Satellite electric propulsion
Phase Four, a company developing an advanced electric propulsion system for use on cubesats and larger spacecraft, announced sales of its thrusters to NASA and Astro Digital May 24.
Technological advances have opened up a wide range of propulsion options for satellites, but companies developing those systems don’t expect a single approach to become dominant.
Eutelsat’s newest satellite reached its target position in the geostationary orbit this week only four months after its launch, setting an industry record for the fastest all electric orbit-raising.
Satellite manufacturers are trying to figure out how to maximize their share of the electric propulsion market while not abandoning more conservative customers.
Safran of France's Snecma division expects to sell 350 satellite electric thrusters in the next 10 years following negotiations with European prime contractors Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space.