A sustained check firing of a ‘inexperienced’ satellite tv for pc thruster at Poland’s Institute of Aviation, meant as a future different to in the present day’s hydrazine-based apogee engines, sometimes utilized by telecommunication satellites to manoeuvre into their last geostationary orbits.
At the moment hydrazine is the commonest propellant employed by thrusters aboard satellites: it’s extremely energetic in nature but additionally poisonous and corrosive, in addition to harmful to deal with and retailer.
ESA initiated the Inexperienced Liquid Apogee Engine for Future Spacecraft challenge, GRACE, to guage extra environmentally pleasant thruster choices, with testing culminating in a sustained 60-second thruster firing.
GRACE assessed varied choices, discovering the best bipropellant mixture used ‘excessive check peroxide’ (HTP) as oxidiser – a a lot purer model of the identical chemical used to bleach hair, which is break up into oxygen and water steam utilizing a catalyst – plus TMPDA gas.
This was an almost all-Polish challenge, supported by way of ESA’s Polish Trade Incentive. Poland’s Institute of Aviation oversaw administration, design and testing, with Jakusz offering the HTP, WB Electronics, represented by Flytronic manufacturing most thruster parts. Thales Alenia Space in the UK offered necessities and tips for design and testing – together with the supply of a 500 Newton kerosene-powered thruster, used as a mannequin for the GRACE demonstrator.
“The programme efficiently demonstrated a strong catalyst mattress able to sustaining a minute’s steady firing,” notes ESA propulsion engineer Ferran Valencia Bel.
”GRACE’s success demonstrates Poland’s technical excellence within the space of rocket propulsion, half of a bigger ESA effort to place the area business onto a extra sustainable footing, finding non-toxic alternatives to legacy chemicals and materials.”