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Accion Systems, US Air Force Research Laboratory Partner on Electrospray Tech

By | June 1, 2020

Accion Systems’ TILE satellite electric
propulsion system.

Accion Systems and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) have reached a partnership to  research and develop electrospray technology. The goal is to create high-efficiency systems capable of delivering significant total impulse for future small satellites.

The Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), announced Monday, was finalized in May 2020. This partnership will continue to develop electrospray thrusters and further Accion’s TILE in-space propulsion system to reach a maturity level for deployment on U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) spacecraft. AFRL and Accion will collaborate on testing and developing electrospray thruster technology and the involved engineering capabilities to accelerate the development of optimized designs. Initial efforts are focused on scaling-up, diagnostics development and various ionic liquid propellant testing to meet Air Force mission needs.

“We are excited to partner with Accion Systems to mature electrospray thruster technology. This technology is a vital component of future Air Force and DoD space architectures that involve use of smallsats. This collaboration will help shorten the technology development cycle allowing for rapid technology insertion to support the Warfighter.” said Dr. Daniel Eckhardt, the AFRL’s lead for Electrospray Thruster Portfolio in the Rocket Propulsion Division.