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.


 
 

 

U.S. Air Force completes operational testing on Raytheon’s MALD-J

Raytheon and the U.S. Air Force successfully completed operational tests of Miniature Air Launched Decoy-Jammer, satisfying all requirements to attain Initial Operational Capability. “MALD-J’s unique capabilities have been proven in 42 successful flight tests during the last two years and brought us closer to full rate production,” said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Raytheon...
 
 

Northrop Grumman to expand North Dakota presence

In partnership with local leadership, Northrop Grumman confirmed its dedication to the future of unmanned systems development in the Red River Valley region by signing a lease agreement to anchor the new Grand Sky Technology Park in Grand Forks County. Northrop Grumman is working to identify specialized opportunities for the Grand Sky facility. The opportunities,...
 
 

Raytheon awarded more than $2 billion for an International Patriot system

Raytheon announced April 17 it has been awarded a contract worth over $2.0 billion to deliver the combat-proven Patriot Air and Missile Defense System to an undisclosed international customer. The contract, awarded April 2, 2015, and booked in the second quarter as a direct commercial sale, includes fully digitized new-production Patriot fire units with the...
 

 
raytheon-tomahawk

Raytheon to test new multi-mode seeker for Tomahawk cruise missile

Using company-funded independent research and development investment, Raytheon is preparing for a multi-mode seeker test designed for a Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile. The captive flight test, using a modified Tomahawk Block ...
 
 

Boeing honors 15 suppliers for outstanding performance

Boeing is honoring 14 companies and one university with its 2014 Supplier of the Year awards, recognizing their superior performance in delivering high-quality products and services on time and at the promised cost. Strong performance and close collaboration with these award-winning suppliers helped Boeing exceed customers’ more-for-less expectations while also contributing to Boeing̵...
 
 
BAE-sub

Providing weapons engineering for U.S. Navy submarines

The U.S. Navy has awarded BAE Systems a three-year contract to provide engineering and other services to modernize weapon launch platforms on U.S. and allied submarines. The initial award from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center ...
 




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>