Full Performance Mapping of the IFM Nano Thruster, Including Direct Thrust Measurements – 10 October 2019

Authors: David Krejci, Valentin Hugonnaud, Tony Schönherr, Bryan Little, Alexander Reissner, Bernhard Seifert, Quirin Koch, Eduard Bosch Borràs, and José González del Amo

Published On: October 2019

Event: Journal of Small Satellites, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 881-893


This manuscript discusses the on orbit data availability and system integration aspects of the ENPULSION NANO liquid metal FEEP propulsion systems. We present flight data from thrusters on LEO spacecraft, and present and discuss data availability from 142 NANO propulsion systems that were launched in the previous 4 years on 64 different spacecraft, ranging from 3 U Cubesats to > 100 kg platforms. In parallel, new propulsion systems based on FEEP technology have been developed, expanding the thrust and power range and introducing new features, as well as lessons learnt from the large space heritage of the NANO. Two of these new propulsion systems have been launched to space so far. In this work we present telemetry of NANO operation over several hundred hours as well as aggregated on orbit statistical data of the NANO including the thrusting time over all units in space which accumulated to > 3000 h of thrusting. We then discuss challenges encountered and present lessons learnt during on orbit operations, customer AIT support and ground test campaigns conducted at different facilities.

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