Categories
GeekWire

Aerojet wins $67M NASA contract for ion drive

Image: Hall thruster
A prototype 13-kilowatt Hall thruster fires during testing at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. The prototype demonstrated the technology readiness needed for industry to continue the development of high-power solar electric propulsion into a flight-ready system. (Credit: NASA)

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s operation in Redmond, Wash., has won a $67 million contract from NASA to design and develop an advanced electric propulsion system that could power future trips to an asteroid and Mars.

The goal of the 36-month project is to deliver an integrated system that could improve fuel efficiency by a factor of 10 over today’s chemical rocket propulsion systems, and double the thrust capability of current electric propulsion systems.

The work could set the stage for a deep-space demonstration mission by 2020, Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said today in a news release announcing the contract award.

“Development of this technology will advance our future in-space transportation capability for a variety of NASA deep-space human and robotic exploration missions, as well as private commercial space missions,” he said.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

Leave a Reply