Electric Propulsion

  • ARs XR-5 Hall Thruster

Powering the future of in-space transportation

Aerojet Rocketdyne is the world leader in the development, qualification, and flight of electric propulsion (EP) systems and components. We have delivered more than 500 EP flights systems starting in the 1980s and specialize in various EP technologies.

Since 1983 Aerojet Rocketdyne has developed three types of electric propulsion technology: electrothermal, electrostatic and electromagnetic.

Key Features

  • Electric Propulsion systems use electricity to accelerate a propellant to produce thrust. This means less propellant is needed to power EP systems than chemical thrusters, resulting in:
    • Lower launch masses which equates to lower launch cost
    • Extended satellite life times with the same propellant fraction
    • Additional payload if traded against propellant mass
  • EP systems have demonstrated the ability to reduce the mission cost for NASA human exploration cargo missions by more than 50 percent.
  • EP systems can provide small amounts of thrust for long periods of time, substantially extending the operational timeframe of missions.
  • EP systems can provide high speeds over long periods via continuous acceleration, making it an ideal capability for deep space missions.

Notable Electric Propulsion Missions

  • Advanced EHF Space Vehicles 1 through 6
  • Multiple Northrup Grumman Innovation Systems GEOStar-3 spacecraft missions
  • All Lockheed Martin Space Systems LM2100 spacecraft missions
  • Multiple Boeing Defense, Space and Security 702MP spacecraft missions
  • Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART)