NASA is calling it the “first mission to the last planet.” And Aerojet’s Pete Cova says between 150 and 200 Sacramento-based employees helped develop, test and produce the spacecraft’s solid rocket boosters.
"It’s very exciting. This is a pretty big launch for us. It is the first time that we have 5 motors on this vehicle."
Cova says neighbors of Aerojet’s Sacramento site near Hazel Avenue and Highway 50 are familiar with the loud, steady roar of the rocket motors when their occasional test runs.
"We’ve done the majority of the qualification tests in Sacramento and that’s to prove out the design and verify the motor performance prior to going into full production."
The voyage to Pluto will take about 9-years. Scientists will use the spacecraft to study Pluto and its moon.