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. Chamber of Commerce photograph

Boeing, Embraer to collaborate on ecoDemonstrator technology tests

U.S. Chamber of Commerce photograph Frederico Curado, president & CEO of Embraer, and Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, at the Brazil-U.S. Business Summit in Washington, D.C. The event occurred during an offici...
 
 
LM-Legion

Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod™ takes to skies

Lockheed Martin photograph by Randy Crites Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod recently completed its first flight test, successfully tracking multiple airborne targets while flying on an F-16 in Fort Worth, Texas. Legion Pod was in...
 
 

Raytheon wins U.S. Army contract award

Will provide R&D for ground vehicles, ground robotics The U.S. Army Contracting Command ñ Warren recently awarded Raytheon the TACOM Strategic Service Solutions indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract. The five-year multiple-award vehicle has a ceiling value of $634 million. The agreement covers future work on sensors, fire control systems, active protection systems, and robotics...
 

 

Lockheed Martin’s EW pod delivers proven ability to protect, control electromagnetic spectrum

Lockheed Martin is testing an electronic warfare pod in the company’s advanced anechoic chamber. The pod is designed to fit a variety of platforms, and is a self-contained electronic warfare package, encompassing an entire suite of capabilities in one unit.  Electronic warfare is the art and science of controlling the electromagnetic spectrum—from jamming enemy communications...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph

Northrop, Navy successfully conduct E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aerial refueling CDR

Northrop Grumman photograph An E-2C test aircraft assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 conducts an aerial refueling dry-plug engagement with an F/A-18. Northrop Grumman along with the U.S. Navy have successfully...
 
 

Northrop, Navy celebrate legacy of EA-6B Prowler

Northrop Grumman photograph by Edgar Mills The U.S. Navy’s last operational EA-6B Prowler, designed and built by Northrop Grumman, lifts off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. in a ceremonial fly-away June 27 from its long time operational base. The Navy is retiring the Prowler after nearly 45 years of service.   The U.S....
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>