Ibadan, 5 September, 2023. – The UK Space Agency has announced a vital US/UK partnership in electric space propulsion between Britain’s Pulsar Fusion and the University of Michigan. Pulsar is seeking ways to leverage the unique test capabilities of the University of Michigan for Hall thrusters. Therefore, the focus of this preliminary Phase I effort is to identify export-compliant paths for allowing this.
This strategic, trans-Atlantic project will develop an international relationship concerning electric propulsion research with the USA. Electric propulsion, specifically Hall effect thrusters, is a key technology enabler for spacecraft. This UK Space Agency collaboration will develop a relationship with the leading University research center in Hall thrusters in the USA: the Plasma Dynamics and Electric Propulsion Lab at the University of Michigan (US), along with Hall thruster companies Pulsar Fusion (UK) & Starlight Engines (US) and University of Southampton (UK).
Until now, there have been no such collaborations between the UK and USA on Hall thruster research. As a result, this new partnership will commence such a collaboration for the first time, allowing the UK to benefit from the research and development in the world. This partnership will be funded from the first phase of the UK Space Agency’s £20 million International Bilateral Fund and is the second project awarded to Pulsar Fusion by the UKSA.
Pulsar Fusion CEO Richard Dinan commented: “As a manufacturer of space engines, there are regulatory challenges in being based in the UK, but England does have a fantastic talent pool, and our scientists deserve to be at the forefront of these emerging technologies. He further stated, “This is another key US partnership for Pulsar – we continue to pursue best-in-class innovation, and this is particularly exciting given the global commercial interest in these engines.”