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Ball Aerospace’s Satellite for NASA GPIM Mission Arrives in Florida

By | June 21, 2019
An aerospace engineering performing final checks before the GPIM satellite was shipped to Florida. Photo: Ball Aerospace

An aerospace engineering performing final checks before the GPIM satellite was shipped to Florida. Photo: Ball Aerospace

A Ball Aerospace satellite used for NASA‘s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) is ready for launch, scheduled for no earlier than June 24 on board a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Ball built the small satellite, which contains NASA’s first opportunity to demonstrate a new “green” propellant and propulsion system in orbit — an alternative to conventional chemical propulsion systems.

As the prime contractor for GPIM, Ball Aerospace is responsible for system engineering; flight thruster performance verification; ground and flight data review; spacecraft bus; assembly, integration and test; and launch and flight support. The spacecraft bus is the smallest of the Ball Configurable Platform (BCP) satellites, which is about the size of a mini refrigerator, and was assembled in 46 days.

“GPIM has the potential to inspire new ideas and new missions, which could mean smaller spacecraft, faster and easier ground processing, longer design lives and more,” said Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace. “Ball is also developing small satellites for two other NASA missions — the Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) and the Spectro Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) missions.”