The Boeing Company has begun work under a $600,000 firm, fixed-price contract to develop a mission concept study for solar electric propulsion technologies, the company announced Wednesday.
The company reported it will evaluate concepts for NASA that combine high-power solar arrays with advanced electric thrusters that will power both spacecraft and payloads into orbit.
Boeing said it is one of five contractors working to develop and demonstrate propulsion technologies in order to sustain a human presence in space.
“Boeing is pioneered the use of electric propulsion, and has developed an approach to integrate compact, lightweight, and highly efficient solar arrays with next-generation electric thrusters in future spacecraft,“ said Steve Johnston, director of Boeing Phantom Works“™ advanced space exploration division.
“This technology offers weight and cost advantages while enabling increased on-orbit maneuverability for satellites in Earth orbit, and efficient deep space transportation for human exploration and robotic science missions,“ he added.