Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., a unit of
), together with Aerojet Rocketdyne has brought forward an
environmental-friendly spacecraft fuel for NASA's Green
Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM).
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Ball has successfully demonstrated the end-to-end checkout of the
22 Newton thruster required for GPIM. The role of 22 Newton
thrusters is significant to GPIM as it will fire along with four
smaller 1N thrusters to initiate orbit inclination changes and
altitude changes. It is also vital for GPIM's eventual de-orbit
upon mission completion.
An industry and government team is working under Ball's guidance
to bring up a high-performance, non-toxic fuel alternative to the
conventional hydrazine. The mission propellant, a Hydroxyl
Ammonium Nitrate (HAN) fuel/oxidizer blend, or AF-M315E, provides
around 50% improved performance than hydrazine.
GPIM is a Technology Demonstration Mission under the leadership
of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate. The green
propulsion system will fly aboard a Ball Configurable Platform
(BCP) 100 spacecraft bus. This is the first time that U.S will
use a spacecraft to test green propellant technology.
Ball Corporation., which belongs to the containers and packaging
industry along with
Crown Holdings Inc.
Mobile Mini, Inc.
), also supplies aerospace and other technologies and services to
government and commercial customers through its Aerospace and
The segment contributed 12% of Ball Corporation's revenues in the
first quarter of 2013. It develops and manufactures spacecraft,
advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation
systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific
applications. In the first quarter, Aerospace and Technologies
segment sales increased 15% to $231 million. The segment had a
backlog of more than $1 billion at the end of the quarter.
This is a milestone in Space Technologies as green fuel will
reduce environmental impact and operational hazards, improve
launch processing capabilities, increase payload capacity,
enhance spacecraft maneuverability and also enable longer
duration missions. This will lead to the adaptation of green
spacecraft propulsion technology into a wide range of government
and commercial missions. Given its improved performance, green
propellant will be the preferred choice for future space missions
and provide a competitive edge to Ball's Aerospace and
Ball Corporation currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).