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DOE Taps Aerojet Rocketdyne for Two Space Mission Power Generators

Aerojet Rocketdyne
Aerojet Rocketdyne

Aerojet Rocketdyne has secured a contract to provide the Department of Energy with two units of thermoelectric generators designed for deep space missions.

The company said Friday it will fabricate, deliver and test a couple of Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators that would support possible missions to explore Saturn's moon Titan and Neptune's largest moon Triton. 

Teledyne Energy Systems will serve as Aerojet Rocketdyne's partner to produce and trial the MMRTGs. The generators convert plutonium 238 radioactive decay heat into electricity enough to power spacecraft and space rovers.

DOE's Idaho National Laboratory will then perform preparation activities for the MMRTG units.

The generator could be used to power NASA's future Dragonfly spacecraft that will help scientists study the Titan moon. NASA is also looking to use MMRTG for a mission on the Triton moon.

The space agency has already used MMRTG technology on the existing Perseverance Mars rover and other space operations.

Eileen Drake, CEO and president at Aerojet Rocketdyne, said MMRTG is designed to generate power on planetary surfaces, in atmospheres and in empty space.

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