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Accion Systems to Fly TILE Thrusters on Xplore XLEO In-Space Tests

By | August 10, 2021

Accion’s TILE Thruster (photo by Accion)

Hosted payload and communication relay services company Xplore Inc. will provide spacecraft hosting services to Accion Systems’ next-generation flagship ion thruster, TILE, under the terms of a new strategic partnership agreement announced by the two companies on Tuesday.

Accion TILE thrusters will fly on in-space tests for Xplore’s operational LEO Xcraft (XLEO), an ESPA-class spacecraft that provides hosting services for a wide variety of customers and payloads. Xplore will provide Accion with critical data from the in-space tests. In addition to Accion thrusters, XLEO missions will also carry commercial Earth Observation (EO) instruments for operational applications.

TILE is Accion’s acronym for “Tiled Ionic Liquid Electrospray.” The system’s electrospray thrusters are designed for improved scalability, performance, and efficiency on spacecraft.

Accion CEO Peter Kant said the partnership with Xplore will allow the company to validate the resiliency of TILE’s fault tolerant design, and prove its performance as an efficient electric propulsion system in space.

“We are delighted to work with Xplore’s qualified team to integrate our TILE thrusters and demonstrate their full capabilities,” said Kant. “As we gain additional valuable flight heritage, we also get to demonstrate our thrusters’ potential to extend the value of future Xcraft missions. The length of the XLEO mission and the ability to observe TILE’s performance over several years make this mission even more attractive because the thrusters will fully be exercised through a typical multi-year smallsat mission.”