Flight heritage of Indium-based FEEP propulsion systems across different applications and orbits: In space cleaning of extractor electrode – June 2024

Authors: David Krejci, Federico Toller, Tony Schönherr, Quirin Koch, Lou Grimaud, Valentin Hugonnaud, Ivanhoe Vasiljevich and Alexander Reissner

Published On: June 23-28

Event: , International Electric Propulsion Conference, Toulouse, France, IEPC-2024-279


Since the first flight of a Field emission electric propulsion (FEEP) thruster in 2018, more than 200 FEEP based propulsion systems have been launched, including 190 heritage ENPULSION NANO systems, 18 higher power MICRO systems and 9 novel NANO R3/AR3. The latter are the successor products of the heritage NANO, with the AR3 version allowing for direct thrust vectoring capability without moving parts. All propulsion systems reported in this work are based on passively fed, Indium based liquid metal FEEP technology. This work reports the latest launch and flight heritage statistics. We present telemetry of different propulsion systems used in different applications and orbits, and present the successful on orbit extractor cleaning procedure conducted after 1350 hours of accumulated firing on a heritage NANO thruster in LEO.

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