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MEMS-Based Electric Micropropulsion for Small Spacecraft to Enable Robotic Space Exploration and Space Science

Objetivo

Our MicroThrust proposal addresses the FP7 target for advanced in-space propulsion technologies for solar system exploration. This research provides a key component in facilitating exploration missions: a technology that can substantially reduce the cost of undertaking particular types of robotic exploration. Building on the framework of a successful ESA study, our team of leading academics, research institutions and space companies has developed a conceptual design of a very small, yet highly performant electrical propulsion system. The conceptual design is based upon experimental data already obtained by team members. As a result we are confident that this system can provide the transportation element for taking nano/micro satellites to any location in the Earth-Moon system and will even allow missions to nearby planets and asteroids. The propulsion system will thus permit new exploration mission concepts. These missions due to their size will be developed within a fraction of the time for conventional missions. Their simplicity, perhaps even single instrument spacecraft, will reduce risk for carrying out the mission. Overall this will dramatically reduce cost of individual missions, thus providing more flight opportunities for planetary scientists and planetary exploration.
To achieve these goals the propulsion technology has high performance at low mass and low power demand. The propulsion system is a microfabricated colloid thruster having a high degree of subsystem integration. Our work so far has demonstrated the capability of this concept to have a radically reduced part set making substantial progress towards a thruster-on-a-chip. Our experienced team will take the technology through to the significant position of having tested and fully characterized a breadboard model. The design approach is that this is also a proto-flight model such that gaining the final step of a flight test for the hardware is low risk and low development cost.

Convocatoria de propuestas

FP7-SPACE-2010-1
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Coordinador

ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE
Dirección
Batiment Ce 3316 Station 1
1015 Lausanne
Suiza
Tipo de actividad
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Aportación de la UE
€ 480 292,40
Contacto administrativo
Herbert Shea (Prof.)

Participantes (4)

QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
United Kingdom
Aportación de la UE
€ 454 159,60
Dirección
327 Mile End Road
E1 4NS London
Tipo de actividad
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Contacto administrativo
John Paul Whitfield Stark (Prof.)
NEDERLANDSE ORGANISATIE VOOR TOEGEPAST NATUURWETENSCHAPPELIJK ONDERZOEK TNO
Países Bajos
Aportación de la UE
€ 320 048,50
Dirección
Anna Van Buerenplein 1
2595 DA Den Haag
Tipo de actividad
Research Organisations
Contacto administrativo
Berry Sanders (Mr.)
GOMSPACE SWEDEN AB
Suecia
Aportación de la UE
€ 419 660
Dirección
Ulls Vag 29 A
756 51 Uppsala
Tipo de actividad
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Contacto administrativo
Tor-Arne Grönland (Mr.)
SystematIC design bv
Países Bajos
Aportación de la UE
€ 318 746
Dirección
Motorenweg 5G
2623CR Delft
Tipo de actividad
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Contacto administrativo
Richard Visee (Mr.)