Overview

The IFM 350 Nano has initially been developed with the aim to enable a CubeSat mission to the moon. It therefore integrates well into all common CubeSat structures, using 0.6 U of physical space. The thruster is a Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP) thruster using Indium as propellant. In order to emit Ions at an Isp of up to 5000 s at a dynamic thrust range from 1 µN to 1 mN, a so called porous tungsten crown emitter is used, that has been developed for the ESA NGGM mission. This emitter was initially developed to enable fixed formation flight missions and therefore combines high throttability with extreme accuracy.

Each Module includes in a 10 x 10 x 6 cm Volume (0.6U):

  • Ion Emitter
  • Propellant
  • Propellant Heater
  • High Voltage Electronics
  • Power Processing Unit
  • Neutralizer

The thruster uses a liquid metal propellant which allows for the extremely high density of the system and provides the advantage that the complete propulsion unit is inert during the launch.


Performance Envelope for the IFM 350 Nano

The IFM 350 Nano is a very flexible thruster, that can operate at an Isp range of 2000 to 5000 s. At any given thrust point, higher Isp operation will increase the total impulse while it will also increase the power demand. The thruster can be operated along the full dynamic range throughout the mission. That means, that high Isp and low Isp maneuvers can be included in a mission planning, as well as high thrust orbit maneuver and low thrust precision control maneuvers for formation flight.

The following figures given an idea about the thruster Performance. However, the thruster is quite versatile in the sense that for example voltage/current characteristics can be altered to meet specific performance targets. It is therefore recommended to contact us as soon as preliminarymission requirements are available. We will be happy to calculate for you what performance you can expect for your application.
Note, that the Subsystem Power includes all inefficiencies of the PPU as well as the power required to heat the propellant.