WASHINGTON — European Space Propulsion (ESP), a division of U.S. propulsion provider Aerojet Rocketdyne, will supply hydrazine thrusters for six small satellites being built by Britain’s Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. for the U.S.-Taiwan COSMIC-2 weather mission, the newly created ESP announced June 21.

The contract, financial terms of which were not disclosed, includes options to equip an additional six satellites, ESP said in a press release. The contract was awarded by Surrey and is the first for ESP of Belfast, Ireland, the press release said.

COSMIC-2 is a planned constellation of 12 satellites that will monitor weather conditions based on atmospheric distortion of GPS navigation signals. The first six satellites are slated to launch in 2015 aboard a demonstration flight on Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s Falcon Heavy rocket, but funding prospects for the second batch of satellites are uncertain.

The ESP thrusters are based on a flight-proven design originally developed by Aerojet Rocket for NASA’s Voyager deep-space probes, the press release said.

“ESP represents a new competitive force in the European arena,” Aerojet Rocketdyne President Warren M. Boley said in a prepared statement. “It will maintain a strong European identity while leveraging Aerojet Rocketdyne’s seven-decade legacy of propulsion performance. International collaboration, which is fundamental to ESP’s approach, will lower costs and enhance customer support.”

Warren Ferster is the Editor-in-Chief of SpaceNews and is responsible for all the news and editorial coverage in the weekly newspaper, the spacenews.com Web site and variety of specialty publications such as show dailies. He manages a staff of seven reporters...