Recent flight data from IFM Nano – 15 September 2019

Authors: David Krejci, Alexander Reissner , Tony Schönherr, Bernhard Seifert, Zainab Saleem, Ricardo Alejos

Published On: September 15-20, 2019

Event: 36th International Electric Propulsion Conference University of Vienna, IEPC-2019-724


The IFM Nano Thruster is a high specific impulse liquid metal Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP) system that has been flown on multiple space missions ranging from 3U Cubesats to 100 kg class satellites. The core component of the thruster is a crown-shaped porous metal ion emitter featuring 28 ion emission sites, with propellant supplied passively by capillary forces, obviating the need for pressurized tanks. The metal propellant used is solid during integration and launch, and is only liquefied in orbit, thus significantly simplifying handling and integration. The thruster itself is a fully contained package of less than 1U including power electronics, with applications ranging from orbit control, formation flight control, attitude control to orbit raising and deorbiting. This paper presents the testing, integration and flight data of multiple IFM Nano Thrusters integrated in a Small Satellite. The paper presents the telemetry data acquired during the commissioning phase of 4 thrusters.

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