CubeSat thrusters and small satellite propulsion systems

Roundup

In this post we provide an overview of CubeSat thrusters and in-space propulsion technologies for small satellites, and share details of various products on the global market – if you’re familiar with this technology and would like to skip straight to the product listings, please click here.


Contents


Introduction

There is growing demand for in-space propulsion systems that enable small satellites to achieve attitude and orbit control, orbital transfers, and end-of-life deorbiting.

This is particularly important for the slew of LEO and MEO constellations currently being developed, as constellation control will be an important factor in the success of these ventures.

Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of activity in the smallsat propulsion world, driven by technology breakthroughs, industry commercialization, and private investment.

In this article, we provide a gentle primer to the topic of selecting a thruster for a smallsat mission, and give an overview of some of the propulsion products making waves within the global marketplace for space.

Do you know of any smallsat thrusters that we’ve missed? Please drop us a note at [email protected] or on Twitter. Alternatively, if you’d like to list your products and services on satsearch, get started here.

Selecting the most appropriate thruster product for a CubeSat can be a tricky challenge, but is a critical step for any mission or service requiring inspace maneuverability and control.

The rapid growth of the NewSpace sector has led to greater use of modular components, such as CubeSat thrusters, while electronic miniaturization is also enabling new satellite setups and capabilities that need to be considered.

To help navigate these criteria, in this article we look at some of the factors that should be taken into account to make this decision. We also provide an overview of a number of propulsion products on the market, listed on the satsearch platform to help you select the best option.

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Your CubeSat thruster requirements

We recommend a simple 4-step approach for a preliminary selection of a thruster for a CubeSat, as explained below:

  1. Specify your exact mission parameters
  2. Record all known design specifications of the CubeSat
  3. Consider the range of technology that will be used in the system
  4. Take into account the key performance criteria

Your mission parameters

The first step is to fully understand the full set of mission parameters, including both the critical applications and desirable, but not necessarily essential, objectives.

Knowing exactly what functions your thruster will need to perform, and on what schedule and duration, will make selecting a model easier.

Also consider the launch stresses, testing processes and regulatory compliance that the CubeSat will need to go through, in order to make it into orbit, as well as any obsolescence procedures once the mission is complete.


Your CubeSat’s physical specifications

Next, keep to hand all currently known design information about the CubeSat unit.

This can include the volume, weight, primary structural material and more basic things such as the location, storage and transport arrangements of the major components.

You will need to make sure that the thruster you choose will be suitable for these parameters.


Your full range of tech

Once you are clear on exactly what tasks the thruster will need to perform and the design characteristics of the CubeSat, the next consideration is the technology that will sit alongside the thruster to make sure everything is compatible (and fits in the unit in the first place!)

You may not yet know the full range of accompanying tech (and you might need to first choose the thruster in order to make decisions on other components), but make sure you have access to the technical specifications of all the other sub-systems and structural components that are most likely to be used per the current plans.


Key performance criteria

Now you’re armed with the knowledge of what the thruster needs to do, work alongside and fit within, you can make an informed decision from the available products, based on your required performance characteristics.

Some of the potential key specifications and performance criteria to evaluate are:

  • Size and weight – Will it fit? Is it too heavy? The physical volume (usually expressed in CubeSat units / U) and on-Earth weight determine what other components can be used in the unit and impact transport and launch costs.
  • Specific impulse – What specific impulse values are required for your CubeSat and intended applications?
  • Electric or chemical – This is a big debate and beyond this article to go into in detail. Both classes of propulsion technologies can perform very well for CubeSats and should be evaluated for any potential system.
  • Flight heritage – Is this thruster fully tested in space? You need to know that the system will survive the launch and operate as expected in microgravity, so it is important to look at the product’s history.
  • Operating power – What power supply can your CubeSat use to operate the thruster? What input will work best with other systems and maintain safety and efficiency?
  • Thruster delta-V capability – What changes in velocity does the thruster need to produce in order to carry out the maneuvers required in the mission?
  • Integration requirements – Do you require a simple plug-and-play system? Or do your CubeSat’s needs and mission parameters dictate a more customizable solution?

These provide a snippet of the technical details that are necessary to evaluate as part of your selection process. In addition, there are the typical criteria for any major purchase such as; cost, delivery time, supplier reputation and location, contract details and maintenance conditions to take into account.

Finally, it’s important to know that selection of a thruster for your CubeSat is an iteratively process, as is the case for virtually every other component of your overall system.

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CubeSat thrusters on the market

In this section, you can find a range of CubeSat thruster products available on the global market. These listings will be updated when new in-space propulsion systems for CubeSats are added to the global marketplace for space at satsearch.co – so please check back for more or sign up for our mailing list for all the updates.

We have also put together an overview of Electrical Power Systems (EPS) and On-board computers (OBC), as well as many other categories of space services and sub-systems available on the market.

Click on any of the links or images below to find out more about the systems. You can also submit a request for a quote, documentation or further information on each of the products listed or send us a more general query to discuss your specific needs, and we will use our global networks of suppliers to find a system to meet your specifications.

In addition, if you would like further advice on how to select a CubeSat thruster or small satellite propulsion system, please click here to take a look at the footage and links from our in-depth webinar on the topic, featuring speakers from 5 of the companies listed below.


