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Ball Aerospace, Aerojet Rocketdyne Green Propellant Test Results Surpass Expectations

By Katie Kriz | April 1, 2014
      GPIM satellite Ball Aerospace

      GPIM satellite. Photo: Ball Aerospace

      [Via Satellite 04-01-2014] Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation and Aerojet Rocketdyne have exceeded the technical range objective for the main thruster that will fly aboard the Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM). The mission will demonstrate the use of green propellant AF M315E in a space environment. This propellant is intended to replace the toxic hydrazine and bi-propellant systems commonly used today.

      “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,” said Jim Oschmann, vice president and general manager of Ball Aerospace Civil Space and Technologies.

      The 22 newton-class thruster running AF M135E proved to have an enhanced operation range when compared to traditional hydrazine used in spacecraft. The thruster, tested in a lab environment, demonstrated enough force to go as high as 27 newtons, and then 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.