Pale Blue has succeeded in operating the firm’s water vapor propulsion system (resistojet) in LEO — this propusion system was installed on “EYE,” a smallsat for the STAR SPHERE Project and was tested for the first time in space. Going forward, the company will innovate and expand the commercial use of this water-based propulsion systems for smallsats.
Pale Blue’s water-based propulsion system aboard “EYE” was launched by SpaceX on January 3rd, 2023, and has been orbiting Earth in LEO. The propulsion system operated for approximately 2 minutes on March 3rd, 2023, and the company confirmed successful thrust from the obtained data.
The STAR SPHERE Project, led by Sony Group Corporation, is planning to roll out a space photography service in 2023. The satellite will use Pale Blue’s thruster to enter the target orbit before service launch.
“Pale Blue successfully developed and operated its water-based thruste, and with this, the company takes a huge step forward towards orbit insertion for STAR SPHERE Project,” said Jun Asakawa, CEO and Co-Founder of Pale Blue. “We feel a strong significance in this project, which creates new values through the perspective of space and provides opportunities to learn about the Earth and its environment. We will continue technological innovation to create mobility capabilities that are core to the space industry and pioneer the expansion of human possibility.”
The product specifications of Pale Blue’s water thruster aboard “EYE”
- – Size: 9.0cm x 12.1cm x 12.1cm
- – Wet mass: 1.4 kg
- – Power: 22 W (typical / ground testing)
- – Thrust: 5.6 mN (typical / ground testing)
Pale Blue is a space startup from the University of Tokyo founded in 2020. The company is dedicated to thrusters innovation for small satellites that use water as a propellant. Through its water-based propulsion technology, Pale Blue aims to develop a space ecosystem where in-space mobility is not only affordable but completely safe to both humans and the surrounding environment.