Chemical propulsion systems

Thrusters utilizing chemical propellants operate by creating gas, through chemical reactions, which expands and is expelled to produce thrust.

A variety of different chemicals may be used as propellant, in either monopropellant (made from a single chemical) or bi-propellant (a mixture of two chemicals) form.

Common propellants in use (some of which may also be used in electric propulsion systems) include hydrazine, ammonium dinitramide (ADN), water, iodine, xenon, adamantane, teflon, AF-M315E, and krypton.


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An in-space propulsion system for 3-12U CubeSats, and similar platforms, with zero propellant toxicity. The standard 1U configuration of the PM200 propulsion module can deliver in excess of 230 m/s of velocity increment to a 3U CubeSat of 4 kg, at a nominal thrust level of 0.5 N.

The Dawn Aerospace B20 Thruster is developed to utilize in the NewSpace missions. Its assembly includes the thruster body, valves, and control electronics. The B20 thruster can be combined with multiple thrusters for high-thrust missions.

A 0.040 kg (ex. FCV) mass thruster using non-toxic propellant and designed for small satellites and CubeSats. The system has a thrust range of 30 to 100 mN and specific impulse of 196 to 209 s. The system's versatility has been designed to enable new applications for satellite operators along with improving safety and efficiency during integration.

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ECAPS's 1N HPGP Thruster is designed for attitude and orbit control of small-sized satellites. 46 1N HPGP thrusters have been demonstrated to date, aboard the PRISMA spacecraft and the SkySat series. The system is ECAPS' most heritage line of thrusters and is most popular with small to medium sized spacecraft, up to 750 kg.

The ECAPS's 5N HPGP Thruster is designed for attitude, trajectory and orbit control of small and medium satellites, providing higher thruster when and where it is needed. The 5N HPGP thruster is currently undergoing a test fire campaign with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, characterizing the performance of the system.

ECAPS's 22N HPGP Thruster is designed for attitude, trajectory and orbit control of larger satellites and for systems such as propulsive payload adaptor rings. The system has a mass of 1.1 kg, a thrust range of 5.5 to 22 N, and a specific impulse of 243 to 255 s. The non-toxic green propellant is designed to enhance versatility, safety, and efficiency during integration and use.

ECAPS's 50N HPGP Thruster is designed for attitude, trajectory and orbit control of larger satellites, including geostationary satellites, or launch vehicle applications. The 2.1 kg system has a specific impulse of 243 to 255 s and thrust range of 12.5 to 50 N. This thruster is currently in development and the company is looking for partners to bring the prior work into fruition.

ECAPS's 200N HPGP Thruster is designed for launch vehicle upper-stage reaction control and potential defense applications, such as missile defense. The system uses non-toxic propellant for added versatility, safety, and integration efficiency.

The Rafael Ltd 1N thruster is a monopropellant hydrazine thruster suitable for maneuvering the satellite, and is qualified for the OFEQ program. The thruster consists of a Flow Control Valve (FCV) that is operated by solenoid and a Thrust Chamber Assembly (TCA). The TCA has a bell-shaped nozzle with an expansion ratio of 130. The thruster has flight heritage and is free of any ITAR restrictions.

The Rafael Ltd 5N thruster is a monopropellant hydrazine thruster suitable for maneuvering the satellite, and is qualified for the OFEQ program. The thruster consists of a Flow Control Valve (FCV) that is operated by solenoid and a Thrust Chamber Assembly (TCA). The TCA has a bell-shaped nozzle with an expansion ratio of 50. The thruster has flight heritage and is free of any ITAR restrictions.

The Rafael Ltd 25N thruster is a monopropellant hydrazine thruster suitable for maneuvering the satellite, and is qualified for the OFEQ program. The thruster consists of a Flow Control Valve (FCV) that is operated by solenoid and a Thrust Chamber Assembly (TCA). The TCA has a bell-shaped nozzle with an expansion ratio of 60. The thruster has flight heritage and is free of any ITAR restrictions.

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The Rubicon Space Systems 0.1N High Throughput (HT) Thruster is designed to use in space systems. Rubicon's four 0.1N high throughput (HT) thrusters were successfully demonstrated in space from December 2022 through May 2023, accumulating more than 90 minutes of total firing (on) time and achieving expected nominal thrust and performance. It was developed through a NASA SBIR Phase I/II/III program.

The Rubicon Space Systems 1N High Throughput (HT) Thruster is designed for propulsion applications in space systems. Through a US Space Force SPRINT BAA, Rubicon developed an instrumented 1N HT thruster to demonstrate these design processes and relative thermal characteristics, achieving record throughput and performance, accumulating over 1.4 hours of firing time, and ~1.6kg throughput, and more than 5700 pulses.

The Rubicon Space Systems 5N Low Throughput (LT) Thruster is designed for small satellite applications. Its design enables cheaper and faster manufacturability whilst still maintaining high performance, only sacrificing on total throughput. This low-throughput thruster design targets small satellite mission applications where their primary function would be orbit insertions, breaking maneuvers, and de-orbiting.

