New Space: Thales Alenia Space is building water-powered satellites

Thales Alenia Space, a satellite manufacturer based in Cannes, announced two advances in the “new space” sector: the development of a water-fueled space propulsion system with the Italian MIPRONS and research with the Belgian QinetiQ, a multi-potential low-Earth orbit mission. Nanosatellites that will revolutionize the Earth observation market.

Using water as fuel to propel satellites: This is what will be developed Thales Alenia SpaceOne of its main sites is in Cannes, with the Italian start-up MIPRON. Based on MIPRONS proprietary technology (the Italian patent is being filed in 49 other countries), this high-thrust miniaturized thruster will use a propellant that is ecological and economical to say the least: water! (Image DR: Nanosatellite in low orbit)

A system that will allow maneuvers to be executed more quickly

An electrolysis process breaks down the water into hydrogen and oxygen, which are then fed into the combustion chamber. With water as the only propellant, this system would make it possible to perform maneuvers such as positioning, deorbiting satellites or collision avoidance. Both compact and scalable, this system will be compatible with satellites of all sizes from small to large.

The production of its components by 3D printing is another innovative factor in the MIPRONS concept. Designed specifically for the Thales Alenia space satellite, this high performance and thrust thruster will benefit from extremely low weight and size. TAS will oversee the development of this thruster with the aim of achieving a reliable and efficient solution for small and medium-sized satellites. Italy’s Thales Alenia Space Engineering will support environmental testing of the model.

“Our collaboration could change the model of space missions”

“Our collaboration could change the model of space missions”, said Massimo Claudio Comparini, CEO of Italy’s Thales Alenia Space. “This agreement confirms Thales Alenia Space’s strategy to play a leading role in new space initiatives, creating synergies with start-ups that are catalysts within the entire space ecosystem. We are always ready to take on new challenges that underline the growing strategic importance of the space sector.”

Schemesat demonstrator, multi-mission satellite in very low earth orbit

Other news from the Cannes satellite manufacturer “newspace” : co-signature QinetiQ A study agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) on the feasibility of nA multi-mission ano-satellite in very low earth orbit (VLEO – Very Low Earth Orbit). This study phase (A/B1) aims to mature the demonstrator design schemesat, A multi-mission satellite in very low Earth orbit (> 300 km) aimed at significantly reducing Earth observation costs while increasing performance due to significantly lower operational altitudes. This flexible, compact and ultra-modular satellite will benefit from the development of high-efficiency electric propulsion to reduce its aerodynamic drag.

The research will be carried out by the UK’s Thales Alenia Space and Belgium’s KinetQ Space team and funded under the European Space Agency’s (ESA) DPTD (Discovery Preparation and Technology Development) programme. Payloads on the Schemesat multi-mission platform will be identified as part of studies to demonstrate potential applications in VLEO prior to the first commercial mission. This new initiative is fully in line with Thales Alenia Space’s new space approach and reflects the company’s ability to meet disruptive demand in partnership with smaller space players.

“A major innovation that intends to revolutionize the Earth observation market”

“The Schemesat concept is a major innovation that challenges the traditional use of high altitudes for aerial drag and seeks to revolutionize the Earth observation market by creating a new business model for high resolution imagery. Based on optimized longevity and lead times, the market benefits from more profitable satellites. to give” explained Andrew StanilandCEO of Thales Alenia Space, UK

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