Safran Electronics & Defense and Terran Orbital (NYSE: LLAP) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) to study and validate the prerequisites for production of a new generation of electric propulsion systems for satellites in the United States, based on Safran’s PPSX00 plasma thruster.
Safran Electronics & Defense, via Safran Spacecraft Propulsion, and Terran Orbital, will initiate an in-depth analysis to determine the technical, industrial and economic prerequisites for a new U.S.-based production line for electric propulsion systems. The location under consideration is a Terran Orbital facility in Irvine, California, which produces smallsats.
In addition to providing the American space industry with a local source of satellite thrusters, contributing to the economy and employment, this new line will match Safran’s production facilities in France, eventually doubling the company’s international production capacity.
Developing effective and sustainable propulsion systems for satellites is a critical challenge worldwide, as increasingly stringent international regulations stipulate greater sustainability and resilience in spacecraft. A higher degree of spacecraft maneuverability is needed to avoid collisions, along with a system to deorbit LEO satellites at the end of their service life.
Safran’s PPSX00 plasma thrusters, rated at about one kilowatt of power, will be used to meet the burgeoning mobility requirements of LEO satellites.
“Our alliance with Terran Orbital will contribute to the emergence of a complementary source of supply for electric propulsion systems to meet the growing needs of the space industry.” — Jean-Marie Bétermier, Senior Vice President Space at Safran Electronics & Defense
“This deal reflects Safran Electronics & Defense’s faith in the value of Terran Orbital’s industry-leading products and innovative personnel, while adding to our strategic investments to create more scalable, automated, vertically integrated production systems. Terran Orbital looks forward to working with Safran Electronics & Defense to create top-of-the-line propulsion systems that make spacecraft more resilient and maneuverable at faster delivery rates and lower costs for our national security and commercial customers.” — Marc Bell, Terran Orbital’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman
Additionally, Time magazine last week named Terran Orbital (NYSE: LLAP) to the TIME100 Most Influential Companies list, honoring the satellite manufacturer and services provider and other firms for their “extraordinary impact around the world.”
Time recognized companies based on their “impact, innovation, ambition, and success,” with Terran Orbital spotlighted for its design, production, launch planning, mission operations, and in-orbit support for military, civil, and commercial satellite customers.
The magazine solicited company nominations from outside experts and the magazine’s global network of contributors and correspondents to spotlight “a diverse group of 100 businesses helping chart an essential path forward” for humanity.
Time’s recognition comes as Terran Orbital marks its 10th anniversary and a string of successes serving the aerospace and defense industries. Recent accomplishments include developing and co-operating the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE).
“Terran Orbital is thrilled Time magazine is recognizing us for producing cost-effective, cutting-edge satellites in an influential companies list that includes pioneers, industry leaders, innovators, disruptors, and tech titans from around the globe. Terran Orbital is honored to join the ranks of a TIME100 Most Influential Companies list that has included the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google-parent Alphabet, Disney, Microsoft, Moderna, Ford, and the NFL.” — Marc Bell, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder, Terran Orbital