PARIS, Le Bourget and SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 21, 2011 – Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, QinetiQ, (LSE: QQ.L) and EADS Astrium Crisa, an EADS (PAR:EAD) company, announced today that the companies have entered into a joint agreement to supply the XENITH(TM) (Xenon Ion Thruster) ion propulsion system to the worldwide commercial spacecraft market. The agreement will enable customers to benefit from the combined expertise of independent market leaders in design, manufacture and supply of space propulsion systems, who are collaborating to deliver the XENITH(TM) system.
Built around the ultra high-efficient T6 ion thruster developed by QinetiQ, the XENITH(TM) propulsion system will provide a reduction in propellant consumed by more than a factor of 12 over conventional chemical propulsion systems. Ion propulsion systems have been used for orbit raising and station keeping of satellites, as well as for primary propulsion for deep space missions.
The T6 ion propulsion technology is based on the lower power T5 system, which provides precision atmospheric drag compensation for the highly successful GOCE gravity mapping mission operated by ESA. A T6-based propulsion system is being qualified for the European Bepi-Colombo mission to Mercury and has been selected to provide onboard propulsion for the Alphabus communications satellite platform. QinetiQ provides the thruster and flow control subsystem, while Crisa provides the thruster power and control electronics.
“The joint effort with Aerojet and Crisa to market the XENITH(TM) propulsion system is a significant step toward delivering QinetiQ’s proven ion propulsion technology for much wider use worldwide,” said Neil Bevan, QinetiQ Technology Solutions, Managing Director of Aerospace.
Aerojet’s electric propulsion products are currently flying on more than 150 operational satellites and span a broad range of electric propulsion products. For the XENITH(TM) system, Aerojet will perform some of the manufacturing, under a licensed arrangement with QinetiQ, and then integrate and deliver the system to spacecraft primes.
Vice President of Space and Launch Systems for Aerojet, Julie Van Kleeck, states that “the XENITH(TM) system fills a critical need within Aerojet’s suite of electric propulsion product offerings.”
“As the developer and supplier of the T5 and T6 power electronics units, we look forward to working with this team to provide this key component of the XENITH(TM) system with the highest of quality and reliability,” said Fernando del Rey, CEO of Crisa. Crisa has provided flight electronics to most ESA flight programs and delivered more than 700 units with almost 3,000 aggregate years of operation on orbit.
Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the missile and space propulsion, defense and armaments markets. GenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale, and leasing of the company’s excess real estate assets. Additional information about Aerojet and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies’ websites at http://www.Aerojet.com and http://www.GenCorp.com.
About QinetiQ Group
A FTSE250 company, QinetiQ uses its domain knowledge to provide technical support and know-how to customers in the global aerospace, defence and security markets. Employing 13,000 people around the world, QinetiQ’s unique position enables it to be a trusted partner to government organisations, predominantly in the UK and the US, including defence departments, intelligence services and security agencies. In the year to 31 March 2011, QinetiQ delivered revenue of £1,702.6 m.
About EADS Astrium Crisa
A fully owned company of EADS Astrium in Spain, Crisa is a well renowned supplier of complex on board electronics for space. More than 25 years experience, 400 employees, and hundreds of electronic units flown in space, demonstrate Crisa’s capabilities in the design and manufacturing of electronic equipment for satellites and launchers, covering every scientific, Earth observation, telecommunications or navigation application. At the moment, the company is working in the Ariane 5 and Vega launcher programs, the ATV vehicle, the Alphabus and Eurostar platforms, scientific and Earth observation satellites like GAIA, LISA Pathfinder, Sentinel 2 & 3, EarthCARE, and the planetary mission Bepi-Colombo.