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Technology Demonstration Missions

Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP)

Active Technology Project
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Project Description

An advanced electric propulsion system could potentially increase spaceflight transportation fuel efficiency by 10 times over current chemical propulsion technology and more than double thrust capability compared to current electric propulsion technology. The next step will be to demonstrate this new electric propulsion system in space. Development of this technology will advance future in-space transportation capability for a variety of deep space human and robotic exploration missions as well as private commercial space missions.

The Solar Electric Propulsion Project shall develop and qualify an advanced 12.5 kW EP thruster applicable to human/robotic exploration and commercial spaceflight missions including the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE).  The technology development objective of the SEP subproject, Plasma Diagnostics Package (PDP), is to develop, qualify, and deliver a flight PDP provided as GFE to PPE that can collect on-orbit PPE Ion Propulsion System (IPS) plasma data in the space environment.

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