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.


 
 

 

Headlines October 17, 2014

News: Turkey OK’s American drones to fight ISIS - Turkey is now allowing the U.S. to launch unmanned aircraft to fly over Syria. But so far, traditional warplanes are out of the question. New Ingalls boss focusing on cost performance, agility - Brian Cuccias has been in the Gulf Coast shipbuilding business for 35 years, working for...
 
 

News Briefs October 17, 2014

AM General laying off 60 from Indiana factory A company spokesman says AM General is laying off about 60 workers from the northern Indiana factory where it builds military vehicles. Company spokesman Jeff Adams says the layoffs are being made because of production schedule changes at its Military Assembly Plant in Mishawaka. Adams tells the...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA, J. Lotz, (STScI

NASA’s Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy through cosmic magnifying glass

Image courtesy of NASA, J. Lotz, (STScI The mammoth galaxy cluster Abell 2744 is so massive that its powerful gravity bends the light from galaxies far behind it, making these otherwise unseen background objects appear larger a...
 

 
Northrop Grumman photograph by Alan Radecki

Second Northrop Grumman-built Triton UAS completes first flight

Northrop Grumman photograph by Alan Radecki The second MQ-4C Triton, built by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Navy, successfully completed its first flight Oct. 15 PALMDALE, Calif. – The U.S. Navy’s second MQ-4C Triton un...
 
 
NASA photograph

NASA TV to air Russian spacewalk from International Space Station

NASA photograph Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency will don Orlan spacesuits and step outside the International Space Station Oct. 22, to perform wor...
 
 
Raytheon photograph

Poland’s PIT-RADWAR signs letter of intent with Raytheon

Raytheon photograph Mike Shaughnessy, Vice President of Supply Chain, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and Jerzy Milosz, Member of Board and Director of R&D, PIT-RADWAR sign a letter of intent to explore further partners...
 




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>