As part of NASA’s Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS) program, Aerojet Rocketdyne has completed an early systems integration test for its 13kW Hall thruster string that is aimed at future space exploration missions – including commercial endeavors.
The test focused on the power elements of the propulsion system: the discharge supply unit (DSU) and the breadboard AEPS power processing unit (PPU). Aerojet Rocketdyne reports that the system efficiently converted power, with minimal waste heat.
The DSU and PPU were combined with a NASA development thruster and the test took place in a thermal vacuum chamber at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
One potential application is as the propulsion element of NASA’s Gateway, a lunar orbiting outpost for robotic and human exploration operations in deep space.
“By staying on the cutting edge of propulsion technology, we have positioned ourselves for a major role not only in getting back to the Moon, but also in any future initiative to send people to Mars,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “AEPS is the vanguard for the next generation of deep space exploration and we’re thrilled to be at the mast.”