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ROCKET SCIENCE
Aerojet Rocketdyne Tests 1 Newton Thruster for Green Propellant Infusion Mission
by Staff Writers
Sacramento CA (SPX) Jul 22, 2014


File image.

Aerojet Rocketdyne has successfully completed a hot-fire test on its flight-representative 1 Newton (1N) thruster at our specially designated green propellant facility in Redmond, Washington.

The test is a key milestone leading to on-orbit testing of the Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM), which will demonstrate a "green" propellant, known as AF-M315E, in a space environment. AF-M315E is designed to eventually replace hydrazine systems in use today.

"This successful test was a critical step toward building flight-ready hardware for the GPIM mission," said Roger Myers, executive director of Advanced In-Space Programs at Aerojet Rocketdyne.

"We look forward to working with our customer to provide a thruster that will enable safer, more cost effective in-space missions, while providing enhanced in-space propulsion performance."

The 1N thruster tested was a flight-representative unit that demonstrated a full and wide range of operating conditions.

Aerojet Rocketdyne, working with its prime contractor, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. and co-investigators from several NASA centers and the U.S. Air Force, will provide a full-propulsion system for the GPIM mission, including four 1N thrusters and one 22 Newton (22N) thruster.

During the GPIM mission, the 22N thruster and four 1N thrusters will fire simultaneously to initiate orbit inclination and altitude changes on the satellite. Aerojet Rocketdyne is slated to test a flight-representative 22N thruster later this year at its Redmond facility.

"Completing this milestone is another example of the tremendous team that is assembled across industry and the government to work on this revolutionary project," said Jim Oschmann, vice president and general manager, Civil Space and Technology at Ball.

The AF-M315E green propellant, developed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base in California, significantly reduces toxicity over hydrazine monopropellant and bipropellant systems.

It also simplifies operating and handling of the thrusters and spacecraft, while providing a safer environment for those working on the hardware. In addition, AF-M315E offers greater efficiency and performance.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne
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