France sets satellite thruster world record
The French company Snecma has recently completed endurance tests on its new plasma thruster and set a new world record in the process.
Snecma, a member of the French corporation SAFRAN, is a major European player in the aviation and space components industry. Their latest satellite thruster, the PPS® 1350E, has just undergone 6,700 cumulative hours of operation, or a total impulse of 3.4 meganewton per second - a world record for this type of propellant.
This thruster operates at 2.5kw compared to the 1.5kw electrical power of the PPS® 1350G.
The applications for these thrusters will be in the transfer of satellites into their final orbit, and for keeping the satellite “on station” throughout its service life. Snecma report that the system reduces the use of chemical propulsion during orbit transfer. This in turn enables the satellite’s weight to be significantly reduced.
Photo of PPS1350-E Plasma Thruster by Eric Forterre, copyright. Courtesy Safran/Snecma
The company also has a 5kw thruster in development (PPS® 5000). They have been producing electric thrusters for over 30 years and claim that the technology reduces the mass of geostationary satellites by 40%.
Snecma is in a joint venture with GE developing the LEAP engine for the aviation industry.
You can read about the LEAP engine in these articles:
- The new LEAP jet engine - benefits at a glance
- GE jet engines use 3D printing
- GE invests heavily in materials technology for the new LEAP jet engine