Ball Aero's 'green' fuel packing a punch
Last Updated: 14:46 March 31, 2014
The "green" fuel made of hydroxyl ammonium nitrate, exceeded goals in a lab environment to power the thrusters on NASA's Green Propellant Infusion Mission that is set to launch in late 2015. The mission's goal is to demonstrate the use of a "green" fuel.
The green fuel, known as AF-M315E, generated 27 Newtons, a measurement of force. The craft's main thruster for this mission requires 22 Newtons. The thruster was developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne in California.
Ball Aerospace said the green fuel provides nearly 50 percent better performance when compared with hydrazine, a traditional and toxic rocket fuel.
Green fuel alternatives also reduce environmental impact and operational hazards, improve launch processing capabilities, increase payload capacity, enhance spacecraft maneuverability and make longer duration missions possible, according to Ball.
A team led by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. received a $45 million award from NASA in August, 2012 to demonstrate a new, environmentally friendly rocket fuel.
As the prime contractor and principal investigator, Ball collaborates with a teams from Aerojet Rocketdyne, NASA Glenn Research Center, NASA Kennedy Space Center and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base, with additional mission support from the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Kirkland Air Force Base.
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