Sirin Orbital Systems AG receives the support of the Swiss Delegation to ESA for a GSTP-6 Element “Develop” (De-Risk) activity, entitled “Water and Metal-Powder Micro-Propulsion System for Small Satellites”:

The need for high-thrust propulsion systems compatible with small satellites for applications such as constellation deployment, orbit maintenance and stationkeeping is particularly emerging. A high-thrust propulsion provides large velocity increments in a short time, which enables orbit transfer, orbital plane change, re-entry, and planetary orbit insertion for deep space exploration.

In the frame of this GSTP activity, we will develop an innovative micro-propulsion system concept — patent pending — for generating high thrust. The main differentiating advantages of the targeted product are (1) safe, non-toxic and non-hazardous propellant, (2) high-thrust despite compact footprint, (3) in-space availability of propellants.

This high-thrust micro-propulsion technology will expand the mission field of small satellites and is applicable for both commercial and scientific missions. It increases orbital agility and repositioning capacity of small satellites and provides in-orbit manoeuvring capabilities, e.g. course/fine orbit-correction, stationkeeping, fast orbit-raising, and controlled re-entry. In addition, a high-thrust propulsion enables smalls satellites to perform efficient in-orbit servicing operations. As for scientific missions, it makes them capable of a self-planetary orbit insertion for deep-space exploration and sample returns. It can be used for key applications such as telecommunications, space exploration and science missions, Earth observation and navigation. This innovative propulsion is specifically applicable for nano-/microsatellites where the lack of a safe and robust high-thrust propulsion system is particularly felt. Nonetheless, the technology is highly scalable and could be adapted for minisatellites up to 300kg.

This technology development has been endorsed by the following prestigious stakeholders, Astrocast, NanoAvionics and SpacePharma.

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