Ball Aerospace has deployed a small satellite for launching aboard SpaceX's Falcon Heavy vehicle as part of NASA's Green Propellant Infusion Mission to demonstrate AF-M315E, a low-toxic “green“ monopropellant developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory.
As the mission's prime contractor, Ball Aerospace is responsible for overseeing the performance of the flight thruster, evaluating ground and flight data, providing flight support and manufacturing the spacecraft bus, a Ball Configurable Platform small satellite that enables efficient procedures in order to allow fast access to space at a lower cost.
Serving as GPIM's prime contractor Ball Aerospace is working as part of a team that includes AFRL, the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Aerojet Rocketdyne and three NASA centers.
Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager of civil space at Ball Aerospace, said the company is also working on smallsats to support NASA's “Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer“ and “Spectro Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer“ missions.
Ball Aerospace previously deployed two smallsats for the Air Force's Space Test Program Standard Interface Vehicle initiative and helped develop Ion Velocity Meters to support a joint effort between the Air Force, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other research entities.