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Sun, Feb 19, 2017

NASA Announces Large Business Prime Contractor Of The Year Award

Aerojet Rocketdyne To Receive The Award For Work On NEXT-C Gridded Ion Thruster System

NASA's Glenn Research Center has named Aerojet Rocketdyne as the winner of NASA's Large Business Prime Contractor of the Year award for its work on the space agency’s Next Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial (NEXT-C) Gridded Ion Thruster System, which was built by Aerojet Rocketdyne. The NEXT-C Gridded Ion Thruster System is designed to power government and commercial spacecraft to deep-space destinations faster, farther and more fuel efficiently than any other propulsion technology currently available.

“This is an incredible honor,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “Without question, this high-performance technology will change the future of planetary and commercial space missions. It has allowed us to build on our extensive development and flight experience with arcjet, Hall and ion thruster systems, and we look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.”

In April 2015, NASA Glenn Research Center awarded Aerojet Rocketdyne a contract worth about $18 million to complete the development of NEXT-C.

Under the contract, Aerojet Rocketdyne will complete the development of both the NEXT-C Gridded Ion thruster and power processing units (PPUs), and deliver two complete flight systems to NASA. The PPUs convert the electrical power generated by the solar arrays into the power needed for each component of the thruster.  As part of the work on the PPU, Aerojet Rocketdyne is working with ZIN Technologies of Cleveland, Ohio, which is categorized as a small disadvantaged business concern, to develop key elements of the electronics.

According to NASA, the NEXT-C System is capable of performing a variety of missions to deep-space destinations while reducing cost and trip time. In 2013, NASA completed a record-setting 50,000-hour life test of the NEXT-C Gridded Ion Thruster System, establishing the performance and lifetime capabilities required for a wide range of demanding missions. Operating at three times the power level of the current NASA Ion Propulsion Systems, the NEXT-C Gridded Ion Thruster System produces three times the thrust level. This higher-power operating capability enables commercial applications in addition to science missions.

Aerojet Rocketdyne has a long history with NASA Glenn Research Center in the development of advanced electric propulsion and power systems, and continues to build upon its core expertise in this field. With this program, NEXT-C, as well as other recent NASA awards for the Advanced Electric Propulsion System, a Hall thruster-based system, Aerojet Rocketdyne continues to solidify its leadership role in the development of Electric Propulsion systems for NASA science missions.

(Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne news release. Image from file)



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