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Busek Confirms Successful In-Space Debut of BHT-350 Thrusters

By Jeffrey Hill | February 7, 2023

Busek BHT-350 Hall thruster in hot-fire (Photo by Busek)

Busek successfully commissioned its BHT-350 Hall effect thrusters on satellite operator OneWeb‘s 15th and 16th missions, which utilized separate SpaceX Falcon-9s to deliver 80 spacecraft into low Earth orbit (LEO). This is the first time Busek’s BHT-350 solar electric propulsion systems have flown in space.

The Busek-built engines are now propelling the satellites, built by Airbus OneWeb Satellites, in operational orbits. The thrusters are designed for orbit-raising, station-keeping, collision avoidance, and de-orbiting of small satellites. The BHT-350 is compatible with both xenon and krypton propellants. Busek is also developing a future solid-propellant based offering.

“We ramped-up our manufacturing and supply chain to begin double-digit thruster deliveries within a few months of order. The space community often talks about rapid response and the need for speed, and this is a great example of preparedness, and fast, high-quality execution.” said Dr. Vlad Hruby, President of Busek. “We’re at a production rate of over 20 thrusters per month with 100% hot-fire acceptance testing, Busek has the installed capacity to double that production-rate today, and we’re planning to triple that capacity to meet certain near-term programs.” added Hruby.