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Thruster for next-generation spacecraft undergoes testing at Glenn

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NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster – Commercial (NEXT-C) fired for the first time recently inside a vacuum chamber at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. The thruster is undergoing performance testing to verify it can withstand the extreme launch vibrations and hot and cold temperatures of spaceflight. This photo shows an engineering model firing inside a Glenn vacuum chamber earlier this year.

NEXT-C is a powerful next-generation solar electric propulsion system that could propel future long-duration science missions. The technology was developed at Glenn, and the flight hardware was designed and built by Aerojet Rocketdyne. Over the next few months, the Glenn and Aerojet Rocketdyne team will conduct vibration, thermal vacuum and performance tests on the flight hardware. The test campaign will conclude this winter when engineers mate the thruster with its power processing unit for an integration test.

NEXT-C is scheduled for in-space testing on the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission in 2021. DART is a demonstration of technologies for preventing a hazardous asteroid from impacting Earth by changing the motion of the asteroid in space. The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) leads DART for NASA with support from several NASA centers.

Related Links

NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster – Commercial (NEXT-C)

Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

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Advanced electric propulsion thruster for NASA’s Gateway achieves full power demonstration

Pasadena CA (SPX) Nov 11, 2019

Aerojet Rocketdyne and NASA recently demonstrated an Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS) thruster at full power for the first time, achieving an important program milestone. Aerojet Rocketdyne-developed AEPS thrusters are slated to be used on the Power and Propulsion Element of NASA’s Gateway, the agency’s orbiting lunar outpost for robotic and human exploration operations in deep space.

The state-of-the-art AEPS Hall thruster operated at 12.5 kilowatts (kW) as part of its final conditionin … read more

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