Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


CHEOPS Report Summary

Project ID: 730135

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CHEOPS (Consortium for Hall Effect Orbital Propulsion System)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2017-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

To reach its operational orbit and to maintain its position in space, a satellite has to maneuver using its own thrusters. The most common propulsion method uses chemical reactions to produce a flow of fast-moving hot gas, thereby providing a strong thrust sufficient to lift huge rockets off the ground. Whilst it is capable of producing an enormous thrust, it is less adapted to satellite propulsion as it does not take advantage of sunlight, the only renewable energy available in space. Furthermore, the expensive chemical propellants and storage structure to be carried is done so at the detrimental of the mass of the satellite.
Electric propulsion is a technology aimed at achieving thrust with high exhaust velocities, which results in a reduction in the amount of propellant required for a given application compared to other conventional propulsion methods. Reduced propellant mass can significantly decrease the launch mass of a spacecraft or satellite, leading to lower costs from the use of smaller launch vehicles to deliver a desired mass into a given orbit (LEO, MEO or GEO) or to a deep-space target. While various electric propulsion concepts were investigated during the last decades, only a few show performances and maturity levels eligible for such applications; among these concepts, Hall Effect propulsion technology is at the forefront when high thrust density is required.

The Consortium for Hall Effect Orbital Propulsion System (CHEOPS) is developing three different Hall Effect Thruster electric propulsion systems: a dual mode EPS for GEO applications, a low power for LEO applications and a >20 kW high thrust EPS for exploration applications. Each of these are developed according to market needs and drivers applying incremental technology changes to existing EPS products. And for each application, the project covers the following elements: thruster, cathode, PPU and FMS. And at the end of phase 1, the consortium will demonstrate, through a detailed development plan, the ability to achieve by 2023 a TRL7-8 for dual mode and low power and a TRL6 for high power HET EPS.
In addition, common transverse activities includes advanced numerical design tools for electric propulsion which allows to further our understanding of the observable behavior and interactions with the satellite platform and predict performances of a given design. This includes alternative propellants and the ability to estimate the system lifetime. For each application, the project covers the following elements: thruster, cathode, PPU and FMS.

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

CHEOPS project started in November 1st 2016, the project team has analyzed the trends, forecast and main characteristics of the global satellite market segments for the elaboration of the systems specification. The large system integrators’s market analysis and main requirements for each of the three propulsion systems were collected through the organization of bilateral meeting and workshops. The Consortium is currently working toward the convergence of the system requirements from the Primes and is developing the Value Creation Strategy, the cornerstone of the competitiveness targeted by the project. A preliminary definition of the value drivers has been performed through a first round of interviews, training & workshop. At the same time, co-engineering sessions have been initiated with three WPs teams based on first system requirement feedback, to evaluate preliminary architecture, technical solutions and trade-offs.

Additionnaly, modelling alternative propellants and anomalous transport activity has been successfully completed. A detail description on the work performed and the main results obtained have been presented in the IEPC papers. The project is moving forward on the definition of general structure of EP2 2D code and development of PIC sub-code.

Finnaly, the dissemination activities led to the creation and release of the public project website: ( as well as the development of the project logo. Communication and promotional materials have been produced, with a project newsletter, brochure and roll-up, USB pen drives, social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube) and conference / workshops implementation.

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)

CHEOPS phase 1 and then phase 2 will permit in 2023 to provide the market with EPS’s suitable to fulfil the opening market worldwide. CHEOPS works in parallel on three HET PS systems which address a variety of medium and long term needs as defined by the three Satellite prime contractors (TAS F, OHB & ADS) participating in the project. The combination of different and complementary partner profiles in the project enhances the European competitiveness to benefit from the CHEOPS activities through:
- the ability of the satellite primer contractors (ADS, OHB and TAS F) to share their immediate and future requirements so that the CHEOPS product developments fully answer these.
- the development of design to cost products by system suppliers which are aligned to their existing internal R&T roadmaps and have the p-ssibility to be adjusted to future defined needs as dictated by current market needs and future market trends. Cost reductions sub-system level will drive the overall HET EP system recurring costs down thus having a direct competitive impact for the satellite manufacturer as will the ability to offer a standard multi-platform product.
- the strengthening of collaboration between competing organisations and the cross—fertilisation of innovative ideas and promotion of standards.

The project will bring competitive advantages along the complete Eurpoean Industry supply chain to address market application :
For GEO applications, the availability of more powerful HET will reduce the EOR durations, with direct benefits for the end-customers. The increase of flexibility, the availability of more competitive PPU, the use of alternative and cheaper propellants will improve the overall EPS competitiveness, giving a significant advantage with respect to the non-European competition. For LEO/MEO, the availability of compact and cheaper EPS solutions will allow to generalize the use of Electric Propulsion, with direct impacts on the launch costs, or on the payload capacities, providing key differentiators with respect to the traditional chemical monopropellant satellites. For transportation / exploration / interplanetary, the development of high power EPS (> 20 kW) will enable missions that are currently not feasible with chemical propulsions.

The project will also bring improvement on the simulation and modelling side, to help coping with new operational conditions (e.g. very low Earth orbits), use of alternative propellants, small platforms, thruster clustering and other innovative options.

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