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The AR1 engine will provide America’s launch providers with an advanced all-U.S. engine that leap frogs the Russian RD-180, thanks to the dedicated work of AR1 team members such as Monica Jacinto, a Technical Fellow of Structural Alloys at Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Los Angeles facility. 

Not only did Jacinto co-invent MondaloyTM a nickel-based superalloy that’s critical to AR1 replacing the Russian RD-180 rocket  engine, but she’s guiding the Aerojet Rocketdyne teams that are fabricating components for AR1, including turbomachinery, combustion devices, preburners, heat exchangers and hot-gas manifolds.

From its first formulation in the mid-1990’s, Jacinto has watched Aerojet Rocketdyne support development of MondaloyTM through internal company funding and public-private partnerships with the U.S. Air Force.  Jacinto has celebrated each milestone, most recently the first use of Mondaloy 200TM in an advanced rocket engine environment.  It was a significant achievement under the Hydrocarbon Boost program, which is advancing domestic rocket engine technologies in support of next-generation launch systems.

In those tests, which were conducted earlier this year, Aerojet Rocketdyne and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) successfully ran the oxygen-rich staged combustion sub-scale pre-burner at full power and full duration.  Demonstration of Mondaloy 200TM, which was co-developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne and AFRL, was a critical step to proving the unique combination of high-strength and burn resistance necessary for hardware survival in the harsh environment of an advanced oxygen-rich staged combustion engine, according to the AFRL.  It also removes the need to use exotic coatings inside the engine such as those used in the Russian RD-180 engine.

Jacinto is also leading all Aerojet Rocketdyne large liquid rocket engine oxygen-compatibility efforts, such as combustion testing, particle impact testing, and friction ignition testing.  She’s working closely with AR engine development teams to understand where there could be oxygen-compatibility concerns in their designs.  Having materials that are able to handle the harsh environment created by an oxygen-rich staged combustion engine cycle is a key part of our overall AR1 design effort. 

“It’s very rewarding to see MondaloyTM performing to design parameters in these tests,” said Jacinto. “Each success puts us closer to our ultimate goal of using Mondaloy in an advanced, affordable all-U.S. rocket engine.”

Jacinto’s career with Aerojet Rocketdyne spans 28 years, with her efforts focused on research & development to find affordable materials and solutions for world-class rocket engines.  She has an extensive background leading diverse, integrated teams.

Jacinto holds two bachelor’s degrees from Columbia University in New York, and a master’s degree in Materials Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

She mentors the next-generation of engineers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); speaks at high schools, universities and career conferences for young students; has volunteered for Great Minds in STEM, a non-profit that promotes STEM careers in underserved communities; is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles; and co-chairs the Joint Army Navy NASA Air Force (JANNAF) Advanced Materials Panel.

Jacinto enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, snowboarding and rollerblading.  She also has a passion for cooking; creatively mixing ingredients to develop innovative new cuisine—much like her development of MondaloyTM.