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Phase Four Introduces Maxwell Smallsat Propulsion Solution

By Annamarie Nyirady | November 9, 2018


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

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

Phase Four, a provider of electric Radio Frequency (RF) thrusters for in-space propulsion, introduced Maxwell, a flexible propulsion solution targeted at small satellites. Designed for scale manufacturing, Maxwell aims to bring the performance and efficiency of traditional and expensive electric engines to new small satellite constellations. Maxwell’s technology does not require high voltage components and electrodes — primary aspects of traditional satellite engines that are barriers to high volume manufacturing. The product architecture behind Maxwell was created to cater to the specific needs of smallsats in a range of sizes and power classes.

Maxwell’s design also allows for future spacecraft to use newer, less expensive propellants that may be sourced in space, further contributing to the sustainable in-space industry. Maxwell is anticipated to be delivered to initial customers beginning in Q3 2019. Prior to launch, Maxwell will undergo rigorous testing and performance evaluations at multiple aerospace facilities.

As Phase Four moves into this commercially-focused stage – bringing its mass-produced plasma engines to commercial satellite builders and operators – the company has named Beau Jarvis as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Phase Four founder, Simon Halpern remains on the board of directors and an active advisor to the company on its strategy for commercialization.