The Rubicon Space Systems Phantom Propulsion System is a large, self-contained propulsion module designed for space applications. The module is outfitted with an externally accessible fuel port. It uses four 0.1N ASCENT thrusters in pump-fed operation. Phantom delivers approximately 9000 Ns of total impulse with a mass of less than 10kg.

The Rubicon Space Systems Sprite Propulsion System is a self-contained plug-and-play designed module for satellite applications. Sprite fits a 10cm x 10cm x 15cm envelope plus a “tuna can.” The module is outfitted with an externally accessible fuel port allowing fueling after the module is integrated into the spacecraft. It can be fueled prior to integration or afterward, depending on the customer's requirement. It uses a single 0.1N ASCENT thruster in blow-down operation.

The Benchmark Space Systems Collision Avoidance (COLA) Kit is a 1N blow-down plug-and-play system with a total impulse of 1000 Ns and intelligent control electronics.

The COLA Kit is sized for microsatellites and OTVs to provide rapid sidestep maneuvers to quickly evade conjunction risks and orbital debris. It is designed with reliability and affordability in mind.

The Benchmark Space Systems Collision Avoidance (COLA) Kit is a 1N blow-down plug-and-play system with a total impulse of 2000 Ns and intelligent control electronics.

The COLA Kit is sized for microsatellites and OTVs to provide rapid sidestep maneuvers to quickly evade conjunction risks and orbital debris. It is designed with reliability and affordability in mind.

The Benchmark Space Systems Collision Avoidance (COLA) Kit is a 1N blow-down plug-and-play system with a total impulse of 4000 Ns and intelligent control electronics.

The COLA Kit is sized for microsatellites and OTVs to provide rapid sidestep maneuvers to quickly evade conjunction risks and orbital debris. It is designed with reliability and affordability in mind.

The Benchmark Space Systems Collision Avoidance (COLA) Kit is a 1N blow-down plug-and-play system with a total impulse of 6000 Ns and intelligent control electronics.

The COLA Kit is sized for microsatellites and OTVs to provide rapid sidestep maneuvers to quickly evade conjunction risks and orbital debris. It is designed with reliability and affordability in mind.

The Benchmark Space Systems Halcyon is a non-toxic (‘green’) high-thrust propulsion product line developed for 3U through ESPA satellite operations. The systems are designed to remove common customer pain points by combining intelligent control electronics with a modular system architecture. It utilizes readily available materials and propellants to deliver highly configurable, cost-effective solutions with shorter lead times.

The Benchmark Space Systems Starling is a cold gas propulsion system with a specific impulse of 70s. The propellant options include traditional pressurant gas or Benchmark's patented ODPS™ gas generation technique. Starling can be configured with 1-4 thrusters. It is often used for momentum management and attitude control and can be scaled down for primary CubeSat operations. It is available with the option of a resistojet thruster configuration.

A green monopropellant thruster featuring a patented monolithic catalyst. The system uses non-toxic, green AF-M315E monopropellant which is stable and simpler to store and handle due to its low vapour proessure.

A 0.1 N nominal thrust propulsion unit utilizing stable, non-toxic AF-M315E green monopropellant. The propellant is safe and easy to handle given the low vapour pressure and the system also features a patented monolithic catalyst.

The monopropellant green thruster features a high temperature body, patented catalyst reactor and a low-power piezo microvalve with proven flight heritage. The Post-Launch Pressurization System (PLPS) makes it suitable for Cubesats and Smallsats, and the BGT-X5 system has a scalable and modular design.

The CU Aerospace (CUA) / VACCO Propulsion Unit for CubeSats (PUC) is a complete high- performance and compact small-satellite propulsion solution. The all-welded titanium PUC comes fully integrated with all necessary propulsion subsystems, including controller, power processing unit, micro-cavity discharge thruster, propellant valves, heaters, sensors, and software.

CU Aerospace has tested a proof-of-principle Monopropellant Propulsion Unit for CubeSats (MPUC). Complete catalyzed combustion was demonstrated of a H2O2-based propellant denoted as CMP-8. Thrust stand tests achieved a thrust level of >100mN at Isp >183 s with an average input power of ~3 W, for hot fire runs typically spanning >10 minutes.

An integrated, green proplusion module for small satellites, developed jointly with JAXA, for use in collision avoidance maneuvers. The system utilizes HNP225, a green propellant developed by IHI Aerospace for safer handling at the launch site.

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Electric propulsion systems

Electric propulsion systems typically work by using electric or magnetic force to expel a propellant, thus creating a propulsive force in the opposite direction.

Thrusters utilizing electric propulsion can often operate at a higher specific impulse than those using chemical propulsion, therefore they require less propellant and have a higher mass efficiency. Ion thrusters are one of the most common forms of electric propulsion system; thrusters in which ions are accelerated to generate force.

Other sub-categories of ion thruster and electric propulsion system include Hall Effect Thrusters (HETs), Field-emission electric propulsion (FEEP) thrusters, electrospray thrusters, vacuum arc thruster, and electrothermal propulsion units.


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While the required power to operate the ENPULSION NANO starts at around 10 W, at higher thrust levels one can choose between high thrust and high specific impulse operation. The ENPULSION NANO can operate at at an Isp range of 2,000 to 6,000 s.

