Who cares about emissions in space? The U.S. Air Force, that's who. Well, maybe not emissions exactly, but they certainly care about high-performance, well-tested and effective technologies for their missions. Enter Aerojet
, which finally delivered new-generation electronic thrusters for the Air Force's Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF
) mission. These thrusters are 4.5 kilowatt Hall Thrusters (the highest power flight-qualified Hall thrusters in the world) are, according to Aerojet, "part of an electric propulsion system that provides significant gains in performance and operational life, reduced environmental impact, and results in dramatic weight reduction of the spacecraft. These savings could exceed 2,000 lbs. of fuel, thus substantially reducing costs of the AEHF spacecraft." What will this spacecraft be used for? Providing "global, highly secure, protected communications for all warfighters serving under the U.S. Department of Defense." Take that as you wish.
I'm awaiting NASA's response: a giant corncob painted on the side of the shuttle and E100 in the booster rockets.