Catalytic Materials for Small Satellite Propulsion Systems (ICAT)

Satellite Missions & Development Projects

NanoAvionics together with the National Centre for Physical Sciences and Technology (FTMC), Lithuania, is carrying out a project on innovative catalytic materials for miniaturized monopropellant thruster systems. The project began in September, 2015 and will last until December, 2016. The project goal is to design and develop a novel solid state catalyst bed for nano and micro spacecraft thrusters using a prototype propulsion system. The catalyst bed is crucial for optimal operation of the propulsion systems based on any contemporary “green” monopropellant. It is located inside the combustion chamber of the thruster to initiate and sustain the combustion reactions.

The project consists of three main tasks, which are required to reach the project goal:

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  1. Appropriate catalyst substrate design selection and/or manufacture in order to coat the bed with catalytic material and test it in a realistic laboratory environment, i.e. assessment of thermal resistance, temperature cycling, substrate porosity, required latency propellant time etc.;
  2. Development of coating techniques by chemical and electro-chemical deposition of catalytic Pt group metals and alloys (including non-Pt group catalytic transition metals) onto optimized substrates;
  3. Thruster system development after selection of the most perspective substrate/catalyst composition and further in-situ testing.

Project funding amount: EUR 213 050.

ICAT 0,3N thruster test firing

ICAT 0,3N thruster test firing

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