Tuesday April 1, 2014 0 commentsBOULDER - Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. and Aerojet Rocketdyne announced they have exceeded the technical range objective for the main thruster that will fly aboard the Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM).
The mission will demonstrate in a space environment that a "green" propellant known as AF-M315E can be used to replace the highly toxic hydrazine and complex bi-propellant systems currently in use.
"This is an exciting program that will enhance both future spacecraft performance and U.S. competitiveness," said Jim Oschmann, Ball Aerospace Civil Space and Technologies VP and GM.
"The new propellant technology, once demonstrated on GPIM, will raise both the 22 Newton and 1 Newton class AF-M315E thruster readiness for flight, enabling safer and less-costly space missions with significant enhanced in-space propulsion performance."
Ball said the GPIM team demonstrated in a lab environment that the 22 Newton class thruster running AF-M135E propellant had an enhanced operation range over traditional hydrazine used in spacecraft. The test continuously demonstrated that the thruster had enough force to go as high as 27 Newtons and scale down to 4 Newtons.
"The expanded operational range exemplifies the performance benefits provided by the AF-M315E, which enable a broad range of applications from low-Earth orbit to deep space and facilitate infusion across the marketplace," said Roger Myers, executive director of Electric Propulsion and Integrated Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne.