Aerojet Rocketdyne will build an electric propulsion system for NASA to enable deep space travel.
A Redmond company has won a $67 million contract with NASA to build a propulsion system that will help explore deep space and Mars.
Aerojet Rocketdyne, which has more than 500 employees in Redmond, builds small rockets that send spacecraft throughout the solar system. The company worked with NASA last year as well, when it was awarded an $18 million contract to create an ion-thruster that was also made for deep-space exploration.
The three-year contract announced Tuesday will help NASA increase fuel efficiency by 10 times by using an electric-propulsion system, rather than a chemical system.
“Development of this technology will advance our future in-space transportation capability for a variety of NASA deep space human and robotic exploration missions, as well as private commercial space missions,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA’s space technology mission directorate, in a statement.
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Aerojet’s technology will be used in various deep-space-exploration missions, as well as powering the robotic portion of a NASA mission to Mars.
It won’t be Aerojet’s first trip to Mars. The company made the engines that helped bring the Curiosity rover to the planet in 2012.