Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has been awarded a contract from NASA to lead a government-industry team in the demonstration of an alternative fuel option for future space vehicles.
The Ball team will develop and fly the Green Propellant Infusion Mission to demonstrate a high-performance, non-toxic fuel alternative to conventional hydrazine.
The mission will demonstrate and characterize the functionality of an integrated propulsion system to bridge the gap between technology development and actual use of green propellant in space.
Ball Aerospace is the prime contractor for the GPIM along with team co-investigators from the Aerojet Corporation, the Glenn Research Center, Ohio, and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., with additional mission support from the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Kirkland Air Force Base, N.M., and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. GPIM is a Technology Demonstration Mission under the leadership of NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist.
“Ball is well known for innovative technology solutions and proud to be in partnership with OCT to advance space technology,” said David L. Taylor, Ball Aerospace president and CEO. “This mission brings together a government-industry team from multiple agencies to develop a fully domestic green propellant solution for the next generation of space flight.”
The GPIM will be developed over the next three years and launched in 2015. The purpose of employing green fuel alternatives is to reduce environmental impact and operational hazards, and improve launch processing capabilities. While the current use of hydrazine is efficient, the fuel is highly toxic and dangerous to transport. The GPIM demonstration will provide the aerospace community with a new system-level capability for future missions using a green alternative.