Aerojet, QinetiQ, and EADS Astrium Crisa to jointly market XENITH ion propulsion system

  • 29-Jun-2011 09:28 EDT

A view of GOCE's ion thrusters are shown as the satellite is lowered to join the Breeze Upper Stage.

Aerojet, QinetiQ, and EADS Astrium Crisa announced that the companies have entered into a joint agreement to supply the XENITH (Xenon Ion Thruster) ion propulsion system to the worldwide commercial spacecraft market. Built around the ultrahigh-efficient T6 ion thruster developed by QinetiQ, the XENITH propulsion system will provide a reduction in propellant consumed by more than a factor of 12 over conventional chemical propulsion systems. Ion propulsion systems have been used for orbit raising and station keeping of satellites, as well as for primary propulsion for deep space missions.The T6 ion propulsion technology is based on the lower power T5 system, which provides precision atmospheric drag compensation for the GOCE gravity mapping mission operated by ESA. QinetiQ provides the thruster and flow control subsystem, while Crisa provides the thruster power and control electronics.

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