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According to Beattie, the Hughes xenon-ion propulsion system (XIPS) provides nearly 10 times greater exhaust velocity than current bipropellant (monomethyl hydrazine /nitrogen tetroxide) chemical thrusters, which, he said, essentially allows Hughes' designers to trade 10 pounds of chemical fuel for 1 lb of the xenon propellant.
The company said the mission lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV medium rocket.Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion included an RS-68A booster engine, an RL10B-2 upper-stage engine, 12 MR-106H 9-lbf hydrazine rocket engines on the upper stage, and a 100-lbf bipropellant apogee-raising engine aboard the WGS spacecraft.
Built by a consortium of aerospace companies led by British Aerospace, Olympus 1 used a bipropellant fuel system to power its on-board liquid apogee engine (LAE) and 16 reaction control thrusters.
Aerospace and defence company Aerojet said on Wednesday that it had provided reaction control thrusters for the Delta IV upper stage, as well as a bipropellant chemical propulsion engine for the GOES-P satellite.