Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc. company, has delivered a new generation of 4.5 kilowatt Hall Thrusters -- the highest power flight-qualified Hall thrusters in the world -- to Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, Calif., in support of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) Air Force mission. Aerojet's thrusters will be used to maneuver the spacecraft during the AEHF mission.
The electric propulsion system, a cutting-edge technology for improving spacecraft efficiency in orbit, was flight-certified last year at Aerojet's Redmond, Wash., facility during a 5,600-hour life test to validate the long duration life capability of the engine. Aerojet is under contract to Air Force prime contractor Lockheed Martin to provide the new thruster system for the AEHF mission.
Aerojet's non-toxic Hall thruster is part of an electric propulsion system that provides significant gains in performance and operational life, reduced environmental impact, and results in dramatic weight reduction of the spacecraft. These savings could exceed 2,000 lbs. of fuel, thus substantially reducing costs of the AEHF spacecraft.
"The Hall thruster continues Aerojet's long and successful tradition of innovation and development of new propulsion technologies to support our nation's critical mission needs," says Aerojet vice president of Space Programs, Julie Van Kleeck.
Lockheed Martin will be integrating Aerojet Hall thrusters onto the AEHF spacecraft to support the 2008 initial launch. The AEHF spacecraft will provide global, highly secure, protected communications for all warfighters serving under the U.S. Department of Defense.
Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the missile and space propulsion and armaments markets. GenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate business segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale, and leasing of the company's excess real estate assets. Additional information about Aerojet and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies' Web sites at http://www.Aerojet.com and http://www.GenCorp.com.