Rocketdyne has yet another new owner

rocketdyne.jpg It's GenCorp., which has purchased the Canoga Park-based rocket maker for $550 million. No big surprise - United Technologies has had Rocketdyne on the block for several months. Actually, you can trace much of the U.S. aerospace business by the companies that have owned Rocketdyne over the years.

--Rocketdyne is formed after World War II by North American Aviation, one of the nation's major airplane manufacturers. From Boeing history:

After Rocketdyne was established as a separate division by North American Aviation in 1955, it used the Santa Susana Field Laboratory for tests and was headquartered on 56 acres in Canoga Park, near Los Angeles, Calif. During 1956, Rocketdyne delivered its first Atlas, Thor and Jupiter engines, and a Redstone engine sent a Jupiter C rocket to an unprecedented altitude of 682 miles. The division began as North American's Technical Research Laboratory after World War II to develop guided missiles and to test Germany's V-2 missile at the company's Los Angeles facility. This experience helped North American win the contract to build the Navaho intercontinental supersonic cruise missile for the U.S. Air Force.

--In 1955, NAA spins off Rocketdyne into a separate division. By then, its A-5 engine had been used in missile design.

--By 1965, almost 16,000 people worked for the division in Southern California.

--In 1967, NAA and Rocketdyne merges with Rockwell Corporation to form North American Rockwell.

--In 1996, Rockwell International is acquired by Boeing.

--In 2005, Boeing sells the company to Pratt & Whitney, which merged it with Pratt & Whitney Space Propulsion to form Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne - a subsidiary of United Technologies.

--In March 2012, United Technologies puts Rocketdyne up for sale as a way of helping fund the acquisition of Goodrich Corp.

--On Monday, United Technologies announces an agreement to sell Rocketdyne to Sacramento-based GenCorp for about $550 million.

Consolidation among rocket makers is all but inevitable given the increased competition for space-related business. From Reuters:

Defense consultant Jim McAleese said the deal with GenCorp was significant because it would help preserve "a critical, but atrophying, capability since Rocketdyne's liquid rocket engines power both the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle and NASA's Manned Spaceflight." He said he did not expect much objection to the deal since it would "immediately strengthen competition, by creating two strong competitors for liquid and solid rocket engines," the combined Aerojet-Rocketdyne business and Alliant Techsystems. "This is exactly the type of modest consolidation that (the U.S. Department of Defense) has been publicly seeking to increase competition and reduce overhead, which could not be more timely given the growing threat of sequestration," McAleese said, referring to $500 billion in defense spending cuts that could come in January.

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
Recent Aerospace stories:
Why they keep flying into Santa Monica airport
Morley Builders says CEO and son were in SMO crash
Deaths in jet crash at Santa Monica airport
Boeing to end C-17 production in Long Beach
How much longer can C-17 production last in Long Beach?

New at LA Observed
On the Media Page
Go to Media

On the Politics Page
Go to Politics
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook