Founded in 1955 as a division of North American Aviation (NAA), Rocketdyne was a rocket engine design and production company. Through mergers and acquisitions, it was later a part of both North American Rockwell and Boeing. It became defunct in 2005 when Boeing sold the asset to United Technologies Corporation. Now owned by GenCorp, it functions as part of Aerojet Rocketdyne, a rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer.
Through its association first with NAA and later with both Rockwell and Boeing, Rocketdyne served as a major supplier for the manned spaceflight program. It built engines for all three stages of the Saturn V launch vehicle as well as the Apollo Lunar Module. The division also produced liquid rocket boosters for Titan rockets, some of which NASA used to launch spacecrafts for Project Gemini. In 1971, Rocketdyne won a contract to develop the main engine for the Space Shuttle Orbiter. Although the Space Shuttle program retired in 2011, NASA plans to use the engine—now known as the Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25—for the Space Shuttle’s successor, the Space Launch System. In November 2015, NASA awarded Aerojet Rocketdyne a contract worth $1.16 billion to manufacture the product. The Space Launch System will use four RS-25 engines to launch the Orion spacecraft on deep space missions to asteroids in lunar orbit and ultimately Mars.