SRC Operational Grants

SRC Operational Grants

These are the current on-going SRC Operational Grants:

The proposals selected under COMPET-3-2016-a (Incremental Technologies) are the 3 proposals presented:

•             CHEOPS

•             HEMPT-NG

•             GIESEPP

The proposals selected under COMPET-3-2016-b (Disruptive Technologies) have been 3 proposals from the 18 presented:

•             GaNOMIC

•             HiperLoc-EP

•             MINOTOR

The proposals selected in the 2019 Call for disruptive technologies are:

  • AETHER: Air breathing Electric THruster (Sitael, Von Karman Institute, Surrey University, Transmit, RHP, Astos).
  • EDDA: European Direct Drive Architecture (Thales france, Thales Belgium, Sitael, Thales germany, University Carlos III, Efficient innovations).
  • HIPATIA: Helicon Plasma Thruster for In space applications (Sener, University carlos III, Airbus France, CNRS, AST)
  • NEMESIS: Novel electricide Material for enhanced electric propulsion solutions (Advanced Thermal Devices, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Justus Liebig University Giessen, EXOTRAIL, FOTEC).
  • PJP: Plasma Jet Pack (COMAT, OHB Sweden, CNRS, University der Bundeswehr Muenchen, Thales France, plasma Solve).
  • iFACT: Iodine Fed Advanced Cusp field Thruster (Airbus Germany, Airbus SAS, EASN, Southampton University, FGZFDAF, Aerospazio, Giessen University, ENDUROSAT).

The proposals selected in the 2020 Call for incremental technologies are:

