News & Resources

Behind the Scenes: NEXT-C Ion Engine Installation on DART

(feat. Lead Propulsion Engineer Jeremy John)

Building a spacecraft requires the coordinated efforts of various teams and individuals who all play an important role in getting a mission off the ground. As NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) undergoes integration and testing at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, hear from various team members with diverse roles on the first ever planetary defense test mission.

Meet Jeremy John, DART's lead propulsion engineer at APL. As a propulsion engineer, Jeremy has extensive experience designing, testing, and manufacturing propulsion devices. On DART, Jeremy is overseeing the development and demonstration of a new system, NASA's NEXT-C (NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial) ion propulsion system. Developed by NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland and Aerojet Rocketdyne in Redmond, Washington, NEXT-C is a solar-powered electric propulsion system designed for improved performance and fuel efficiency compared to its predecessors. Although NEXT-C is not the primary propulsion system on DART, its inclusion on the mission will allow for in-flight testing and demonstrate the potential for application to future deep-space missions. Watch as Jeremy and his team inspect and install the NEXT-C ion system onto the DART spacecraft.