ATK, the nation’s largest rocket motor producer, has successfully completed the first U.S.-based testing of the High Performance Green Propulsion thruster technology for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
The testing was conducted at ATK Defense Group’s test facility in Elkton, Md., in April 2013.
The ATK test facility is capable of assessing high-fidelity performance and operability features of the HPGP thruster technology, which is intended to be used for a wide range of attitude control/space maneuverability propulsion. HPGP is a green propulsion alternative that has been flight-proven in space to provide increased performance over traditional hydrazine propulsion technology. By comparison, HPGP is significantly safer and more cost-effective in terms of storage, material handling, transportation and launch-site processing.
“The collaboration of NASA GSFC and ATK to validate HPGP thruster technology enables the development of green propellant options, which hold promise for demonstrating higher performance, cost-effectiveness and the reduction of health and safety impacts to personnel and the environment,” said Dr. Christyl Johnson, NASA GSFC deputy director for Technology and Research Investments.
“We are pleased to support NASA GSFC in the maturation process of the HPGP thruster technology in the U.S.,” said Cary Ralston, vice president and general manager of ATK’s Missile Products division. “We are dedicated to making certain our products deliver mission-assured performance, improved safety and reduced life-cycle cost.”
ATK is licensed in the U.S. to sell HPGP thrusters and fuel originally developed by ECAPS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Swedish Space Corporation. ECAPS has a long, successful track record in the areas of design, manufacturing, testing and integration of HPGP thrusters and complete liquid propulsion systems.
ATK’s test facility in Elkton, Md., provides testing of existing HPGP thrusters, development testing of new HPGP thrusters and on-site propellant blending capability.