While the required power to operate the ENPULSION NANO R³ starts at around 8 W, at higher power levels one can choose between high thrust and high specific impulse operation. The ENPULSION NANO R³ can operate at an Isp range of 2,000 to 6,000 s.

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The ENPULSION Nano AR³ uses differential emission throttling within the proprietary crown ion emitter to control actively the emitted ion beam and, therefore, thrust.

Building on the heritage of the ENPULSION NANO, ENPULSION has developed a scaled version of the technology to target small and medium size spacecrafts. The ENPULSION MICRO R³ is engineered in a modular approach, with units clustering easily together to form building blocks.

The Exotrail spaceware™ Nano L Thruster is a 60W-class system designed for satellite platforms ranging between 10 to 80kg. It utilizes Xenon as a propellant and has a maximum total impulse of 5.4 kNs. The thruster's tilt is adjustable for CubeSats between 6U and 20U. Its Thruster Control Unit (TCU) can be mounted separately from the thruster body.

The Exotrail spaceware™ Nano L Thruster is a 60W-class system designed for satellite platforms ranging between 10 to 80kg. It utilizes Xenon as a propellant and has a maximum total impulse of 5.4 kNs. The thruster's tilt is adjustable for CubeSats between 6U and 20U. Its Thruster Control Unit (TCU) can be mounted separately from the thruster body.

The Exotrail spaceware™ Micro XL Thruster is a 150W-class system developed for microsatellites. It offers high thrust and huge maneuver capabilities for microsatellites. The thruster utilizes Xenon as a propellant and has a maximum total impulse of 52 kNs. Its tilt is adjustable towards the center of mass to a wide extent with low thermal influence on the platform.

The Exotrail spaceware™ Micro XL Thruster is a 150W-class system developed for microsatellites. It offers high thrust and huge maneuver capabilities for microsatellites. The thruster utilizes Xenon as a propellant and has a maximum total impulse of 52 kNs. Its tilt is adjustable towards the center of mass to a wide extent with low thermal influence on the platform.

The Exotrail spaceware™ Micro Cluster² XL Thruster is developed with cluster configurations for microsatellite platforms. It utilizes Xenon as a propellant and has a maximum total impulse of 115 kNs. The cluster configurations provide flexibility to meet the high thrust and lifetime demands of missions as per the customer requirements. It also opens up the door to AOCS capabilities and allows optimal performance in all the throttling scales.

The Exotrail spaceware™ Micro Cluster² XL Thruster is developed with cluster configurations for microsatellite platforms. It utilizes Xenon as a propellant and has a maximum total impulse of 115 kNs. The cluster configurations provide flexibility to meet the high thrust and lifetime demands of missions as per the customer requirements. It also opens up the door to AOCS capabilities and allows optimal performance in all the throttling scales.

The Exotrail spaceware™ Mini M Thruster is a 400W-class system designed for small satellite platforms. Its tilt is adjustable towards the center of mass to a wide extent with low thermal influence on the platform. The thruster consists of multi-propellant capabilities, using either Xenon, Krypton, or Iodine. It is mainly developed for NewSpace companies targeting small satellite constellations.

A launch-safe and cost-effective electrothermal propulsion system that uses water as propellant. The Comet produces 17 mN thrust with a specific impulse of 175s. It is approved for flight on multiple launch vehicles and features a flexible interface suitable for use with a wide range of spacecraft sizes.

The Steam TunaCan Thruster is a water-powered, electrothermal propulsion system specifically designed for CubeSats. The tailored shape factor has been designed to allow its installation in the “tunacan” volume located outside the main CubeSat structure, available in most of the CubeSats deployers.

The Steam Thruster One is a flight-proven, water-powered, electrothermal propulsion system specifically designed for CubeSats and Small Satellites. The system features a tailored design and manufacturing approach that allows for customization, to meet a wide range of different mission requirements. The specifications are given for a representative 2U propulsion unit. 

The Pale Blue Water Ion Thruster is a low pressure, low power propulsion unit with a scalable water tank and a redundant flow control system. It features hollow cathodes and electrodes for an enhanced lifetime of the overall system. It features both UART and RS422 command interfaces. The thruster is modularized and it is also possible to enhance the overall system by clustering thruster units and scaling the propellant tank as needed.

The Pale Blue Water Resistojet Thruster is a low pressure (<60 kPa) propulsion system with a scalable water tank and a redundant flow control system with a fail-safe valve. The thruster unit is modular and it is possible to expand the overall system by clustering multiple units and scaling the propellant tank as needed. The limits of such clustering or scaling are determined by the mass, volume, or power of a spacecraft.

The Rafael Ltd R-800 thruster is a Hall-effect thruster (HET) suitable for low to medium mass satellite platforms (<1,000 kg). With Xenon as propellant, the system features a permanent magnet and center-mounted low current heaterless hallow cathode configuration resulting in a low volume and mass footprint and low power consumption. The gas distributor of the thruster also serves as the anode.

The Rafael Ltd Israeli Hall-Effect Thruster IHET-300 is a hall effect thruster operating on Xenon as propellant suitable for small and microsatellite. The IHET-300 thruster is part of the Electric Propulsion System (EPS) on Venus program. The thruster’s operational anode power may utilize the instantaneous available power from the satellite.