  • HEMPT-NG2: The objective of the HEMPT-NG2 consortium is to continue to develop, simulate, build and qualify the High Efficiency Multistage Plasma Thruster – Next Generation (HEMPT-NG2) system, with the application to operate a LEO-Thruster for use of station keeping, orbit raising and orbit manoeuvring of satellites in constellations. The HEMPT-NG2 project will contribute to increase the competitiveness of space electrical propulsion systems developed in Europe by developing an integrated solution based on the HEMPT (Highly Efficient Multistage Plasma Thruster) technology for the different LEO satellites. This project will increase the capacity to compete within a worldwide market in term of cost, performances and production capacity. The availability of such competitive electrical propulsion system is a key to the success of the European space sector and the emerging space applications. HEMPT-NG will also reduce dependency to foreign supplier to ensure an independent access to space in Europe. So the interest of the whole consortium (Aerospazio Tecnologie SARL, ASP & Space GmbH, University Greiswald, Thales Alenia Space Belgium, Thales Alenia Space UK and Thales Germany) is to increase the competitiveness of space electrical propulsion systems developed in Europe by developing an integrated solution based on the HEMPT technology for the LEO satellites. The HEMPT technology has significant advantages compared to the other electrical propulsion technologies that are currently available (Hall effect thrusters and Grid ion thrusters). The lower mass and the ability to choose between high thrust and low propellant consumption operations will allow lighter or more powerful satellites. Low erosion will significantly improve the life duration of the thrusters. And finally the replacement of the xenon by the krypton that is more common in the atmosphere will lower the economic and ecological cost for satellite propellant.
  • ASPIRE: The recent developments in high-power Hall thruster systems, thanks to the optimal combination of performance and reliability, are enabling a wide set of mission scenarios. These technological advantages, coupled with the increasing availability of power onboard satellite platforms, are encouraging several spacecraft manufacturers to focus on the implementation of high-power Hall thruster systems.
    The most promising scenarios envisage the introduction of a new class of service platforms characterized by versatility and a high level of reusability, the so-called Space Tug. Other applications, nowadays of particular interest, are the active debris removal to mitigate the possible collision risks. Besides, several exploration and scientific missions, such as Mars Sample Return, contemplate high power electric propulsion as the main propulsion system.
    Despite these potential advantages, several factors have limited the possibility of reaching qualified status for these systems, such as huge costs and availability of test facility.
    ASPIRE aims to increase the TRL of 20kW Hall Thruster system up to 6 by exploiting results obtained within CHEOPS. The project will cover many aspects, from mission scenarios analysis and satellite architecture consolidation to thruster unit TRL raise to 7 and enabling reduced-cost qualification. To keep operational and development costs as low as possible, krypton is maintained as baseline propellant.
    The ASPIRE project also aims at augmenting the numerical modelling capability necessary for qualification of high-power EP systems, which lacks in Europe. The numerical models, developed and refined by three academic partners in the frame of this project, will be validated with the data gathered in more than 1000 hours of firing with Kr. Artificial intelligence is used to develop a novel simulation-aided qualification strategy, representing an exclusive European asset for the foreseen qualification and flight in the 2020-2030 decade
  • CHEOPS MEDIUM POWER: To prepare future large satellite missions, replace obsolete networks or introduce new on-board technological advances, Europe must offer to its satellite industry a competitive and highly reliable European dual mode Hall-effect Electric Propulsion System able to provide sufficient power to perform both orbit raising (7kW) and station keeping (3kW) duties.
    Based on CHEOPS Phase I results, CHEOPS MEDIUM POWER will perform incremental developments on system and sub-system levels in order to achieve TRL6/7 by 2023.
    CHEOPS MEDIUM POWER will further mature the different system elements (Thruster Unit, PPU, FMS) by addressing the following key challenges: non-recurring and recurring cost reduction in terms of design, manufacturing, test qualification and time to deliver, as well as propellent efficiency in order to increase valuable payload and generate revenues. These advancements will fit into a less than 10kg thruster working at both 250 and 400V. CHEOPS MEDIUM POWER will deliver for the thruster unit an optimised design for a very high thrust and improved lifecycle durations. On an industrial level the project aims at reduced fabrication cycles, improved quality, leaner manufacture, faster assembly lead times, and improved tolerance management. The Power processing unit will be optimised by removing unnecessary functions and re-selecting cheaper key components with at least constant reliability levels. The project’s scope extends to FMS level where space qualifiable COTS will be used to provide maximum mission suitability for variable number of thrusters per satellite.
    CHEOPS MEDIUM POWER will have a medium-term impact on the European space industry and its overall competitiveness, but also on the satellite design and manufacturing paradigm in the long term.
  • CHEOPS LOW POWER: The LEO satellite market evolution sets a quick innovation pace for the satellite industry. High performances, compatibility with high production rates, adaptability and competitive prices are key in order to gain and maintain a strategic position. Based on a market analysis an EPS with a cost lower than 200K and a power range from 200W-1000W meets future satellite market needs, increasing European competitiveness on the worldwide satellite arena.
    CHEOPS Phase 2 LOW POWER will deliver incremental developments for the first fully European Low Power EPS bringing the Thruster Unit and the FMS to TRL7 and the PPU to TRL6. The system will be optimized with Xenon and compatible with Krypton.
    CHEOPS LOW POWER will permit the detailed design of the different system elements (TU, PPU, FMS) by addressing the following key challenges: compactness, modularity, optimized in-service life, low cost and high production rates, as well as flexible propellant management. Also, a multi-point qualification approach for the thruster unit enabling reduction of recurring costs through a more standard and common approach for all customers is considered. For this, CHEOPS LOW POWER will use a design to cost approach, COTS components and lean production approaches. CHEOPS LOW POWER will fully take advantage of new technologies and develop supporting advanced numerical design tools for electric propulsion, allowing to understand the observable behavior of a given thruster in its environment and predicting future performance.
    The project will achieve significant progress in setting a HET diagnostics standard thus preparing its implementation in the future In Orbit Demonstrator.
    CHEOPS LOW POWER will have a medium-term impact on the European space industry and its overall competitiveness by delivering a mature low power EPS. In the long-term the impact extends to the satellite design and manufacturing paradigm, enabling a novel approach integrating both industry and client needs since the start.
  • GIESEPP MP: The consortium proposes to continue the activity started under COMPET-3-2016-a to develop, build and test to TRL6/7 the first European Plug and Play Gridded Ion Engine Standardised Electric Propul-sion Platform (GIESEPP) to operate ArianeGroup ion engines with option of alternative thrusters, for a medium power application.
    The consortium’s intention will be:
    • to reach a TRL6/7 of the medium power system with at least partial qualification to allow flight readiness
    • to improve European competiveness in this field by
    + optimising industrialisation both on thruster unit and EPS level
    + increasing the GIE systems production capacities
    + significantly reducing the recurring costs
    • and to maintain and secure the European non-dependence on this crucial technological field.

The proposals selected in the 2022 Call for generic bluilding blocks are:

  • CHEOPS-VHP-BB: CHEOPS Very High-Power Building Blocks (Safran Aircraft Engines, Aerospazio Tecnologie, Universita Di Pisa, Leibniz-Institut, CNRS, Thales Alenia Space and Wit Berry)
  • DEEP-PPU: DisruptivE Electrical Propulsion – Power Processing Unit (Airbus CRISA, Airbus DS, UPM, Fraza, Axon Cable and Wit Berry)
  • ECOPROPU: Electrical COmpetitive PROPUlsion (Safran Electronics & Defense, TU Berlin, Advance Circuit Boards, Safran Aircraft Engines and Aerospazio Tecnologie).

Information on the projects, its objectives, its activities to be performed and the progress of each project is available on the EPIC PSA web in coordination with each Operational Grant as part of SRC dissemination activities in line with the Collaboration Agreement.