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.”