Aerojet Rocketdyne has been selected to complete development work for NASA’s gridded ion thruster system under a nearly $18 million contract with Glenn Research Center.
The company will carry out the task on the Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial system and power processing units designed to pump solar power into each of the thruster’s components, Aerojet Rocketdyne said Monday.
Julie Van Kleeck, vice president of advanced space and launch systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne, said the NEXT-C thruster system is intended to help expand planetary science and commercial missions.
“It is truly the next step in the world’s robotic exploration of the solar system, and we are honored to provide the advanced propulsion system to make it happen,” added Van Kleeck.
Aerojet Rocketdyne will deliver two flight systems to NASA under the contract.
NASA tested the NEXT-C technology in 2013 to set the performance requirements of the system.