Business

July 10, 2013

Ball Aerospace, Aerojet Rocketdyne complete thruster test for ‘green’ spacecraft fuel

A Green Propellant Infusion Mission technician prepares for 22 Newton firing test.

Ball Aerospace and Aerojet Rocketdyne have met the first milestone in demonstrating a more environmentally friendly spacecraft fuel by completing an end-to-end checkout of the 22 Newton thruster required for NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission.

Ball is leading an industry and government team that will develop and fly the GPIM to demonstrate a high-performance, non-toxic fuel alternative to conventional hydrazine. This will bridge the gap between characterizing the functionality of an integrated propulsion system, and the technology development needed for eventual use of green propellant in space.

The milestone is significant because the 22 Newton thruster will fire simultaneously along with four smaller 1N thrusters to initiate orbit inclination changes and altitude changes. It is also critical for GPIM’s eventual de-orbit upon mission completion.

“The successful first firing of the thruster proves we have the right technology for the mission and are on track for flight development,” said Civil Space and Technologies Vice President and General Manager of Ball, Jim Oschmann.  ”Ball and Aerojet Rocketdyne are demonstrating the innovation needed to develop a fully domestic green propellant solution for the next generation of space flight.”

As the prime contractor and principal investigator, Ball collaborates with a team of co-investigators from Aerojet Rocketdyne, NASA Glenn Research Center, NASA Kennedy Space Center and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base, with additional mission support from the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Kirkland Air Force Base.

This is the first time the nation will use a spacecraft to test green propellant technology. The mission propellant, a Hydroxyl Ammonium Nitrate fuel/oxidizer blend, or AF-M315E, offers nearly 50 percent better performance when compared to traditional hydrazine.  Green fuel alternatives also reduce environmental impact and operational hazards, improve launch processing capabilities, increase payload capacity, enhance spacecraft maneuverability and make longer duration missions possible.

“This thruster test is a crucial step toward infusing this green spacecraft propulsion technology into a wide range of government and commercial missions,” said Roger Myers, Aerojet Rocketdyne executive director Electric Propulsion and Integrated Systems.  “Its applications are diverse and its impact on performance will make green propellant a leading choice for future space missions.”

GPIM is a Technology Demonstration Mission under the leadership of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.  The green propulsion system will fly aboard a Ball Configurable Platform 100 spacecraft bus.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
raptors4

Raptors, Falcons fuel up in desert skies

Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Wash., during Red Flag 14-3, Ju...
 
 
lm-kmax

Lockheed Martin’s unmanned cargo helicopter team returns from deployment

After lifting more than 4.5 million pounds of cargo and conducting thousands of delivery missions for the U.S. Marine Corps, the Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace Corporation K-MAX cargo unmanned aircraft system has returned ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler

Sun sets on Red Flag 14-3

Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler The sun sets behind a row of F-16 Fighting Falcons during Red Flag 14-3, July 16, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides a series of intense air-to-air combat scenario...
 

 
Image courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Satellite study reveals parched U.S. West using up underground water

Image courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation The Colorado River Basin lost nearly 53 million acre feet of freshwater over the past nine years, according to a new study based on data from NASA’s GRACE mission. This is almost d...
 
 

SPEEA files age discrimination charge against Boeing

After months of investigation, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, IFPTE Local 2001, charged Boeing with age discrimination. Acting on behalf of SPEEA-represented engineers, the union filed the third-party charges July 23 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Washington State Human Rights Commission. The evidence is overwhelming that Boeing hatched...
 
 

NASA selects contract for mission support services at Ames

NASA has selected Wyle Laboratories, Inc., Houston, to support NASA’s flight programs and mission projects, providing support for multiple sustained project management, research and technology development capabilities that encompass all phases of mission and project lifecycles at the agency’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. The cost-plus-fixed-fee hybrid contract has a...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>