Space Commerce

The NEO Age Of In-space Mobility

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
August 9, 2022
Filed under ,

ENPULSION, Austrian based market leader in electric propulsion systems, unveil their new ENPULSION NEO thruster for the first time ever at the Small Satellite Conference 2022.

The ENPULSION NEO thruster is the next step in Field-emission electric propulsion (FEEP) technology evolution. By stepping up the number of ion emission sites by an order of magnitude compared to previous electrospray thrusters, it allows high power and high thrust operation. The ENPULSION NEO thruster carries over the simplicity, ease of integration and unmatched impulse density of ENPULSION’s existing products and at the same time builds on lessons learned from more than 130 ENPULSION thrusters already in space.

A new class of electric propulsion

The ENPULSION NEO thruster is the most powerful FEEP thruster ever designed. With more than 2.000 ion emission sites it is inherently resilient to micro-damages.

This new class of thruster is designed for ease of integration. The thruster head combines emission surface and propellant tanks and features no valves, fill plugs or flow controllers. It can easily be bolted on the external panel of a spacecraft with minimal thermal requirements. The thruster head fits inside a number of 15-inch ESPA class separation rings.

With Indium as non-toxic, non-pressurized propellant the thruster is shipped to customers through normal parcel carriers. It does not necessitate any special accommodation for integration on the launcher or spacecraft.

Development and qualification of the ENPULSION NEO thruster is supported by the European Space Agency through the ARTES program. First prototypes have already been manufactured and test fired. Qualification is scheduled to start in early 2024.

For more information on the NEO age of in-space mobility and a first look at the ENPULSION NEO thruster make sure to visit ENPULSION at booth 226 in the commercial exhibitor’s area in the Fieldhouse.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.