The Ball team will develop and fly the Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) to demonstrate a high-performance, non-toxic fuel alternative to conventional hydrazine. GPIM, a technology demonstration mission under leadership of NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT), will be developed over the next three years and launched in 2015.
“The mission will demonstrate and characterize the functionality of an integrated propulsion system to bridge the gap between technology development and actual use of green propellant in space,” says a representative.
Ball Aerospace is prime contractor for the GPIM, working with team co-investigators from the Aerojet Corp., the Glenn Research Center, and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Edwards Air Force Base. The U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Kirkland Air Force Base and NASA's Kennedy Space Center will provide additional mission support.
"Ball is well known for innovative technology solutions and proud to be in partnership with OCT to advance space technology," says David L. Taylor, Ball Aerospace president and CEO. "This mission brings together a government-industry team from multiple agencies to develop a fully domestic green propellant solution for the next generation of space flight."
The goal of employing green fuel alternatives is to reduce environmental impact and operational hazards, and improve launch processing capabilities. Hydrazine, which is currently used, is highly toxic and dangerous to transport.