Qualification of a Micro Pulsed Plasma Thruster (PPTCUP) for Cubesat Application
|Programme:||TRP Workplan||Achieved TRL:||8|
|Contractor(s):||Mars Space Ltd (UK), Clyde Space (UK)|
In recent years there has been a large increase in the number and complexity of Cubesat missions. The use of propulsion is now becoming important to increase mission life and operational flexibility. The development of a high performance electric propulsion module will offer significant benefits compared to the simple cold gas systems flown to date.
The objective of the activity was to develop and flight qualify a high performance pulsed plasma thruster for Cubesat applications.
The activity has been completed successfully, leading to flight qualification of the PPTCUP and a product ready for the market. Performances have met or exceeded expectation and lifetime in excess of the targeted 1 million firing pulses has been demonstrated.
The qualification of the PPTCUP has brought to the Cubesat market a high performance propulsion system capable of providing a Total Impulse in excess of 40 Ns with a specific impulse in excess of 580 s. This type of propulsion system will allow a significant increase in the duration and range of Cubesat missions.
The successful qualification of the PPTCUP has produced a product, which is now offered on the market. The next step is to secure the first flight programme and gain in-flight demonstration of the product. Funding for an In-Orbit-Demonstration is being sought.