T6 for Bepi Colombo (Image: ESA - C.Carreau)
Once a spacecraft is in orbit, electric ion thrusters allow manoeuvres to be performed using much lower quantities of propellant than conventional liquid propulsion. This opens up the possibility to extend spacecraft life, efficiently propel spacecraft across the solar system, enhance payload capability, provide greater operational flexibility or reduce launch costs.
We are a world leader in gridded ion engine electric propulsion with a successful track record of deployment in high profile space projects:
- Our T5 electric propulsion system is providing fine velocity and altitude control for ESA’s Global Ocean Circulation Explorer
- We’re developing our T6 electric propulsion system to enable the ESA/JAXA Bepi Colombo mission to reach Mercury orbit in 2018 – a mission that would not be possible using conventional spacecraft propulsion
- We’re developing a T6 derived High Power Electric Propulsion System for commercial communications satellite applications
Our T6 derived High Power Electric Propulsion System will enable communications satellites to stay in orbit for longer, allowing launch costs to be amortised over a longer period and substantially increasing return on investment for commercial communication satellite operators.