The Rafael Ltd R-200 EPS is an Electric Propulsion System consisting of R-200 Hall Effect thruster (HET) with Xenon and Krypton as propellants. The system also includes power processing unit and propellant management assembly. The space-qualified R-200 EPS is an improved version of the Rafael’s R-400 EPS. The system is fully space-qualified.

The Rafael Ltd R-200 thruster is a Hall Effect Thruster (HET) suitable for low to medium mass satellite platform with Xenon as propellant. The non-conventional configuration of having an elongated discharge channel and co-axial anodes helps overcome the low mass utilization efficiency issues. The system is fully space-qualified and has undergone vibration, shock and full lifetime tests.

The Rafael Ltd R-800 EPS is a Eelctric Propulsion system consisting of two R-800 Thruster, PPU, Propellant Tank, Propellant Feed System.The Rafael Ltd R-800 thruster is a Hall-effect thruster (HET) suitable for low to medium mass satellite platforms (<1,000 kg). With Xenon as propellant, the system features a permanent magnet and center-mounted low current heaterless hallow cathode configuration.

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T4i’s Regulus is designed based on Magnetically Enhanced Plasma Thruster (MEPT) technology. The highly modulable plug&play thruster uses iodine as a propellant, and produces a specific impulse of up to 650 s with a nominal input power of 50 W.

The IENAI SPACE Adaptable THruster based on Electrospray for NAnosatellites (ATHENA) is a fully customizable, on-board electric propulsion system, that can be tailored to spacecraft platform constraints, and specific mission requirements.

The ThrustMe NPT30-I2 1U is a miniaturized, propulsion system based on gridded ion thruster technology. The launch-qualified thruster has modular design, passive thermal management and intelligent operation control. It uses safe, non-pressurized solid iodine as propellant.

The ThrustMe NPT30-I2 1.5U is a modular, stand-alone propulsion unit based on gridded ion thruster technology and features a patented, pipeless design. The system utilizes solid iodine fuel and incorporates embedded intelligent controls and passive thermal management.

The ThrustMe I2T5 is a non-pressurized, cold gas propulsion system operating with Iodine as propellant. The I2T5 stand-alone system includes the propellant storage, the flow control, the PPU, as well as thermal management and intelligent operation all embedded into a 0.5U form factor.

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The Nova product-line is the baseline propulsion system used in the ORB-class satellite platforms. It is specifically built to capitalize on usage of the "tuna-can" volume made available for nanosatellites, minimising impact on volume consumed within the platform. It uses a low melting point, liquid metal propellant with no pressurized tanks or moving parts.

The Kilonova is an upgradable variant of OrbAstro's Nova propulsion system, built for compatibility with CubeSat platforms and suitable for larger ORB-class and Guardian-class satellite platforms. It is designed to work with the "tuna-can" volume and uses a liquid metal propellant with a low melting point and no pressurized tanks or moving parts.

The Supernova is an upgradable model of OrbAstro's Nova. It uses a low melting point liquid metal propellant, with no pressurized tanks or moving parts, and built for compatibility with CubeSats and suitable for larger Guardian-class and ORB-class satellite platforms.

A miniaturized centerline-cathode Hall Effect Thruster (HET) designed to offer a high-performance, high-delta-V, launch-vehicle-compliant propulsion solution for CubeSats. The system uses magnetic fields to focus and accelerate plasma in order to generate thrust and the system operates on a flexible range of inert gases and storable propellants, without combustion.

The Tiled Ionic Liquid Electrospray (TILE) 2 is a small satellite thruster provided in a 0.5U form factor. It operates at a typical total impulse of 21 Ns and delivers a maximum axial thrust of 0.04 mN. The ionic-liquid propelled thrusters have an operating temperature range of 10 to 50 °C. The maximum power drawn is 4 W.

The Tiled Ionic Liquid Electrospray (TILE) 3 system is a scalable, modular ion thruster with no heavy tanks, toxic propellants, external cathodes, or ionization chambers. It has a volume of 1U, a wet mass of 2 kg, and is produced using commercial MEMS manufacturing processes.

The plug&play Hydros-C thruster uses water propulsion technology and has a specific impulse of > 310s. The orbit-averaged thrust is 2.2 mN with a thrust efficiency of 0.13 MN/W. With 0.5 kg water capacity, the thruster has a lifetime of 3 years in LEO and capable of delivering > 1.2 N thrust.

The HYDROS-M is designed to fit inside a 15″ separation ring and sized for micro-satellites. The system uses water as propellant, with a capacity of 6.0 kg, the thruster has a specific impulse of > 310s, orbit-averaged thrust of 6.8 mN, and a thrust efficiency of 0.16 mN/W.

Bellatrix Aerospace has developed and patented Microwave Electro-thermal Thrusters (MET), an advanced form of electric propulsion system for satellites. The technology has the ability to work effectively with several propellants such as argon, xenon, nitrogen, ammonia and water vapour.

