Ball Aerospace Green Propellant Mission Featured In New NASA EDGE Episode

Image Credit: NASA/NASA EDGE

Image Credit: NASA/NASA EDGE

July 8, 2016 – NASA EDGE, the agency’s informative, engaging video podcast series, has produced an episode showcasing the Technology Demonstration Mission program’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission and Evolvable Cryogenics Project, or eCryo.

NASA EDGE visited GPIM researchers and project leads at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado, in the spring of 2016. They also talked with eCryo engineers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland and Plum Brook Station test facilities in Sandusky, Ohio, where cryogenic propellant storage and transfer technologies are being studied.

The episode takes an inside look at “how these technologies may become an integral part of all future spaceflight missions,” NASA EDGE reported.

GPIM is a Technology Demonstration Mission made possible by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) and draws upon a government-industry team of specialists. The GPIM marks the first time the United States will use a spacecraft to test the unique attributes of a high-performance, non-toxic, “green” fuel on orbit.

The propellant and new propulsion technology offer several advantages for future commercial, university, and government satellites, such as longer mission durations, additional maneuverability, increased payload space, and simplified launch processing.

“Green fuel is not only great in terms of handling and safety, it is also a very high-performance rocket fuel,” said Chris McLean, principal investigator for GPIM at Ball Aerospace. “It opens the mission trade space for expanded science operations and/or increased durations.”

GPIM is a technology demonstration mission managed by the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA. Ball Aerospace is leading the on-orbit test of a new Hydroxyl Ammonium Nitrate propellant blend, AF-M315E, developed by U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base.

As the prime contractor and principal investigator, Ball collaborates with a team of co-investigators from Aerojet Rocketdyne, NASA Glenn Research Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Kennedy Space Center and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base, with additional mission support from the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Kirtland Air Force Base on the GPIM project.

Three Department of Defense experimental payloads also will fly aboard the GPIM spacecraft, set for launch in early 2017 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy in partnership with the Army Space and Missile Defense Command. The launch is part of the Air Force’s Space Test Program 2 (STP-2) mission. STP-2 also is scheduled to carry another NASA Technology Demonstration Missions payload, the Deep Space Atomic Clock.

Watch the new “Scalable Technologies” episode here: