Smallsat, Electric propulsion
PLASMA JET PACK TECHNOLOGY
This plug-and-thrust, disruptive technology offers low-cost propulsion for smallsats. Small and lightweight, with a lifespan of at least five years, the Plasma Jet Pack Technology is modular and Comat can customize it according to customers’ needs.
Smallsat platforms become more versatile, thus creating the need for on-demand mobility in space and better control of their thrust over longer missions. The PJP brings a direct response to electric propulsion for small satellites.
The PJP enjoys the smallest volume and most compact propulsion solution for smallsats today, including combustion chamber, fuel and electronics in 1 single U.
The low cost and short design cycles of the small satellite mission definition require immediate responsiveness for the qualification of the propulsion modules ensuring no adverse effects and compliance with the overall systems. Being a self-contained, ready-to-use and autonomous solution, the PJP lead-time for installation and qualification is minimal and shall be carried out within 3 months, regardless of the platform and payload.
PJP’s flexibility allows customers to freeze mission parameters much later than with classic propulsion modules. It provides great benefits for cluster satellite operations.
Some missions require a precise modulation of power in acceleration or deceleration mode to follow defined and precise paths, matching rendez-vous points or return to orbital position. The PJP can use an infinity of operating points between 0 to 30 W without any change of efficiency. No pre-heating and providing for immediate readiness at full efficiency make operations simpler and safer as the engine is not active when idle.
manoeuvres and performances
Global services for observation, communication and IoT drive the need for constellations operating in cluster formation with agile configurations offering versatile missions adjusting in real-time their geometry. Advanced on-board processing and high-speed communication links enable semi-autonomous spacecrafts to operate in close proximity for various manoeuvres. The maturity of the modelling tools coupled with onboard propulsion enable:
- Rendez-vous points
- Formation flight
- Precise approach
- Space monitoring
- Earth observation
- High payload efficiency
- Orbit modification
- Satellite end-of-life
- Solid metal propellant
- Power and mean thrust adjustable without efficiency change
- High specific impulse
- Neutral plasma
- Ibit flexibility from nNs to µNs as per design concept
- Compact propulsion module
- Robust electronics
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870444.