SACRAMENTO, Calif., August 29, 2018– Aerojet Rocketdyne and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) recently completed a 120-day Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) study for NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2). Under NextSTEP-2 Appendix C, Aerojet Rocketdyne supported SNC in examining and refining designs for advanced solar electric propulsion (SEP) vehicle concepts.
Through NextSTEP, NASA funds development capabilities required for future human exploration of deep space, such as deep space habitation. Appendix C is focused on identifying capabilities required for the architecture’s PPE.
The study outlined Aerojet Rocketdyne’s ability to supply the SEP module for Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Lunar Gateway concept. The SEP module would comprise of the power generating solar arrays, the components to distribute and manage the power, and the propulsion system used to maneuver and control the Gateway. NASA’s objective for the PPE is to demonstrate the ability to operate a 50 kW SEP system, as well as to transfer 27 kW of power across a standard interface to the habitat. Aerojet Rocketdyne’s design concept contains several innovative features that will improve the overall efficiency of the PPE and improve its extensibility to other missions.
“Utilizing electric propulsion for habitat assembly and operations will provide substantial mass savings in propellant, resulting in decreased mission costs and long-term sustainability,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president.
The NextSTEP partnership model fosters private-public partnerships between NASA and industry – and is the next step toward establishing sustainable deep space exploration capabilities, increasing the number and frequency of human exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit in the coming years. Aerojet Rocketdyne is continuing to support SNC under a parallel NextSTEP-2 Appendix A habitat contract.
About Aerojet Rocketdyne: Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion systems and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, and tactical systems areas, in support of domestic and international customers. For more information, visit www.Rocket.com and www.AerojetRocketdyne.com. Follow Aerojet Rocketdyne and CEO Eileen Drake on Twitter at @AerojetRdyne and @DrakeEileen.