NASA, Aerojet to Demonstrate 'Green Propellant' in Space - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

NASA, Aerojet to Demonstrate ‘Green Propellant’ in Space

EUTELSAT-172B-SATELLITE credit Cesarhenriquebrandao Wikimedia Commons

Space agency will power satellite with Areojet Rocketdyne Propulsion. (photo credit Cesar Henrique Brandao)

CAPE CANAVERAL — Aerojet Rocketdyne, along with NASA, Ball Aerospace and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), is helping usher in a new era of small satellite propulsion through the Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM). On Monday, June 24, NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Once on orbit, a spacecraft powered by Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion will demonstrate the efficiency and operability of a new non-toxic propellant developed by the AFRL, called AF-M315E.

The Areojet Rocketdyne Propulsion mission will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. (Wikimedia Commons)

The mission will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. (Wikipedia Commons)

Powered by this “green” propellant, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s propulsion system will enable the spacecraft to execute and demonstrate orbital maneuvers in space. The system includes five 1-newton thrusters: four for attitude control and one for orbit maneuvering. This will be the first space-based demonstration of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s green propulsion technology utilizing AF-M315E propellant.

“Aerojet Rocketdyne has provided trusted and reliable in-space propulsion to industry, government and commercial partners since the beginning of the space age,” said Eileen Drake, CEO and president of Aerojet Rocketdyne. “We’re excited to expand upon this legacy with our new green propulsion technology, which will enable increased satellite performance and provide propulsion options to SmallSats that previously weren’t available.”

AF-M315E is a higher performance and environmentally-friendly alternative for chemical propulsion operations that traditionally use hydrazine. Because of its increased density and higher performance, satellites can achieve extended operation timelines and increased maneuverability. Its lower freezing point eliminates the need for added onboard heating systems, resulting in a greater mass allowance for added life. Green propellant is also non-toxic, which enables safe handling of the propellant and simplifies pre-launch processing.

NASA is interested in using green propellant for various next-generation spacecraft and launch vehicles to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Proving this new technology is effective and efficient in space will open the door for green propulsion to become a viable option for future missions. Aerojet Rocketdyne’s green propellant propulsion system was developed at the company’s Redmond, Washington, facility.

Readers can tune into the launch live on Monday 6/24 beginning at 11:00 PM ET at nasa.gov/live

Here is a video that highlights the mission, the importance of Green Propulsion and Aerojet Rocketdyne’s role in moving it forward:





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