The pressure to "go green" will soon spread out of our horizon and into space.
The Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) of NASA is scheduled to launch on June 24 on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket as part of a technology-testing mission called STP-2. GPIM, a small, box-shaped spacecraft powered by green technology, will test for the first time low-toxicity propellant in space, according to NASA . The clean propellant, a blend of hydroxyl ammonium nitrate and an oxidizer called AF-M315E, will serve as an alternative to hydrazine, a highly toxic compound used in rocket propellants to power satellites and spacecraft.
"It's important that we develop this technology Increases protection for the launch crew and the environment, and has the potential to reduce costs," said Steve Jurczyk, assistant administrator of NASA's Space Technology Directorate, in a statement .
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GPIM, which has cost NASA a total of $ 65 million, has been in the making for many years and passed its first engine impulse test in 201
Currently, most spacecraft are powered by hydrazine, but NASA's new fuel is nearly 50% more efficient and promises longer missions with less fuel .
The fuel also has a higher density, which means that more of it can be stored in less space and has a lower freezing point. According to NASA [19459005erforderterwenigerRaumfahrzeugleistungumseineTemperaturaufrechtzuerhalten].
And compared to hydrazine, the fuel is much safer for humans. "It's pretty innocuous and we think it can be loaded in universities or other environments where no propellant charges are normally performed," said Dayna Ise, program leader for technology demonstration missions at NASA's Space Technology Mission, during an am June 7, a media call took place. "Oh, and you can send it through FedEx, so it's safe enough to be FedEx-capable across the country."
Ball Aerospace A spacecraft manufacturer in Colorado, was in collaboration with subcontractors Aerojet Rocketdyne and NASA scientists developed a propulsion system for the environmentally friendly fuel.
GPIM is one of four NASA technology missions among the payloads of the STP-2 mission to launch a SpaceX Falcon Heavy on June 24 .