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Phase Four and Sunrise Bring Electric Propulsion to Japan

By | March 22, 2019
Phase Four's Maxwell propulsion solution. Photo: Phase Four

Phase Four’s Maxwell propulsion solution. Photo: Phase Four

Phase Four, producers of electric radio frequency (RF) thrusters for in-space propulsion, created a new agreement with Japan-based Sunrise. Sunrise specializes in aerospace technology, including satellite hardware and launch. As part of a three-year agreement, Sunrise will be bringing Maxwell, Phase Four’s turnkey electric propulsion solution for small satellites (20-200kg) and other spacecraft, to market in Japan.

Designed for scale manufacturing, Maxwell aims to bring the performance and efficiency of traditional, expensive electric engines to new small satellite constellations. Maxwell relies on Phase Four’s proprietary RF thruster, which is designed to avoid components, like hollow cathodes, with high failure rates and long lead times.

“Cost-effective electric propulsion is crucial to our customers’ space missions, and Phase Four’s Maxwell is a game changer,” said Sunrise Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President Hiroshi Nashimoto. Japanese companies and space startups have announced plans to launch more than 250 small satellites over the next three to five years.