Bellatrix's Hall Effect Thruster or Stationary Plasma Thruster (SPT) is an ion propulsion system that generates thrust by trapping electrons in a magnetic field and then using them to ionize propellant and efficiently accelerate the ions to produce thrust. Forms of Bellatrix SPT, with 40mN and 90mN thrust output, are under development.

Magnetoplasmadynamic Thruster (MPDT's) or Lorentz Force Accelerators (LFA) are an advanced form of electric propulsion system, capable of generating high thrust (~200N) with very high specific impulses (>20,000 seconds). While currently unsuitable for space applications (due to requiring power in the range of 50-200 MW) Bellatrix has been performing R&D on MPDTs since June 2013.

Maxwell is a plasma propulsion system designed for small satellites. The system encompasses a proprietary RF thruster, xenon propellant tank, power electronics and flight software in a compact package suitable for restricted volumes.

ARM-O is a CubeSat propulsion system designed for orbital control, station-keeping, and collision avoidance, utilizing a water-based propellant. ARM-O is the simplest variant of the Aurora Resistojet Module product family and generates unidirectional thrust. 1-4 thrusters can be included based on requirements.

The water-based propulsion system has a compact and lightweight design with various tank sizes, that are customizable for mission requirements. The thruster enables full 3-axis attitude control for target satellites 1–3U, 6U, and 12U, based on the tank variants.

One of the smallest available systems capable of controlling all directions of satellite movement. The thruster offers a customizable tank and module size with 4 or 6 degrees of freedom (ARM-AO vs ARM-6) and integrated attitude determination. The thruster technology is safe, green and has low power consumption.

The ARM-E can be attached to typically any external propellant tank. The thruster is suitable for satellites that require accurate movement functionality, such as attitude control, more precise control, or greater additional thrust. The variants include ARM-AE, ARM-AOE, ARM-OE, and ARM-6E.

The BHT-200 is Busek’s flagship matured propulsion system, with a proven flight heritage and currently operating on-orbit. The thruster features a patented design covered under “Tandem Hall Field Plasma Accelerator”. Iodine-compatible versions of the thruster have also been delivered for the MFSC iSat mission.

The TRL-6 matured Hall Effect Thruster (HET) technology features cathodes, PPUs, and a feed system of proven flight heritage. The thruster uses xenon and iodine as propellants. A hybrid variant (BHT-600i) using iodine as anode and xenon as cathode, has also been demonstrated.

A 2 kW-class Hall Effect Thruster (HET) designed for use with xenon, iodine and krypton as propellants. The BHT1500 features an innovative center-mounted cathode that reduces performance degradation and delivers a thrust of 103 mN at a power of 1800 W power, and a specific impulse of 1,820s.

The BHT-8000 is a mature HET operating on xenon and krypton as propellants, with a center-mounted cathode. The 8 kW (nominal) thruster features precisely designed magnetic field distribution for high total impulse and efficiency. Available configurations are circular, clustered, racetrack, and nested.

An ion thruster that utilizes an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) source. The system features a BRFC-1 RF Cathode and has an ion beam current of 2.7 mA. The unit has been designed to work with xenon propellant but is compatible with a range of other fuels.

The gridded ion thruster operates at 56-80 W input power and uses an inductively-coupled plasma (ICP) discharge. The thruster uses solid iodine as propellant, eliminating the need for high-pressure tanks, and an innovative thruster gimbal system enables attitude control.

A 460 W ion thruster featuring an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) source. The system is designed to work with xenon propellant but is compatible with a variety of other fuels. It includes a BRFC-1 RF Cathode and can produce a thrust of 11.0 mN.

With proven flight heritage, the rugged, small, safe, and precise micro-pulsed plasma thruster is suitable for CubeSat and microsatellite propulsion and attitude control. The BmP-220 uses non-toxic solid propellant teflon, featuring long storage life with no pressure tanks and no moving parts.

Busek’s micro-Pulsed Plasma Thrusters (μPPTs) have been in development since 2002 based upon technology originally developed at AFRL. These simple units feature no moving parts and non-toxic teflon propellant.

The Busek 3-axis μPPTs, or MPACS (Micro Propulsion Attitude Control System), are thruster units that produce precise, pulsed impulse bits (80μN-s), utilizing solid propellant. The systems feature no pressurized containers, no moving parts, and low power consumption (< 10W). Direct flight heritage was first achieved on the 2007 FalconSat-3 mission.

A multiplexed array of 9 μPPTs was constructed and delivered to the Air Force Institute of Technology as a lab- model test unit. This unit featured flight heritage μPPTs technology, increased the amount of total impulse of the MPACS unit while decreasing required power and digital electronics.

An integrated primary and attitude control system, with a specific impulse of 150s for the primary and 80s for each ACS thruster. The thruster can deliver 0.5 mN of thrust for each of 8 ACS thrusters and has full 6 degrees of freedom control for a Cubesat. The MRJ features a non-toxic, safe propellant.

The CubeSat High Impulse Propulsion System (CHIPS) adopts patended resistojet technology. The thruster is compact, with a size of 0.6 U and 0.3 U with and without Attitude Control System. The ACS allows a full 6 degrees of freedom. The thruster has warm/cold gas operational modes.

