LOGAN, Utah — To satisfy European customers looking for ways to meet emerging requirements to deorbit satellites at the end of missions and customers worldwide seeking to move spacecraft in orbit, Moog Inc. Space and Defense Group is developing a Modular Propulsion System (MPU) for satellites weighing 180 to 500 kilograms.
Moog announced plans for MPU at the annual Small Satellite conference Aug. 2-7 at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. It fits in with a popular theme at the conference: military, civil and commercial customers looking for modular, standardized systems to reduce the cost and time required to build satellites.
By unveiling MPU’s specifications, Moog hopes spacecraft developers will begin to design satellites around the hydrazine-fueled system, which can be modified for use with less toxic “green” propellants. Moog plans to manufacture, assemble and test MPUs before shipping them to customers for satellite integration.
“We are trying to get away from entirely custom-building each propulsion system and moving toward a flexible, modular approach,” said Michel Poucet, propulsion structure and thermal analyst at Moog Integrated Space Propulsion of Westcott, England. “It should be like buying a car. You decide if you want a two-door or four-door model.”
The company is seeking to qualify MPU in 2016. A Moog customer plans to conduct the first MPU flight on a satellite scheduled for launch in 2017 on Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9 rocket. Poucet declined to name the customer. SpaceX’s public manifest shows two Falcon 9 launches slated for 2017; both are for Iridium Communications of McLean, Virginia.