Aerospace & Defence

Thales Alenia Space develop water-powered satellite propulsion system

27th July 2022
Kiera Sowery

Thales Alenia Space, the joint venture between Thales and Leonardo, has signed an agreement with Italian startup MIPRONS to develop of a highly innovative propulsion system for satellites, using water as a fuel.

Based on MIPRONS’ proprietary technology, with the  Italian patent being extended to 49 other countries, this miniaturised, high-thrust thruster will use a very green, cost-effective propellant – water.

An electrolysis process breaks down the water into hydrogen and oxygen, which are fed into the combustion chamber. Only loading water, the system would allow for faster maneuver times such as orbit-raising, de-orbiting and collision avoidance. Because the system is both compact and scalable, it can be used on all size satellites, from small to large.

The innovative MIPRONS concept also calls on 3D printing for a number of components.

Purposed-designed for Thales Alenia Space's satellites, this powerful and high-efficiency thruster will feature reduced weight and volume. Thales Alenia Space  will guide thruster development to achieve a reliable, high-performance propulsion solution for small and medium satellites. Thales Alenia Space in Italy  will support  the environmental testing of the engineering model.

We are very proud to team up with MIPRONS, which is gaining increasing international recognition, since our collaboration could well change the paradigm for space missions," said Massimo Claudio Comparini, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in Italy.

This agreement confirms Thales Alenia Space’s strategy to play a pivotal role in new space initiatives, reflected in synergies generated with exciting new startups that catalyze the entire space ecosystem.  We are always willing to tackle new challenges that emphasize the growing strategic importance of the space sector. I am extremely proud of our agreement with Thales Alenia Space," added Angelo Minotti, CEO and founder of MIPRONS.

"It’s truly a privilege to earn the trust of one of the world's largest space companies. Our project, although still in its early stages , clearly has the potential to define a new paradigm in space, and we will do everything we can to have the system up and running as soon as possible."

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