Ball Aerospace & Technologies has submitted its mission concept study to NASA for demonstrating solar electric propulsion technologies in space.
Ball Aerospace was one of five companies awarded up to $600,000 by NASA in September 2011, to formulate a mission concept to demonstrate the solar electric propulsion technologies, capabilities, and infrastructure required for sustainable and affordable human presence in space. NASA will use the studies to plan and implement a future flight demonstration mission to test and validate those science technologies and capabilities.
“Ball Aerospace recognizes the mission enabling aspect of solar electric propulsion and our customer needs for SEP solutions,” said Cary Ludtke, vice president of Ball’s Civil and Operational Space business unit. “We believe we’re the right-sized company with the right capabilities to take this space technology to the next level.”
The current study focused on developing concepts that will be using technology at NASA Technology Readiness Level 5 or greater. Ball’s mission concept supports NASA’s goal to elevate SEP technologies in order to create more efficient and powerful solar-powered flight systems. Ball Aerospace worked with several companies to create an implementable solar electronic technology demonstration mission for NASA including: ATK Space Systems, Busek Co. Inc., Deployable Space Systems, Gray Research Inc., and the Southwest Research Institute.