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ESA Electric Propulsion Activities

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The high specific impulse and high controllability of electric propulsion systems make this technology an enabler for many space missions. The strong competition among telecommunication satellite manufacturers is a major driver for advancements in the area of electric propulsion, where increasing better performance together with low prices are required to provide large propellant savings which can be used to place spacecraft in smaller launchers or extend the life of the space missions. Furthermore, new scientific and Earth observation missions dictate new challenging requirements for propulsion systems and components based on advanced technologies such as microNewton thrusters. Finally, new space missions in the frame of exploration will also require sophisticated propulsion systems to reach planets such as Mars or Venus and in some cases bring back to Earth samples from asteroids or comets. Due to all these new space projects, ESA is currently involved in activities related to spacecraft electric propulsion, from the basic research and development of conventional and new concepts to the manufacturing, AIV and flight control of the propulsion subsystems of several European satellites. The exploitation of the flight experience is also an important activity at ESA which will help mission designers to implement the lessons learnt to the development of these new propulsion systems. ESA missions such as GOCE, Smart-1 and Artemis have paved the way for the use of electric propulsion in future ESA missions: Lisa-pathfinder, Bepi Colombo, Small GEO, EDRS, Alphabus, LISA, etc. This paper will present the current and future challenges of the electric propulsion in Europe.

Характеристики

Дата проведения

September 11 – 15, 2011

Название конференции

32nd International Electric Propulsion Conference

место проведения

Wiesbaden Germany

Качество

excellent

Раздел

Аэрокосмическая техника

Язык

English

Типы файлов

pdf

Автор(ы)

Gonzalez J., Saccoccia G.

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