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European Space Propulsion Completes Testing of 5-Kilowatt Hall Thruster

By | December 31, 2015
      Testing of the five-kilowatt Hall Thruster. Photo: European Space Propulsion

      Testing of the five-kilowatt Hall Thruster. Photo: European Space Propulsion

      [Via Satellite 12-31-2015] European Space Propulsion (ESP), a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, successfully completed testing of a five-kilowatt Hall Thruster with a Power Processing Unit (PPU) supplied by Thales Alenia Space in Belgium. The test program was successfully conducted in the United Kingdom, and marks the first time a flight-proven five-kilowatt class Hall Thruster has been tested with a European-manufactured PPU.

      ESP, a UK-registered company located in Belfast focused on providing in-space chemical and electric propulsion products for the European space market, was awarded a contract valued at approximately 11 million euros from the European Space Agency (ESA) in March 2015 for the flight qualification of the five-kilowatt XR-5E Hall Thruster, under the ESA Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) initiative, with targeted application on telecommunication satellites.

      ESP is in the process of transferring production capability of the XR-5 thruster, the only flight-proven five-kilowatt Hall Effect Thruster, from parent company Aerojet Rocketdyne. ESP will develop the XR-5E, building upon the proven satellite integration experience and extensive flight heritage of the XR‑5 product line. The program includes establishment of a lower-cost electric propulsion design, manufacturing and testing capability that takes advantage of the strong Northern Ireland engineering and business environment. ESP is also developing a new Thermo-Throttle based Xenon Flow Controller (XFC) that will be combined with the Belfast-built thruster to provide a strong offering into the expanding European market. The completion of the PPU coupling test with the XR-5 is the first major milestone to be completed under the ARTES program.