HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - After almost two years of construction, Aerojet Rocketdyne held a ribbon cutting Friday of a brand new 136,000 square foot advanced manufacturing facility.
The relationship between Aerojet Rocketdyne and the city of Huntsville began more than 50 years ago, but now the company is making a big investment in the rocket city.
Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO Eileen Drake says the facility will be used primarily for defense work but it will take part in some space manufacturing.
"We also do some of the work for our RS-25 booster engine that will be for the space launch system in support of NASA so it is some space work and some defense work," says Drake.
The company is relocating operations from both Sacramento, California and Gainesville, Virginia to Huntsville. The Huntsville facility will now be home of their defense headquarters. Mayor Tommy Battle says it is a historic moment for the city.
"This is Huntsville's first defense headquarters," he says.
In 2017 Aerojet Rocketdyne had 70 Huntsville employees. Now they have more than 400 and they say they are expecting to employ more people as the company brings in new programs.
Governor Kay Ivey also attended the celebration and said the opening was "A giant step for Alabama as well as for the future in aerospace and defense sector."
The facility will produce advanced propulsion products such as solid rocket motor cases and other hardware for the Standard Missile-3, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System, and other U.S. defense and space programs.
Aerojet Rocketdyne says the Huntsville expansion and advanced manufacturing facility are part of the company's competitive improvement program, aimed at reducing costs and increasing operational efficiency.