To infinity and beyond

Aerojet has won $32.4 million to deliver a 600kW Hall Thruster electric propulsion system to power future cargo transport vehicles to the Moon and Mars.


Aerojet

has won a multi-year contract from NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate to design, build, test and deliver a 600kW Hall Thruster electric propulsion system to power future cargo transport vehicles to the Moon and Mars. The contract is valued at $32.4 million, including all options.

When the new system is delivered to NASA, Aerojet’s work will represent a 30-fold increase in total power and thrust delivered over current systems, which are approximately 18kW.

Aerojet says a further benefit of its Hall Thruster system is the ‘significant reduction of propellant mass’. The system will require approximately one-third the propellant of equivalent propulsion systems. Industry studies predict a vehicle mass savings of up to 30 metric tons.

The Aerojet-developed Hall Thruster provides roughly six times the fuel efficiency of today’s conventional chemical propulsion systems

Using NASAGlennResearchCenter‘s design for a 150kW Hall Thruster, Aerojet’s system will include four thrusters, four power processors, a xenon propellant feed system and a thermal management subsystem. The program, which consists of a 12 month first phase and three year second phase, will culminate in a full-power integrated test.