Bellatrix Aerospace, a Bengaluru based Space Transportation company has successfully tested India’s 1st Privately Developed Hall-effect Thruster, a highly efficient electric propulsion system for microsatellites.
- The tests were conducted at the Spacecraft Propulsion Research Laboratory (Asia’s largest privately funded lab) set up by Bellatrix at Society for Innovation and Development-Indian Institute of Science (SID-IISc), Bengaluru, Karnataka.
- The propulsion system is ideal for microsatellites weighing 50-500 Kg and can be scaled up for heavier satellites.
- The current model of the thruster uses Xenon as fuel. The Technology is a critical technology for the Space Taxi that Bellatrix Aerospace is developing.
i.The thruster has been designed to power major satellite constellations which are set to be launched during 2021-30. The Thruster will also be used for a satellite mission in 2021.
ii.Bellatrix Aerospace has also developed the World’s 1st commercial Microwave Plasma Thruster, which uses water as fuel. For this, the company has bagged an order from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
What is Hall-effect thruster (HET)?
- In spacecraft propulsion, a Hall-effect thruster (HET) is a type of ion thruster in which the propellant is accelerated by an electric field.
- Hall-effect thrusters use a magnetic field to limit the electrons’ axial motion and then use them to ionize propellant, efficiently accelerate the ions to produce thrust, and neutralize the ions in the plume.
The applications of Hall-effect thrusters include control of the orientation and position of orbiting satellites and use as a main propulsion engine for medium-size robotic space vehicles.
i.It is an IISc incubated startup established in 2015.
ii.At present it is working on proprietary propellants which can make the propulsion system more compact and cost-efficient.
- It has announced collaborations with other space companies such as Satsure, Skyroot Aerospace and Dhruva Space on its ambitious Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) mission.
- It is also developing a green chemical propulsion system which forms an eco-friendly high-performance alternative for toxic and carcinogenic Hydrazine based propellants.
Electric Propulsion System
- Compared to chemical propulsion technologies, electric propulsion systems offer higher specific through mileage, allowing satellites to carry more transponders and achieve 3X higher return on investment.
- The Hall Thruster technology was initially developed in Russia, it is the most reliable and time tested electric propulsion system.
Recent Related News:
i.Skyroot Aerospace and Bellatrix Aerospace have signed a MoU to use the Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV) being developed by Bellatrix Aerospace in the upper stage of Vikram series of launch vehicles being developed by Skyroot Aerospace.
About Bellatrix Aerospace
CEO – Rohan M Ganapathy
Location – Bengaluru, Karnataka