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NSS Receives ESA Contract for Electric Propulsion Technology

NSS
Credit: NSS

Ibadan, 8 December 2023. – Neutron Star Systems (NSS) has announced the signature of its second contract with the European Space Agency to deliver “Very High Thrust Density for Space Transportation”. Under the agreement, NSS and its partners will design and manufacture a high-power electric propulsion (HPEP) prototype which will lay the groundwork for deploying electric propulsion (EP) technologies on future missions and ensuring European independence and capabilities for future operations.

NSS has partnered with the Institute of Space Systems (IRS) at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and the University of Pisa (UPISA), Italy, to deliver this project. Furthermore, the contract will focus on defining the propulsion system requirements, optimizing the thruster design, achieving stable discharge operation, and characterizing the performance by testing and analysing thrust, discharge and thermal behaviour.

The IRS will take the lead on the design of the Breadboard Model of the thruster unit, as well as the process from manufacturing to testing it. On the other hand, UPISA will contribute to the advancement of higher currents and power classes through an enhanced design of hollow cathodes for the SX3 thruster.

Speaking on the contract, Manuel La Rosa Betancourt, CEO of Neutron Star Systems, said: “This contract is a signal that the European Space Agency is giving serious thought to developing high-power electric propulsion capabilities to address market needs for space transportation from Low Earth Orbit (LEO), EO, to GEO, Cislunar, Mars and the Deep Space domain. I have high hopes that this will be the starting point for ESA to articulate technology development programs for sustainable electric propulsion technologies applied in space transportation missions.”

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