NASA‘s Glenn Research Center has named Aerojet Rocketdyne the “Large Business Prime Contractor of the Year” for the company’s development of the gridded ion thruster system for the Next Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial propulsion technology.
Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake noted the company seeks to build on its experience with arcjet, Hall and ion thruster systems to provide technology that will work to support future space missions.
The NEXT-C gridded ion thruster system is designed to operate at three times the level of power of current ion propulsion systems and generate thrice the thrust level in efforts to drive fuel efficiency and reduce trip time, Aerojet Rocketdyne added.
The company said it partnered with small disadvantaged business ZIN Technologies to develop elements of the NEXT-C power processing units that will serve to convert electrical power to support the thruster system.
NASA completed a 50,000-hour life test of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s NEXT-C gridded ion thruster system in 2013.