ENPULSION’s NEO thruster successfully passed Preliminary Design Review (PDR) with ESA

ENPULSION has reached another important milestone in the development of its next generation of thrusters and the new age of in-space mobility. The NEO thruster has successfully passed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) with ESA. The NEO propulsion system is a new class of electric propulsion, scaling Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP) technology to the kilowatt range. The new satellite thruster builds on the extensive heritage of the ENPULSION thruster family.
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ENPULSION has reached another important milestone in the development of its next generation of thrusters and the new age of in-space mobility. The NEO thruster has successfully passed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) with ESA.

Wr. Neustadt, Austria, Dec 12th, 2022 – The NEO thruster is a new class of electric propulsion, scaling Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP) technology to the kilowatt range. The new satellite propulsion system builds on the extensive heritage of the ENPULSION thruster family with more than 140 operating in space and 250 delivered to customers worldwide.

The NEO propulsion system is designed to provide more than 500 kN.s of total impulse and 20mN of thrust in a very low volume package. It is especially well suited for commissioning ESPA and ESPA Grande class spacecraft. It is dimensioned to meet operator requirements for orbit raising, station-keeping and disposal mission phases.

With it’s small size and high power, the NEO thruster is especially suited as ESPA satellite propulsion system or ESPA Grande satellite propulsion system.

The ENPULSION NEO is designed for ease of integration. With its non-toxic, non-pressurized indium propellant the propulsion system is shipped full to customers through normal parcel carriers. It does not necessitate any special accommodations for integration on the spacecraft or the launcher. The thruster head combines emission surface and propellant tanks and features no valves, fill plugs or flow controllers thanks to its passive capillary feeding system. Indium is also readily available in large quantities as a byproduct of zinc refining. The thruster head is easily bolted on the external panel of a spacecraft with minimal thermal requirements. The assembly (including propellant tanks) fits inside a number of 15 inch ESPA class separation rings.

The NEO thruster development and qualification is supported by the European Space Agency as part of the ESA ARTES programme. Based on the thousands of needle ion emitters already manufactured for the ENPULSION NANO and MICRO thrusters, a new generation of emitter is in development to increase thrust density, specific impulse, and efficiency. First prototypes of the new ion emitters have already been manufactured and test fired.

“Working together with ESA has been a great help to mature the design of the NEO thruster. We are confident that this product will meet the maneuverability and reliability requirements of modern small and medium size spacecraft. Furthermore we are building on the incredible heritage of our existing thruster products”,

said Lou Grimaud, Product Manager and Design Lead of the ENPULSION NEO.

 

Lou Grimaud, Product Manager and Design Lead of the ENPULSION NEO

Qualification of the NEO thruster system is scheduled to start Q1 2024.

If you want to know more about the NEO thruster, please contact us directly, using the contact form below.

 

 


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