ThrustMe has been awarded an ESA GSTP contract to develop and qualify the electric propulsion system NPT30-I2-1.5U.
ThrustMe technology will integrate the GomSpace lead technology demonstration GOMX-5 mission — the satellite will be equipped with several advanced payloads and ThrustMe will provide the maneuverability for orbit raising and end-of-life disposal.
During the last few years, the space industry is going through an important industrial transformation. The large and tailormade satellites, providing unique single point observations, are complimented by smaller, industrialized, “off-the-shelf” satellites that, when operating together in constellations, provide instantaneous multiple-point observation capabilities of Earth or beyond.
In this industrial satellite constellation era, on-orbit propulsion becomes an essential subsystem to close the constellation business models. Additionally, countermeasures of collision avoidance and removal strategies at the end-of-life are vital to avoid risks to all other spacecrafts in the same orbit — it is essential for the sustainability of the industry.
Electric propulsion systems, such as ion thrusters, are a particularly attractive choice due to their very high fuel efficiency and, therefore, their ability to deliver all of the orbital maneuvers required for a constellation satellite. The GomSpace GOMX-5 mission is focused on demonstrating new smallsat capabilities in space for the next generation of LEO constellations. This includes significant increases in payload data downlink communication rates, maneuverability for orbit raising and end-of-life disposal, and satellite position accuracy.
ThrustMe’s highly performant, electric propulsion system, NPT30-I2-1.5U, was selected to guarantee maneuverability for orbit raising and end-of-life disposal as well as satellite position accuracy. The General Support Technology Program (GSTP) is an ESA program to enable the European space industry to develop leading edge space technology.
“The GOMX-5 mission is an extremely ambitious and exciting mission, where ESA through GomSpace and all the other European actors selected for this mission, will demonstrate capabilities never achieved before. We are very proud to take part, and it shows really how European actors are leading the technology revolution that is coming as a result of all the new requirements to make the industrial space era a success,” said Ane Aanesland, CEO and co-founder of ThrustMe.
“We are, of course, very glad to have the support from our space agency, CNES and ESA, through this GSTP ESA contract. Mobility should not be a constraint for high precision missions — developing such a powerful technology, as we do here at ThrustMe, will be advantageous for the entire space community”, said Giulio Coral, head of product development at ThrustMe and project manager of this GSTP contract.
“ThrustMe electric propulsion system NPT30-I2-1.5U will be thoroughly analysed and qualified by ESA experts. Analyzing in detail the technology developed by ThrustMe will give us confidence that the NPT30-I2-1.5U is the optimal propulsion system for this ambitious mission”, said Davina Maria Di Cara, Electric Propulsion Engineer and Technical Officer for this GSTP project from ESA.
ThrustMe is a one-stop shop provider of high performing in-orbit mobility solutions for customer across the globe. It offers a portfolio of disruptive, deeply integrated and smart on-orbit space propulsion solutions design for the new industrialized constellation space era. The company made the world’s first demonstration of an iodine-fueled electric propulsion system in space – an achievement the space industry has tried to reach for 60 years. Now delivering propulsion systems to major constellation players, ThrustMe has set up an industrial production line in the southern outskirt of Paris in France.