Aerojet and NEC to Work on Advanced Ion Propulsion



Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, and NEC Corporation (TSE: 6701) announced today that the companies will explore the feasibility of jointly supplying low power ion propulsion systems for the U.S. and Japanese aerospace markets. Ion propulsion systems can be used for geosynchronous satellite propulsion systems and deep space missions providing significant advantages over traditional chemical propulsion systems due to the higher fuel efficiency.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NEC have jointly developed a low power “Microwave Ion Engine” that uses microwaves for ion generation, enabling long life and high mission reliability. NEC’s Microwave Ion Engine is currently flying on JAXA’s HAYABUSA asteroid rendezvous and study mission, and has proven to be robust and reliable, with more than 30,000 hours of in-space operation.

“Aerojet is a leading supplier of satellite propulsion systems in the United States and has broad experience and technical capabilities with satellite propulsion systems,” said Kunio Kondo, senior general manager, Aerospace and Defense Operations Unit, NEC Corporation. “Collaborating with Aerojet will help NEC to expand its low power Microwave Ion Engine business in the U. S. market.”

Aerojet’s electric propulsion products are currently flying on more than 150 operational satellites and span a broad range of electric propulsion products. Dr. Roger Myers, general manager of Aerojet’s Redmond operations, states that “the low power Microwave Ion Engine from NEC provides an excellent complement to Aerojet’s broad electric propulsion product offerings.”

About NEC’s Space Business

NEC is a pioneer of Japan’s space exploration program. It has been engaged in the development of more than 60 satellites since Japan’s first satellite “Ohsumi” launched in 1970. NEC’s recent achievement includes development and production of a control system and robotic arm deployed in the Japanese Experimental Module “KIBO” of the International Space Station as well as system integration of HAYABUSA.

About Aerojet

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’ Web sites at and

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation is one of the world’s leading providers of Internet, broadband network and enterprise business solutions dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of a diversified global base of customers. NEC delivers tailored solutions in the key fields of computer, networking and electron devices, by integrating its technical strengths in IT and Networks, and by providing advanced semiconductor solutions through NEC Electronics Corporation. The NEC Group employs more than 140,000 people worldwide. For additional information, please visit the NEC Web site at: