A team comprised of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and Aerojet Rocketdyne has tested a thruster with “green” fuel technology in a space lab environment as part of NASA‘s Green Propellant Infusion Mission program.
The project’s goal is to demonstrate the AF-M315E eco-friendly propulsion system as an alternative for the toxic hydrazine fuel used on space vehicles, Ball Aerospace said Monday.
According to Ball Aerospace, the thruster achieved the lab test’s technical range objective.
“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 for Ball Aerospace’s civil space and technologies business.
AF-M315E uses a blend of hydroxyl ammonium nitrate fuel and oxidizer made by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.
NASA’s space technology mission directorate manages the GPIM project.