12, July 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-10848
Open Date: 09/07/2021 08:19 CEST
Closing Date: 20/08/2021 13:00 CEST

To design, manufacture and test a prototype of a cathode-less microwave electrothermal thruster for constellation of small telecommunication satellites.Electric Propulsion (EP) is used or considered for most of the new large constellations. Most of the currently available EP systems are using Xenon as propellant and require a neutraliser. These two characteristics are however not fully compatible with one of the main requirements for large constellations: low cost.The objective of this activity is to develop a microwave electrothermal propulsion system for small satellites (e.g. constellation). This technology has the advantage of being compatiblewith unconventional, low cost propellants (e.g. water or ammonia) and not to require a neutraliser. These two aspects reduce both the system complexity and cost. The development shall aim for the following performance values for an input power below 1 kW:- Thrust: 10 – 20mN- Specific impulse > 500sThe activity shall encompass the following tasks:- Market assessment of propulsion needs for constellation applications and assessment of currently available propulsion systems based on microwave electrothermal thrusters worldwide- Requirements definition for a microwave electrothermal thruster based on the outcomes of the market analysis (target: similar or better performances as currently available worldwide)- Design, manufacturing and test a prototype to demonstrate compliance with the requirements (incl. selection of propellant in line with the objective to develop a low cost, low complexity propulsion system)- Definition of a roadmap for further developments

Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. Quality
Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Rudolfo Almeida
Initiating Service: TEC-MPE
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0901-01 – Technology Developme
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 19-B-II-Electrothermal Systems
Products Keywords: 2-K-3-c-Electrothermal Propulsion Systems

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