Nasa spacecraft to test ‘green’ propellant and propulsion system


Nasa settle upon test a non-toxic, rosé-coloured fuel and compatible propulsion system in space that could be utilized for missions to the Moon and other places in the future.

The system will be proofed for the first time with the Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM), which is set to be started on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket this month.

The Air Force Investigate Laboratory (AFRL) at Edwards Air Force Base in California, US, has developed the ‘verdant’ fuel and the objective of the mission is to demonstrate the features of the propellant.

Spacecraft currently use the praisefully toxic fuel hydrazine as a propellant. However, the ‘green’ fuel combines hydroxyl ammonium nitrate with an oxidiser that allows it to flare, creating an alternative to hydrazine.

Even though hydrazine is commonly tempered to in spacecraft, it is highly toxic to humans. Those handling hydrazine desire be required to follow safety precautions such as wearing protective proceedings, thick rubber gloves and oxygen tanks.

On the contrary, GPIM needs fewer handling restrictions, cutting down the time taken to produce for launch.

Colorado-based Ball Aerospace & Technologies leads the Nasa technology exposition mission.

Ball Aerospace GPIM principal investigator Christopher McLean symbolized: “Spacecraft could be fueled during manufacturing, simplifying processing at the fling facility, resulting in cost savings.”

The ‘green’ propellant is claimed to be dumber than hydrazine and offers 50% better performance, enabling spacecraft to socialize farther or operate for a longer duration with less propellant onboard.

Based in Redmond, Washington, Aerojet Rocketdyne has designed, based and tested the GPIM propulsion system, which comprises a propellant tank and five 1-Newton thrusters to broadcast the non-toxic fuel.

“Spacecraft could be fueled during manufacturing, unraveling processing at the launch facility.”

GPIM uses thrusters that are spark off in various scenarios to test the performance and reliability of the engine. Orbit turn down and spacecraft pointing are among the planned manoeuvres.

A technology demonstration duty, GPIM has been made possible by Nasa’s Space Technology Delegation Directorate (STMD) and includes specialists from Nasa, Ball Aerospace, Aerojet Rocketdyne and AFRL.

GPIM is one of the disciples being launched as part of the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) delegation, managed by the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

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