The CU Aerospace (CUA) Fiber-fed Pulsed Plasma Thruster (FPPT) system is a pulsed plasma thruster that uses PTFE fiber as propellant. The FPPT starts immediately without warmup and mechanically feeds PTFE propellant fiber from a non-rotating spool through the anode where it is subjected to a pulsed discharge and electromagnetically accelerated to provide thrust.

The CUA Monofilament Vaporization Propulsion (MVP) system is an electrothermal thruster that uses a space-rated plastic as propellant. The MVP draws from 3D printing technology to feed propellant. A preheat is required before firing (~3 minutes), but once warmed the “ready” state is maintained with minimal power draw and thermal loading.

The HT 100 Hall Effect Thruster (HET) is one of the smallest and lowest power HETs ever developed in Europe. Based on permanent magnets, the HT 100 HET is designed to perform orbit control tasks on micro-satellites and AOCS tasks on mini-satellites, and all components are ITAR-free.

A Hall Effect Thruster (HET) designed to be operated at a nominal discharge power of 20kW. The system has been designed to offer a favourable combination of performance, reliability, and lifetime. To improve the thruster-cathode coupling, HT20k features an internally mounted hollow cathode, the SITAEL HC60, located inside the inner pole of the magnetic circuit.

The HT 400 Hall Effect Thruster (HET) has been designed to perform orbit and attitude control tasks on micro- and mini-satellites. The system's function is based on permanent magnets and it is designed to be installed onboard telecommunication and Earth Observation (EO) platforms.

The HT 5k Hall Effect Thruster (HET) has been designed to meet the requirements of modern communication and navigation satellites, performing propellant-saving LEO-GEO/LEO-MEO transfers, as well as station-keeping tasks on large geostationary platforms.

Designed for use as part of the propulsion system for satellites with onboard power larger than 300 W. The structure of ST25 includes a combination of solenoids and permanent magnets to minimize the electric power needed to create the magnet field in the acceleration channel.

The SETS Hall Effect Thruster (HET) ST40 is designed for use as part of the propulsion system for satellites with a mass up to 1T. It is designed to enable accurate orientation and stabilization of the spacecraft in different orbits. It provides a thrust of up to 28 mN at a maximum electric power consumption of up to 600 W, and is equipped with two heatless hollow cathodes.

A thruster unit designed for small and medium satellites (up to 500 kg). The SPS25 is able to adjust orbital parameters and ensure the maneuverability of satellites in space. The system includes one ST-25 (two hollow cathodes), a xenon feed system, and a power processing unit.

A propulsion system designed for advanced satellites constellations, enabling position correction relative to other satellites. The elements of the xenon feed system are demonstratively distributed on the surface. At the request of the customer it is possible to mount them in required volume. The propulsion system includes two ST-40 (two hollow cathodes for each thruster), the xenon feed system, and a power processing unit (PPU).

The Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR®) engine is a new type of electric thruster in which gas (such as argon, xenon, or hydrogen) is injected into a tube surrounded by a magnet and a series of two radio wave (RF) couplers. The couplers turn cold gas into superheated plasma and the rocket’s magnetic nozzle converts the plasma thermal motion into a directed jet.

The Applied Ion Systems AIS-VAT1-PQ Micro Vacuum Arc Thruster is designed for 1.5P PocketQubes to 1U Cubesats. It is available in both 2.5W and 5W, with a total impulse of 0.13Ns. The VAT1-PQ utilizes Solid Bismuth as a fuel allowing the lowest ignition voltage, easy triggering, and operation over a wider range of burning voltages. It weighs approximately 56 grams.

The Applied Ion Systems AIS-VAT1-DUO Dual Micro Vacuum Arc Thruster is designed for Cubesats, mainly allowing for 1U and 1/2U CubeSats. It is available in both 5W and 10W with a total impulse of 0.26Ns. The AIS-VAT1-DUO allows clients to explore the use of EP with minimal volume and power budget. It can also be utilized for ground testing for academic, student, and research purposes.

The Applied Ion Systems AIS-VAT1-QUAD Quad Micro Vacuum Arc Thruster is designed for 1U CubeSat. It utilizes Bismuth as a fuel and has a total impulse of 0.52Ns. The AIS-VAT1-QUAD allows the clients to explore the use of EP with minimal volume and power budget. The thruster weighs approximately 177 grams and it is available in both 10W and 20W.

The Applied Ion Systems AIS-SWAG1-PQ is a sublimation warm gas thruster designed for space systems. It has a total impulse of 3.2Ns with a maximum thrust of 147uN. The thruster weighs approximately 214 grams and consists of multiple inputs 12V, 5V, GND, and x1 Logic Command. It utilizes solid unpressurized Adamantane fuel with a power of 5W.

The Applied Ion Systems AIS-SWAG1-DUO-NX is a sublimation warm gas thruster designed for space systems. It weighs 430 grams and utilizes solid unpressurized Adamantane fuel. The thruster has approximately 7 hours of operating lifetime and pre-heat time of 1 hour. It also features multiple inputs 12V, 5V, GND, and x1 Logic Command.

