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Development of MEMS-Based Components and Subsystems for Spacecraft Propulsion

[+] Author Affiliations
Pelle Rangsten, Tor-Arne Grönland, Håkan Johansson, Kerstin Jonsson

NanoSpace AB, Uppsala, Sweden

Johan Bejhed

Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Mattias Carlqvist

Swedish Space Corporation, Solna, Sweden

Paper No. CANEUS2006-11079, pp. 249-256; 8 pages
  • CANEUS 2006: MNT for Aerospace Applications
  • CANEUS2006: MNT for Aerospace Applications
  • Toulouse, France, August 27–September 1, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Nanotechnology Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4254-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-3787-4
  • Copyright © 2006 by NanoSpace AB


Development of a MEMS-based (Micro Electro Mechanical System) components and subsystems has been pursued at Uppsala University, Sweden since 1997. Since 2005, the continued development towards the first flight the subject MEMS products onboard a satellite in 2008 is done within the frame of NanoSpace — a company dedicated to MEMS-based products for space. Currently, two major efforts to develop MEMS-based propulsion products are ongoing. First, NanoSpace is developing a miniaturized cold gas propulsion system. The major challenge in this effort is to develop the thruster module containing four individual thrusters with the capability to deliver proportional, low noise thrust in the micro- to milli-Newton range. The thruster pod even includes valves, filters, pressure- and temperature sensors and heaters. In a future step, even control electronics and a CAN interface will be included in the thrusters pod which has the size of a golf ball and a weight of about 100 grams. A prototype of this miniaturized cold gas propulsion will be flight tested onboard the PRISMA satellite. PRISMA is an international technology demonstration program with focus on rendezvous and formation flying. It is a two satellite LEO mission with a launch scheduled to September 2008. The other major development effort underway is a MEMS-based Xenon flow control system intended for electrical propulsion systems. Using MEMS technology, a Xenon feed system including an micro isolation valve, pressure regulator, and a number of parallel flow control modules can be built with significantly reduced size and mass compared to existing systems based on conventional technology. NanoSpace is a Swedish company with the goal to be a component and subsystem supplier of MEMS-based products to space industry, based on own research and development and intellectual property rights.

Copyright © 2006 by NanoSpace AB



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