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  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - IFM nano thruster (A highly efficient propulsion system for micro- and nano-satellites able to double the mission lifetime and to position satellites with unprecedented accuracy)
H2020

IFM nano thruster Report Summary

Project ID: 745460

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - IFM nano thruster (A highly efficient propulsion system for micro- and nano-satellites able to double the mission lifetime and to position satellites with unprecedented accuracy)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2017-03-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The landscape of space exploration has been disrupted by the growing market of small satellites that can be developed faster and cheaper thanks to a modularity-based philosophy: constellation of tens or hundreds of small satellites are built and launched to provide global communication and monitoring services. In this context there is still the lack of a reliable, efficient, modular and low-cost propulsion system capable of manoeuvring these satellites in the most effective way. AMR Propulsion Innovation’ project intends to bring to the market an electric propulsion system, IFM Micro Thruster, whose technology has already 13,000 h flight heritage, so it is safe to be used by satellite integrators. Such technology uses liquid metal ion source (Indium) with an efficiency extremely high (Specific impulse: 6000 s) and the possibility of fine-tuning of the thrust, i.e. high throttability (1 µN). Therefore, the same propulsion system can be used both for small manoeuvres (e.g. atmospheric drag compensation; control of inter-satellite distance), as well as for orbit raising manoeuvres. The objectives of Phase 2 are to engineer a new version of the thruster, suitable for all small satellites from 1 to 500 kg, and to install a production unit, ISO 9001 certified, in order to expand the customers’ arena. The thrusters realized with the production line (Qualification Model) will be jointly reviewed by relevant customers and will be, at that point, ready for commercialization.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

AMR undertook a full analysis of both the technical and business potential of the IFM Thruster technology and made a detailed assessment of market size, customer segments and competitors. AMR analysed its existing technology and reviewed and adjusted the overall project objectives to better address the envisaged market need. During Phase 1 project, AMR established both an engineering and industrialisation plan, and addressed its value chain, identifying early on strategic partnerships with clients that will be fundamental to both the successful delivery of the Phase 2 project and through commercialization.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The expected outcome of the project is to start full commercialisation of IFM Micro Thruster at the end of Phase 2 as a reliable innovation, validated and accepted by the relevant customers. IFM Micro Thruster will represent a disruptive solution in the field of small satellites, not only because of its unequalled efficiency, flexibility, modularity and reliability, but also for his competitive cost. AMR will create new highly qualified jobs and will boost economic growth for European SMEs in the field of aerospace.

Related information

Record Number: 198308 / Last updated on: 2017-05-18
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