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Enabling Chemical Propulsion System for the Growing Small Satellite Market

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EPSS 2 (Enabling Chemical Propulsion System for the Growing Small Satellite Market)

Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2019-09-30

The EPSS project 2 objective was fully achieved - the EPSS product (green propulsion system for small satellites) has been brought to TRL 9, through final piloting and qualification of the technology, preparation of the production infrastructure, product commercialization, and increasing the investment readiness of NanoAvionics. Project technical and commercial objectives were also fully implemented: manufacturing and qualification of advanced EPSS prototype accomplished; developing and piloting of production infrastructure accomplished; commercialization and dissemination activities carried out; company attracted investments and fully prepared for scale-up. All five Work Packages planned in the project proposal have been fully finished to be implemented and 16 deliverables delivered as planned in the project proposal and in line with the budget.
There were no similar solutions on the market and there is a growing interest from large and small satellite manufacturers and satellite operators for NanoAvionics’s green propulsion system for small satellites. Therefore, by implementing EPSS project 2 NanoAvionics becomes the first company in the world to introduce a cost effective, green propulsion system for small satellites, enabling more satellites and satellite constellation projects to become economic viable and enabling the provision of new satellite services.
The following was done in the reporting period of 31.05.2018 - 30.09.2019 to finalize the project:
Technical objectives:
● Advanced EPSS prototype has been manufactured and tested;
● Product validation by pilot user accomplished;
● The implementation process of pilot production infrastructure has been completed;
● Production of the first small serial products batch has been completed.

Commercial objectives:
● Commercialization strategy has been updated;
● Communication materials are fully developed, including product data sheet, brochure, website, newsletters campaigns have been carried out, publications in media have been attracted;
● 5 industry events have been attended by NanoAvionics representatives either with booth or as participants. B2B meetings attended at all events.
● Company’s scale-up plan has been prepared;
● IPR strategy has been developed and updated.

It is foreseen that after EPSS Project 2 completion, project result - Chemical Propulsion System will be exploited as a company’s commercial product through the following commercialization steps:
1. Exploiting other currently interested potential customers;
2. Discovering new business opportunities with large satellite integrators
3. Expanding business to conventional satellites market.
The overall objective of the SME Phase 2 project was to bring the EPSS product to TRL 9, through final piloting and qualification of the technology, preparation of the production infrastructure, product commercialization, and increasing the investment readiness of NanoAvionics. Project objective was fully achieved.
Commercially available EPSS will be beneficial on European and Global scale by contributing the following major societal themes:
1. Democratizing space. According to ESA estimates, in EU and global space industry currently available high-performance propulsion systems take only 15-25% of the total conventional satellite costs while this fraction for small satellites is two times higher. EPSS will significantly reduce the price of propulsion systems and contribute to the overall affordability of small satellites. This will enable novel service and scientific research concepts for new entrants, including new space start-ups, research organizations and universities (which are very price sensitive) in a market once monopolised by large corporations and national government programs.
2. Enhance EU space industry competitiveness. EPSS would boost the European space sector and contribute to the competitiveness of the European space industry.
3. Space Debris Mitigation. Space debris is a significant threat that small satellite technologies should not negatively contribute to. As of July 2016, the United States Strategic Command tracked a total of 17,729 artificial objects, including 1,419 operational satellites in near-Earth orbit. Inter-Agency Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) and United Nations (UN) Space Debris Mitigation have released guidelines to address this issue which highlight the importance of propulsion systems, including EPSS. Propulsion systems allow satellites to: 1) avoid collisions with current debris; 2) deorbit at the end of their mission lifetime times or use the system in de-orbiting equipment.
4. Reducing the utilization of hazardous materials. The disproportionally high infrastructure costs, toxicity, relatively poor performance and high lifetime costs of toxic propellant such as Hydrazine fosters the shift towards alternative propulsion methods therefore will be substituted by a safe, high performance green alternative.