27 April 2018 News

Another milestone for the SPACE DRONE™ spacecraft

Image represents the stowed configuration (prior to launch, and upon release from launcher) of the four radio frequency ion thrusters that will be used to propel the SPACE DRONE™ spacecraft. Image: Effective Space
Image represents the stowed configuration (prior to launch, and upon release from launcher) of the four radio frequency ion thrusters that will be used to propel the SPACE DRONE™ spacecraft. Image: Effective Space

The SPACE DRONE™ spacecraft from Effective Space will be propelled to new heights with the aid of an electric propulsion system thanks to a new partnership the company have formed with ArianeGroup.

Effective Space has already announced that the SPACE DRONE™ will be sent into space by U.S based International Launch Services (ILS), but once there, the drone needs to reach a geostationary orbit in order to service ageing satellites. To do this, the SPACE DRONE will employ four of ArianeGroup’s Arclight Radio Frequency Ion Thrusters.

Apart from being highly efficient, another advantage of the Arclight electric propulsion system is that it is compact and lightweight. Its small form factor will help to limit the weight of the SPACE DRONE™ spacecraft to approximately 400kg, which in turn reduces launch costs.

“The Arclight technology is ‘best in class’ and we are honoured to be working with the company,” commented Arie Halsband, Founder & CEO, Effective Space. “This announcement marks another key milestone in securing an ecosystem of manufacturing, launch, operations and ancillary services with leading partners, supporting a program that will deliver substantial cost savings to satellite operators and opening the door to new opportunities.”

ArianeGroup, which is the lead contractor for Europe’s Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launcher families, is already a leader in state-of-the-art propulsion technologies and the Arclight’s customisable in orbit service modes will assist the SPACE DRONE™ in completing its various mission phases.

Speaking of the announcement, Stefan Hässler, Head of Orbital Propulsion at ArianeGroup said; “Effective Space is one of the pioneers in an important new era for the space industry and the collaboration we have announced is another validation of the important advances. With Arclight, ArianeGroup Orbital Propulsion has developed a highly efficient, small form factor electric propulsion system. We look forward to the successful deployment of the first SPACE DRONE™ spacecraft and to future collaboration with Effective Space.”

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