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Startups successfully deployed a compact, fuel-efficient satellite engine in space

(LR) George-Cristian Potrivitu, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Aliena, a candidate for the NTU PhD, and Co-founder and CEO of Aliena, Energy Institute @NTU (ERI @ N) .. Credit: Aliena
Aliena, a technology spin-off from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) in Singapore, today deployed a nanosatellite with a fuel-efficient engine in space. The nanosatellite was transmitted from the SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter-3 mission launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, USA.

The Hall effect thruster, the engine of the satellite, is a type of ion thruster in which ions from the propellant are accelerated by an electric field, and was invented and developed by Aliena. Compared to current satellite engines of that type, new engines consume very little power for their operation.

Thrusters are very important for satellites because they need to make occasional thrust launches to keep them in orbit. Otherwise, the thruster will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere and end the mission. This is due to the resistance or drag from the thin atmosphere they encounter.

Historically, most satellites weighed thousands of kilograms and were huge satellites several stories high. However, over the last two decades, the popularity of small satellites has grown, and small, lightweight, fuel-efficient engines have been developed to maintain satellite functionality. Sky ..

Compared to current Hall thrusters, which require about 1,000 watts to keep large satellites in orbit and are not suitable for small spacecraft, Aliena’s engine operates nanosatellite with less than 10 watts of power. Can be maintained. The entire propulsion system fits in a 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm cube, weighs less than two cartons, and is significantly lighter than traditional compatible systems.

Often referred to as the fourth state of matter, plasma and its physical properties play an important role in Aliena’s engine. The launch of the NTU uses plasma propulsion to allow small satellites to move through space with forces from just a few micronewtons. This is comparable to the amount of force an ant uses to move forward a few steps.

Dr. Marc Lim Jiang Wei, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Eliena and Deputy Principal Researcher at the Energy Institute @ NTU (ERI @ N), said: To meet the growing demand for mobility in outer space via plasma engines. Once an early market, the number of space technology companies incorporated to take advantage of the cost-effectiveness of small satellites and access to space has skyrocketed. Develop unique constellations that impact on-ground and off-ground businesses. “

George Christian Potribitu, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Aliena, also holds a PhD in NTU. Candidates said, “Ariena is focused on developing state-of-the-art plasma-based satellite propulsion systems. This mission is a crucial miles for Singapore’s rapidly emerging civilian space ecosystem from the early stages. It definitely shows the stone. It proves that our system works well in the space of satellites. This is important to keep expanding our customer base. We are the precedent for small spacecraft. By providing no mobility, we want to enable their new operations and promote new business opportunities […]

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