The Applied Ion Systems AIS-SWAG1-PQ-NX - Warm Gas Thruster is a sublimation warm gas propulsion system. It uses solid unpressurized Adamantane fuel and has a power rating of 5 W. The system has a total operating lifetime of approximately 7 hours including a pre-heating time of 1 hour and ramp-up time of 3 hours to maximum thrust. It has a mass of 214g and features a variety of inputs including 12V, 5V, GND, and one Logic Command.

The Applied Ion Systems AIS-SWAG1-QUAD-NX - Warm Gas Thruster is a sublimation warm gas propulsion system. It is available with a power of 20W and weighs approximately 860 grams. The thruster consists of a variety of inputs 12V, 5V, GND, and x1 Logic Command. It has an operational lifetime capability of 7 hours and a pre-heat time of 1 hour.

The Applied Ion Systems AIS-SWAG1-QUAD is a sublimation warm gas thruster designed for space systems. It consists of a maximum thrust of 588uN and solid unpressurized Adamantane fuel with a power of 20W. The thruster weighs 860 grams and has a total impulse of 12.8Ns. It also features a variety of inputs 12V, 5V, GND, and x1 Logic Command.

The Applied Ion Systems AIS-SWAG1-DUO - Warm Gas Thruster is a sublimation warm gas propulsion system. It has a total impulse of 6.4Ns and utilizes solid unpressurized Adamantane fuel with a power of 10W. The thruster weighs approximately 430 grams and consists of multiple inputs 12V, 5V, GND, and x1 Logic Command.

The Astra Spacecraft Engine (ASE) is a Hall-effect thruster propulsion system with flight heritage. The ASE PPU provides power and control to the ASE thruster, valves, regulator, and pressure transducers. Astra provides xenon/krypton propellant feed systems. Astra has baselined a Xenon/Krypton PSMA with a single string bang-bang regulator with orifice flow split for cathode, anode, and ignition flow.

The Astra Spacecraft Engine (ASE) Max is a kilowatt-class propulsion system using krypton or xenon propellant. The thruster is suitable for missions requiring high total impulse per thruster. ASE Max is ideal for communication satellite constellations, for small GEO spacecraft, and as an enabling technology for high throughput LEO, GTO-GEO transfer, and cislunar missions. ASE Max includes a magnetically shielded thruster which is tuned to optimize performance with krypton propellant.

The Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) Nano Pulsed Plasma Thruster System (nanoPPT) for Micro-Satellites is a pulsed plasma thruster using PTFE. It is designed to provide competitive delta-V and 3-axis attitude control to CubeSats and microsats.

The ALIENA MUSIC Electric Propulsion System - Hot Mode is designed for microsatellites. It consists of hollow cathode technology that allows high thrust/high specific impulse operation at 100 W in hot mode. The system weighs approximately 5 kg and has a configurable total impulse of 15 kNs.

The ALIENA MUSIC Electric Propulsion System - Self-ignition mode is designed for nanosatellites. It consumes less than 20W of power and weighs approximately 2 kg. The system has a total impulse of 150 Ns and it is configurable.

The ALIENA MUSIC Electric Propulsion System - Dual Mode/Fault-tolerant is designed for microsatellites. It integrates both self-ignition technology and hollow cathode technology. The system has a wide thrust range and a fault-tolerant system that can ignite on demand. It weighs approximately 5 kg and has a configurable total impulse of 15 kNs.

The Airbus PureLine Topaz/THORs is an electronic propulsion subsystem solution for satellites operating in the LEO. It is based on low power hall effect thruster (HET) technology and is well suited for orbit raising, station keeping and deorbiting maneuvers. It also has a bi-compatibility to the latest generation plasma thrusters. The product weighs 10 kgs and has a total impulse per string up to 260kN.

Powerful Thruster is suitable for installation on heavy spacecraft. Ideal for GEO satellites. A reasonable choice for tasks such as orbital keeping, in-orbit maneuvers, disposal orbiting.

Electric propulsion system based on 100W hall thruster units. The system's full power level was 250W, dry mass of 17kg. With 10kg of propellant (Xenon) the system was capable to deliver about 90kN*s of total impulse.

Sufficiently high specific characteristics for this class of thrusters allow efficient use of onboard resources. Two coils configuration was used for the thruster design, large variety of operational modes options were achieved due to well designed magnetic field configuration.

The low power thruster is ideal for small spacecraft. Sufficiently high specific characteristics for this class of thrusters allow efficient use of onboard resources. This engine will be the optimal choice for spacecraft from 6U.

The Benchmark Space Systems Starling is a cold gas propulsion system with a specific impulse of 70s-140s. The propellant options include traditional pressurant gas or Benchmark's patented ODPS™ gas generation technique. Starling can be configured with 1-4 thrusters. It is often used for momentum management and attitude control and can be scaled down for primary CubeSat operations. It is available with the option of a resistojet thruster configuration.

The Benchmark Space Systems XANTUS is a metal plasma thruster system that is designed for small satellites. Xantus is a milli-Newton class Electric Propulsion System of Benchmark Space Systems. Xantus does not use gas or liquid propellants, neutralizers, heaters, or high-voltage electronics. It is designed to have the highest total impulse for its size. The thruster was developed by Alameda Applied Sciences Corporation and had the support of NASA in designing and developing the system.

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