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Successful testing provides NASA’s Advanced electrical system a lift

The next-generation reaction engine which will at some point send yank astronauts to Mars has passed a serious milestone. operating in coordination with independent agency engineers from John Herschel Glenn Jr. analysis and therefore the reaction propulsion Laboratory, Aerojet Rocketdyne says it's completed its early systems integration check of the Advanced electrical system (AEPS) 13-kW Hall thruster that's it building for independent agency, clearing the approach for more development.


A major hurdle for NASA's ambitions to come to the Moon and to mount manned part missions is that the needed system. Chemical rockets area unit already at the outer reaches of their theoretical limits and nuclear thermal engines area unit still primitive and plenty of mostly theoretical. However, recent missions, like NEXT and therefore the Dawn mission to the asteroid Ceres, have incontestable  that particle thrusters with their low fuel hundreds and high potency may be a viable near-term resolution similarly having wider propulsion applications.

Under contract, Aerojet Rocketdyne is functioning on AEPS with a stress on the particle thruster, power process unit, unaggressive  element flow controller, and electrical harness all of which can be power-driven by star panels once in house. By victimization what's going to at some point be a 50-kW particle drive, that uses electrons captured in magnetic fields to ionize element molecules and accelerate them to terribly high velocities, independent agency hopes to extend thruster potency by an element of one hundred and double the thrust of current electrical propulsion systems.

These AEPS thrusters might have variety of applications, most notably for NASA's entranceway manned part orbital outpost, similarly as for part missions, or maybe the primary manned Mars expeditions.

According to Rocketdyne, the recent tests were of the AEPS Hall thruster's power components, that embrace the discharge provide unit (DSU) and therefore the power process unit (PPU). victimization board versions of the units connected to a independent agency development particle thruster, tests were conducted during a thermal chamber at NASA's John Herschel Glenn Jr. centre in Cleveland, Ohio. This disclosed that the DSU and PPU might with success convert power with high potency and borderline waste heat. With the first systems integration tests over, Aerojet Rocketdyne engineers area unit moving on to style mop up and verification section leading up to the vital design review (CDR) and ultimate production.

By staying on the innovative of propulsion technology, we've got positioned ourselves for a serious role not solely in obtaining back to the Moon, however conjointly in any future initiative to send individuals to Mars," says Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne corporate executive and president. "AEPS is that the vanguard for ensuing generation of part exploration and we're excited to be at the mast.

Our AEPS discharge provide unit performed exceptionally, yielding vital conversion potency enhancements necessary for future tightened missions. These results area unit a testament to the Aerojet Rocketdyne team's focus and dedication to advancing the state of the art during this vital in-space technology space.

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