SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 28, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has signed a $67 million cost-plus fixed fee (plus performance incentive) contract with NASA to develop a high-power electric propulsion system that will enable key elements of NASA's plans for exploration of cis-lunar space and Mars.

Under the Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS) contract, the Aerojet Rocketdyne team will develop, qualify and deliver five 12.5 kilowatt Hall thruster subsystems including thrusters, Power Processing Units and xenon flow controllers. The 12.5 kilowatt thrusters are about two-and-a-half times more powerful than Aerojet Rocketdyne's state-of-the-art XR-5 Hall thrusters, which are presently used to deliver government and commercial satellites to their geosynchronous orbit.

Aerojet Rocketdyne will mature the thruster subsystem under development at NASA's Glenn Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to a flight system capable of 50,000 hours of life. This flight propulsion system will form the core of Solar Electric Propulsion vehicles that NASA can use for efficient transportation of habitats and cargo needed for human exploration of deep space destinations beyond low-Earth orbit. Aerojet Rocketdyne sees a diverse set of future applications for this technology for a range of NASA, defense and commercial missions.

"We are excited about the opportunity to develop a high-power, highly efficient propulsion system - a critical step on our journey to Mars," said Eileen Drake, CEO and president of Aerojet Rocketdyne. "AEPS is a key component to Aerojet Rocketdyne's support of NASA's exploration goals."

"We look forward to working with our NASA and industry partners to advance the technology for multiple applications," said Julie Van Kleeck, vice president of Advanced Space and Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. "The AEPS program enables Solar Electric Propulsion systems that are necessary for affordable cargo and logistics transportation to support human missions to Mars, and builds on Aerojet Rocketdyne's successful history with electric propulsion systems."

Aerojet Rocketdyne received the contract from NASA Glenn Research Center as part of the Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Demonstration Mission, which is funded under the Space Technology Mission Directorate.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is an innovative company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense markets. The company is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne can be obtained by visiting our websites at and