Thales Alenia Space and Miprons to develop satellite propulsion system with AM parts

August 1, 2022

The water-powered propulsion system will be based on Miprons’ proprietary technology, the ALEXIUS space propulsion system (Courtesy Miprons)
The water-powered propulsion system will be based on Miprons’ proprietary technology, the ALEXIUS space propulsion system (Courtesy Miprons)

Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales Group and Leonardo S.p.A, has signed an agreement with aerospace component manufacturer Miprons, Segni, Italy, to develop a propulsion system for satellites that will feature additively manufactured components and be powered by water. Based in France, Thales Alenia Space provides solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation and environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructure.

Founded in 2019, Miprons specialises in micro propulsion for nano satellites. It has filed three international patents, on innovative space propulsion systems and the relative main components. It is particularly focusing on the use of water in space applications for both propulsion and human requirements. The water-powered propulsion system will reportedly be based on Miprons’ proprietary technology, the ALEXIUS space propulsion system solution which has been patent filed in fifty countries.

By utilising this technology the companies aim to develop a miniaturised, high-powered thruster that will use water as a propellant. An electrolysis process splits the water into hydrogen and oxygen, which are fed into the combustion chamber. By only loading water, the system would allow faster maneuvers such as orbit-raising, de-orbiting and collision avoidance. The system is expected to be both compact and scalable, allowing it to be installed on a range of small and large satellites. The development of the propulsion system will also utilise Additive Manufacturing for a number of components.

Designed specifically for Thales Alenia Space’s satellites, this high-efficiency thruster is expected to feature reduced weight and volume. Thales Alenia Space states that it will guide thruster development and its location 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,” stated 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 catalyse the entire space ecosystem. We are always willing to tackle new challenges that emphasise the growing strategic importance of the space sector.”

Angelo Minotti, CEO and founder of Miprons, commented, “I am extremely proud of our agreement with Thales Alenia Space. 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.”

www.miprons.com

www.thalesgroup.com

The water-powered propulsion system will be based on Miprons’ proprietary technology, the ALEXIUS space propulsion system (Courtesy Miprons)

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF
 

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Revolution, not evolution: General Motors on building an AM culture and the AM Dream Machine
  • The power of Additive Manufacturing in the hands of artists: Public works to small batch production
  • Growing momentum and broadening recognition: A status update on the rise of Electron Beam PBF
  • Improving carbon capture efficiency through Additive Manufacturing in the race for a liveable climate
  • The System of AM Systems: How Metal Powder Works’ in-process powder production could change metal AM
  • The next generation: Using metal AM to drive emissions reduction and educate the engineers of the future
  • Advances in the AM of refractory metals and hard materials at the 20th Plansee Seminar
  • Additive Manufacturing needs you: Why you and your company should get involved in standards development

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

News from the industry…

    News from the industry…

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

    • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news

    All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

    Browse the archive

    Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

    Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

    • AM machines
    • Process monitoring & calibration
    • Heat treatment & sintering
    • HIP systems & services
    • Pre- & post-processing technology
    • Powders, powder production and analysis
    • Part manufacturers
    • Consulting, training & market data
    Download PDF
    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap