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Green Reaction Control System (RCS)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ECO-Thrust (Green Reaction Control System (RCS))

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2018-03-31

Chemical propulsion Reaction Control System (RCS) is the common technology used in artificial satellites and spacecrafts for attitude control, orbital manoeuvring, orbital maintenance and orbital transfer. Hydrazine and NTO are the usual propellants utilized in RCSs and in the aerospace propulsion in general. These are traditional proven rocketry propellants that are now under scrutiny as the space industry significantly grows. Hydrazine and NTO are hazardous for the human health and the environment. NTO is very toxic and corrosive, and hydrazine is toxic, carcinogenic and a mutagen. Besides, this toxicity makes them very expensive to transport and handle. Further, they increase the satellite mass and volume significantly regarding other Eco propellants raising launch costs. Finally, now a great deal of tests are outsourced to a few external laboratories that fulfil the highly demanding safety requirements for the management of the dangerous hydrazine and NTO. The EU is fostering the development of alternative solutions (H2O2, ADN) and the European Council and Chemical Agency (ECHA) considers that hydrazine is susceptible to be included in Annex XIV to set up a “sunset date” for it to be phased out. ECO-Thrust is a green, plug and play, modular and scalable RCS that does not use dangerous or pollutant propellants such as Hydrazine or NTO. ECO-Thrust aims to revolutionise the ever-growing aerospace industry that cannot continue utilising hazardous propellants for the human being and the environment. ECO-Thrust consumes Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) as a monopropellant, or as an oxidizer with Ethyl Alcohol (or any other green fuel) (bipropellant mode).
The FS presented and developed through 6 different tasks confirms the interest of the innovation among potential customers and stakeholders in the artificial satellite and aerospace industry. Some of these companies have already expressed their interest to reach commercial agreements with SPL. The technical work packages set up by SPL and detailed in the Task 1 of the FS will lead to the creation of two ECO-Thrust models: ECOT I and ECOT II. Within these work packages TWP1 will allow the construction and test of the revolutionary H2O2 catalyst at the core of the innovation and subject of the ECO-Thrust patentability. The detailed market analysis exhibited in Task 3 demonstrates that the market size and growth for the satellite industry in the coming years is relevant and justify the investment in an innovative green RCS utilising a new and breakthrough catalyst that aims to revolutionise the aerospace industry with applications not only in the satellite business but also in other fields. The risks of the project at the market introduction have been analysed and assessed and we have concluded that the project does not imply high risks and these risks can be detected and managed with adequate mitigation measures. The patentability analysis in Task 5 concludes that the ECO-Thrust invention is still intact and the chance of granting a patent application exists. ECO-Thrust does not interfere with the scope of the claims in the analysed documents and the innovation has still freedom to operate.
Summing up, this Feasibility Study demonstrates that the ECO-Thrust innovation that is a breakthrough solution creating a new market for the green propulsion of artificial satellites specifically and the aerospace industry in general is a viable project technically, commercially and financially and can be presented in a phase II proposal to obtain a phase II Horizon 2020 SME grant.
ECO-Thrust economics study shows that the proposed project is profitable with sales in the period 2021-2025 of 69.36 MM€, EBITDA 23.35 MM€. IRR of 75.76%. And Return on Investment (ROI) = 9.53 (5 years). The payoff period is only 2 years. The global satellite propulsion system market is projected to grow to $21.59 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of more than 4% over the period 2017-2021. SPL aims to get 0.03% of the satellite propulsion market by 2025 with ECO-Thrust. The commercialization of ECO-Thrust will create a total of 28 new jobs until 2025. Among them: 6 engineers (mechanical and rocket engineers), 3 technical designers, 3 factory operators, 6 people in maintenance activities and 3 people in operations. The market and sales department will employ 3 people to perform direct sales and support distributors. The other 4 positions correspond to staff at management level and in the financial department.
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