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This company report from Aerojet General Corporation shows it in its prime as a defense and industrial contractor that also supported the U.S. space program. The Azusa plant where the company started is shown, along with the Nerva Nuclear Rocket Engine program, and various aspects of the company's production from ablative coatings to astrionics, oceanics and torpedo divisions, an anti-cavitation device known as a Hydrocket, the Ordnance Division in Downey that developed the Nike-Hercules ground to air missile and Thor Able system, the Chino Hills Facility with its special testing laboratories for metallurgic examination and creation of new alloys, and more. The aeronautic division is shown at 20 minutes developing the SD-2 multipurpose surveillance drone for the Army. (The Aerojet SD-2 Overseer was an unmanned aerial vehicle developed by Aerojet General in the late 1950s for use by the United States Army. Built in limited numbers, it never saw operational service.) At the 21 minute mark, Polaris Rocket motors are built as well as Minuteman motors and Hawk missile motors are shown being assembled. Parcel sorters and materials handling equipment are also shown at the 22 minute mark, in use with the Postal Service. Rocket test stands including the Saturn V rest stands are shown. The first test stand for nuclear rocket engines is also shown in model form, at the 23 minute mark. Aerojet's plants in Sacramento, the largest rocket engine facilities in the world, are shown at the 23 minute mark as well. Both the Titan I and Titan II engines are shown being flight tested at 24 minutes, and a full scale Titan I launch is shown at 25 minutes.

The Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA) was a U.S. nuclear thermal rocket engine development program that ran for roughly two decades. NERVA was a joint effort of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and NASA, managed by the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office (SNPO) until both the program and the office ended at the end of 1972.

Aerojet developed from a 1936 meeting hosted by Theodore von Kármán at his home. Joining von Kármán, who was at the time director of Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, were a number of Caltech professors and students, including rocket scientist and astrophysicist Fritz Zwicky and explosives expert Jack Parsons, all of whom were interested in the topic of spaceflight.

On March 19, 1942, the company was officially formed in Azusa, CA, known as Aerojet Engineering Corporation. The founders were Frank Malina, von Kármán, Parsons, Edward S. Forman, Martin Summerfield, and Andrew Haley. In 1943 the Army Air Forces finally placed a full order, demanding that 2000 be delivered before year's end. The company also invested in pure rocket research, developing both a liquid-fueled design and a new solid-fueled design based on a rubber binding agent in partnership with General Tire. In the immediate post-war era, Aerojet downsized dramatically, but their JATO units continued to sell for commercial aircraft operating in hot-and-high conditions.

Aerobee was the first US-designed rocket to reach space (albeit not orbit) and completed over 1,000 flights before it was retired in 1985. Aerojet designed and built a total of 1,182 engines for all four incarnations of the Titan rockets, which were used for civilian projects ranging from Gemini's manned flights to solar system explorations including Viking, Voyager, and Cassini. The newly formed US Air Force used Aerojet as the primary supplier on a number of their ICBM projects, including the Titan and Minuteman missiles. They also delivered propulsion systems for the US Navy's submarine-launched Polaris missile. A new plant was set up in Sacramento that took over most rocket construction, while the original Azusa offices returned primarily to research. One of Azusa's major projects was the development of the infra-red detectors for the Defense Support Program satellites, used to detect ICBM launches from space.

This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit


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