Aerojet Rocketdyne Tests Propulsion Tech for NASA’s Lunar Outpost; Eileen Drake Quoted

Aerojet Rocketdyne has demonstrated a propulsive device NASA plans to use with a key component of the agency's future Gateway lunar outpost.

The company said Friday its Advanced Electric Propulsion System thruster reached full power at 12.5 kilowatts during a final conditioning procedure that was part of tests conducted at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

AEPS thrusters are designed to support the Gateway's power and propulsion element, which Aerojet Roketdyne describes as a solar electric propulsion spacecraft with the potential to operate at 60 kW.

The spacecraft will be equipped with two company-made thruster strings, with each string composed of a Xenon Hall thruster, a flow controller and a power processing technology.

Eileen Drake, president and CEO at Aerojet Rocketdyne, said the company is set to move into the next phase of its AEPS development efforts to support the agency's Artemis program.

Initial system integration tests on AEPS occurred in August and efforts to integrate a full electric propulsion thruster is scheduled to commence early next year.

NASA awarded the company a potential $67M contract in April 2016 to build and test five 12.5 kW Hall thruster subsystems.

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