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ThrustMe propulsion system launched onboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

The NPT30-I2 iodine propulsion system firing. Credit ThrustMe
The NPT30-I2 iodine propulsion system firing. Credit ThrustMe

London, 19 April 2023.- ThrustMe, a French deep tech company, announced on the 17th of April the successful launch of their NPT30-I2 iodine fuelled electric propulsion system as part of the NorSat-TD satellite. ThrustMe designs miniaturized aerospace thrusters for small satellites, increasing the life of satellites and making them more affordable. The Norwegian Space Agency’s NorSat-TD satellite was onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. 

The NPT30 has been designed for the next generation of streamlined satellites. It is a turnkey electric propulsion system that uses solid iodine propellant. It provides the high total impulse required by satellites for deployment, significant orbit changes, collision avoidance manoeuvres, and end-of-life removal to minimise space debris and free up critical operational orbits.

ThrustMe hopes to extend the lifetimes of satellites by collision avoidance and end-of-mission deorbiting. Through effective and efficient propulsion systems ThrustMe aims to address the global concern of the increasing number of satellite launches and potential for damaging debris from poorly managed space systems. 

With another system in orbit, ThrustMe aims to enhance the Norwegian capacity to navigate and operate the NorSat-TD satellite in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The goals of this mission include enhancing the space agency’s experience with propulsive satellite operations and improving its space safety capacity by supporting the development of space situational awareness and traffic management systems for Norway’s upcoming future missions. 

Funding for the system on this mission was underwritten by the French space agency CNES as an institutional partner to the mission. Industrialization of ThrustMe’s NPT30-I2 product portfolio is supported by the European Commission via the EU-funded EMBRACE II project.

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