Tradition at its best is building the future
The new IFM Nano thruster family can build on an extensive development history that has started long before the need of a propulsion system for small satellites became the urgent matter it is today.
FOTEC is the Research Subsidiary of the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt. In the last 10 years, FOTEC has developed the IFM 350 thruster (also known as mN-FEEP thruster) in the frame of ESA science missions at FOTEC.
For almost a decade, FOTEC has developed the mN-FEEP thruster to be used in future ESA missions. This thruster can provide highly accurate thrust ranging from 1 µN to above 1 mN. It will allow large satellites to control their position with an unprecedented accuracy enabling e.g. formation flight of scientific satellites.
Microsatellite increases the mission range of such satellites significantly. Furthermore, for 30 years the department of Aerospace Engineering at FOTEC is the only group world-wide to deliver space-qualified liquid metal ion sources to a large number of missions like EURO-MIR, Rosetta or MMS.
To our knowledge, the IFM Nano Thruster is the only European micro-propulsion technology that has been sold to a commercial customer. The Finnish company ICEYE plans to use the seven module configuration on a constellation of 50kg spacecraft. In orbit demonstration of the technology is planned for late 2017.