab

  55. Swankdaddy

    30 years ago when deciding a major. Aerospace engineering was most interesting … thought about that really hard. Decide Petroleum engineering had the most potential for employment. No regrets … but still love aerospace.

  56. Alex Rossouw

    Half a Kg of thrust for a plasma engine is just what I needed to hear

  57. TheInsaneupsdriver

    Lockheed also bought the rights to the reaction engines precooler! that is the key part in air breathing rockets! and got the contract for the 1 hour attack plane, that can hit any target on earth in a hour. whether its possible or not is unknown yet…

  58. Space Cowboy

    Just how big are we going to let Lockheed Martin get?

  59. Madhulika Madhu

    RIP Rocketdyne, you may be dead but will forever be in the minds of us enthusiasts

  60. HorribleHarry

    Here in the “valley” watching all the space industry moving from Southern California. Heartbreaking watching the old building being demolished.

  61. Lester Gillis

    “Sooner or later you’ll own Generals”.

  62. CheshireTomcat68

    1:11 100%, no wait…75% reliable. That’ll do.

  63. Justyn Zachariou

    I stand by the opinion that Aerojet Rocketdyne is one of the coolest company names ever.

  64. Luci Feric

    “Our Business is death and business is good”

  65. Lieven Petersen

    SLS: State sanctioned Longterm employment Scheme

  66. NozomuYume

    As far as historical products, don’t forget Aerojet-General Nucleonics that made small nuclear reactors, one of which I’ve had the privilege to work with. xD

  67. Cby 0530

    “The Aj10 was one of those engines that popped up everywhere”
    Right on. It’s almost omnipresent across all of space history.

  68. Greg K

    The military industrial complex continues to consolidate so as to more effectively over-charge.

  69. Rico Reyes

    Just to get a feel for how big a billion is:
    1 million seconds is about 11.5 days
    1 billion seconds is about 32 years

  70. Zeyerv

    For some reason everything that Scott tells feels like he was there and make you feel like you are there aswell

  71. John La Duke

    I do believe RKO is who made the late-night double-feature picture-show. You know, the science fiction double feature.

  72. Ventura

    I wonder how much stimulus money Lockheed received. Probably made this an almost free acquisition.

  73. Pato Martin

    Ayyyee let’s monopolize the launch vehicle market some more

  74. Masada1911

    I really don’t like the endless consolidations and mergers.

  75. ThatKoukiZ31

    Scott, sometimes it’s hard for me to take you seriously when you say “fly safe” because some of the first videos I saw from you were putting kerbals in questionable rockets and every one of them exploding.
    Ahh either way I enjoy how you change the sign off every time!

  76. Kenny Phillips

    JATO on an Ercoupe … priceless!

  77. Tom George

    Can we just take a moment to appreciate how boomer America the name Aerojet Rocketdyne is. (in a good/nostalgic way)

  78. burnout10567

    I was very surprised how much the nuclear generators look like their kerbal counterparts

  79. Imagine A World

    Thats half the price of the webb telescope :(

  80. Eldar Shamukhamedov

    “The biggest… second biggest now provider in the US.” Took a second for my brain to process that and realize that, of course, SpaceX is by far the biggest provider at this point. Somehow I still think of them as the underdog.

  81. dimezreconB4

    Well, this is gonna suck.

  82. PsychoLucario

    ya I can’t see any issue with Lockheed owning Boeing’s engine manufacturer for SLS

  83. PsychoLucario

    AJ’s problem was they demanded the government fund development of any new engine back 10 years ago and everybody ignored them because times were changing

  84. Slotmech

    Aerojet has been keeping costs down and reasonable, only to be bought by Lockheed Martin. Great.😱😔

  85. ҳҲ̸Ҳ̸ҳ

    I could have bought Aerojet Rocketdyne if I had received stimuls like Lockheed Martin for nothing .

  86. GURken

    Another step towards Militech. Soon these guys from Arasaka will know what is a true power.

  87. __

    damn the family tree of american aerospace companies must just look like one big doughnut…

  88. Brian Ganger

    My father worked for Rocketdyne right after he got out of college doing rocket engine work, he was a Rocket Propulsion/Aeronautical engineer.

  89. Kirk Eby

    Can’t wait for “Boeing Dyne Northrup Heed” to be formed.

  90. NoobPilot831

    The last thing we need is less competition

  91. avi8r66

    This also adds to the Lockheed patent arsenal.

  92. wyattcon11

    Oh good, This will consolidate my job application rejections through Lockheed now.

  93. catfish552

    Oh no! Is this gonna be the end of “Aerofat Rocketswine” jokes?

  94. Patrick's Music

    I can’t imagine all of the politics involved in acquiring a company like aerojet rocketdyne. So many policy issues

  95. freeman239

    Another acquisition to bulk up the giant tax sponge.

  96. Cowboy Bob

    1:07 Working on a rocket motor with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.

  97. Austin Trammell

    Only gonna get more expensive with less competition. Pretty damn hard to get a space company up and running.

  98. Quazar501

    The military industrial complex: ” :D

  99. Faron Cobb

    Eventually this will be merged with the ULA and and the Orbital ATK bits that Northrup Grumman owns to form a single company that can be called OldSpace. It will be very successful at getting government contracts and will occasionally even deliver hardware.

  100. Aeredhael Redfalen

    I used to have a neighbor who retired from there. He had a T-shirt that read “Aerojet Rocketdyne” on the back, and the front said “Why yes, I AM a rocket scientist!” Cool guy, lots of stories.

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