27, February 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender AO10609
Open Date: 26/02/2021
Closing Date: 07/05/2021 13:00:00

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 20.123.12
Prog. Ref.: Technology Developme
Budget Ref.: E/0901-01 – Technology Developme
Tender Type: C
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Products: Satellites & Probes / Propulsion / Electric Propulsion ¿ BB / Other / Satellites & Probes / Propulsion / Chemical Propulsion ¿ BB / Other
Technology Domains: Propulsion / Chemical Propulsion Technologies / Liquid Propulsion Systems / Propulsion / Electric Propulsion Technologies / Electrostatic Systems / Propulsion / Electric Propulsion Technologies / Electrothermal Systems / Propulsion / Electric Propulsion Technologies / Electromagnetic Systems
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. & Quality
Department: Mechanical Department
Division: Propulsion & Aerothermodynamics Division
Contract Officer: Garre, Maximilian
Industrial Policy Measure: C2 – Activities in open competition, significant partecipat…
Last Update Date: 26/02/2021
Update Reason: Tender issue

To develop a prototype of a modular water-electrolysis propulsion system made of an electrolyser, a chemical thruster and an electric thruster.In a water electrolysis propulsion system, water stored in a lightweight, low pressure tank is fed to an electrolyser where, by applying electrical energy (e.g. 1000W), it is decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen and oxygen can be stored in separate vessels or can be fed directly to a chemical and/or an electric thruster. Water is non-toxic, non-corrosive and significantly cheaper compared to traditional propellants. Given the potential significant mass and cost savings, it seems crucial to develop a European prototype of such a technology.By feeding propellant to both, electric and chemical thrusters a hybrid system can be optimized to operate at higher thrust or higher specific impulse, depending on the mission needs. Furthermore it is possible to tailor the combustion mixture ratio of the chemical propulsion thruster away from the unfavorable stoichio-metric one by allocating some fraction of the propellant to the electric thruster.This activity focuses on the electrolyser capable of feeding both thruster types with oxygen and/or hydrogen. It departs from previous and running activities on water-electrolysis propulsion systems (T519-413MP G617-241TAbp). These started at TRL 1 and provided paper studies of the concept of a water electrolysis propulsion system (trade-off, materials, components, equipment). This activity has as focus the commonalities of a building block type modular propulsion system, using the electrolyser to feed either or both chemical and/or electric propulsion thrusters. In this way the propulsion system is flexible, independent from the thruster technology and capable to respond to different application and customer requirements.The activity encompasses the following tasks:- Definition of requirements of a water electrolysis propulsion system with chemical and/or electric thruster.- Preliminary design of the water electrolyser according to the defined requirements- Definition of thruster technology (suitable EP technology to be selected by the Bidder in order to respond to the objective), thruster geometry and design configuration for both thruster types to be coupled with the water electrolyser. Special attention shall be paid to material compatibility aspects.- Manufacturing and testing of the water electrolysis system prototype- Performance test of the water electrolysis system with both thrusters (Note: it is possible to either use an existing thruster or to develop a dedicated thruster).- Identificationof further development needs to be reported in a Roadmap/Development Plan.Procurement Policy: C(2) = A relevant participation (interms of quality and quantity) of non-primes (incl. SMEs) is required. For additional information please go to EMITS news “Industrial Policy measures for non-primes, SMEs and RD entities in ESA programmes”.

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