AASC is proud to announce that in August of 2020, the company was selected by ASTRA LLC to deliver a flight-ready version of the firm’s Metal Plasma Thruster (MPT) for ASTRA’s EWS Rapid Revisit Optical Cloud Imager (RROCI) Mission, scheduled for launch in early 2022.
The U.S. Space Force‘s (USSF) Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has selected ASTRA, LLC to develop and demonstrate an Electro-Optical / Infrared (EO/IR), LEO-based, cloud characterization solution (RROCI) that supports U.S. warfighter operations. RROCI is currently funded through launch readiness.
AASC is proud to support this project as a provider of a compact, reliable electric propulsion thruster with no moving parts, using solid metal propellant and a low voltage power processing unit. The scalable MPT configurations are described in www.aasc.space.
A flight ready unit will be delivered to Pumpkin Labs who has been selected by ASTRA to build and integrate the 12U spacecraft bus. The AASC MPT will raise the 12U spacecraft from its injection orbit up to its operational orbit in the early mission phase, provide attitude adjustments throughout the mission and finally maneuver the craft down to a lower orbit for burn-up at the end of the mission.
AASC has matured the MPT thruster with recent support from NASA via an SBIR contract. Direct thrust measurements made at NASA on a sensitive pendulum thrust stand confirm the predictions based on plasma parameters in the thruster.
AASC has the capability to manufacture the MPT line with short lead times and at a relatively low cost compared to other electric propulsion solutions.