Advanced manufacturing processes are critical to the fabrication of key components in the space propulsion sector. Over the coming decades, constellations of CubeSat-sized spacecraft will demand propulsion solutions that are highly efficient while being compact enough to fit within tight volume, mass, and power restrictions. This project aims to develop space qualified manufacturing and integration processes such as ceramic sintering or electronics encapsulation to enable the mass fabrication of propulsion components to demanding requirements. The porous electrospray thruster (PET) is one of the few electric propulsion systems suitable for attitude control and orbital changes of CubeSats. Rapid commercial exploitation is necessary to capture demand for 300-500 units by the year 2023-24. Currently at TRL4/5, PET-100 has demonstrated efficiency (62%), over double that of its nearest competitors. To be flight-ready however, the production techniques of key components have to allow the required high-volume production using space qualified processes. We will define the manufacturing processes needed and will finalise component design. The components will then be produced and validated through a set of KPIs. We will achieve TRL 6/7 and subsequent commercial exploitation with input from our end-users and CubeSat primes.



Philippe Michaud
Alberto Garbayo