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AF-M315E Propulsion System Advances and ImprovementsEven as for the GR-1 awaits its first on-orbit demonstration on the planned 2017 launch of NASA's Green Propulsion Infusion Mission (GPIM) program, ongoing efforts continue to advance the technical state-of-the-art through improvements in the performance, life capability, and affordability of both Aerojet Rocketdyne's 1-N-class GR-1 and 20-N-class GR-22 green monopropellant thrusters. Hot-fire testing of a design upgrade of the GR-22 thruster successfully demonstrated resolution of a life-limiting thermo-structural issue encountered during prototype testing on the GPIM program, yielding both an approximately 2x increase in demonstrating life capability, as well as fundamental insights relating to how ionic liquid thrusters operate, thruster scaling, and operational factors affecting catalyst bed life. Further, a number of producibility improvements, related to both materials and processes and promising up to 50% unit cost reduction, have been identified through a comprehensive Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) assessment activity recently completed at Aerojet Rocketdyne. Focused specifically on the GR-1 but applicable to the common-core architecture of both thrusters, ongoing laboratory (heavyweight) thruster testing being conducted under a Space Act Agreement at NASA Glenn Research Center has already validated a number of these proposed manufacturability upgrades, additionally achieving a greater than 40% increase in thruster life. In parallel with technical advancements relevant to conventional large spacecraft, a joint effort between NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne is underway to prepare 1-U CubeSat AF-M315E propulsion module for first flight demonstration in 2018.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Masse, Robert K.
(Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc. Arlington, VA, United States)
Allen, May
(Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc. Arlington, VA, United States)
Driscoll, Elizabeth
(Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc. Arlington, VA, United States)
Spores, Ronald A.
(Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc. Arlington, VA, United States)
Arrington, Lynn A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Schneider, Steven J.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Vasek, Thomas E.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
February 3, 2017
Publication Date
July 25, 2016
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Propellants And Fuels
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Country: United States
Start Date: July 25, 2016
End Date: July 27, 2016
Sponsors: Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc., American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 182015.04.01.03
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Liquid propulsion
Rockets and monopropellants
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