Ibadan, 5 December 2023. – Neumann Space has announced the successful completion of the first series of on-orbit tests of its propulsion system, the Neumann Drive®. Neumann Space has consequently become one of the first commercial entities to fire a thruster in space that utilizes Molybdenum as a solid metallic propellant, and the Company considers it a world-first use of a safe, storable, abundant propellant for electric propulsion.
The first generation of the company’s self-contained electric propulsion solution for small spacecraft, the Neumann Drive®, was integrated into a Skykraft-3 satellite launched into space in June of this year. Since its launch, Neumann Space has been working to demonstrate the patented pulsed cathodic arc thruster technology. The on-orbit testing aimed to confirm the resilience of the Neumann Drive® to the launch environment, carefully validate the system’s electronics, demonstrate the charging of its power capacitors and conduct a test firing of the thruster, all of which were successful.
With this first flight, the engineers have acquired a wealth of technical knowledge, from design to in-space operations. Furthermore, Neumann Space’s CEO, Herve Astier, said, “We are happy to have successfully begun our on-orbit
testing the performance of the Neumann Drive® and achieving our initial mission objectives. Within the controlled testing scope, the mission was able to provide us with assurance in the space environment, serving as a foundation for achieving our vision of delivering superior mobility in space.”
The Company has also begun developing a second, more powerful version of the Neumann Drive, to incorporate the lessons it has learned. In addition, Neumann Space aims to continue enhancing the quality and performance of its products. This second-generation system will fly on three different satellite buses with international partners in 2024.