Press Release 8.2.2022
Aurora Propulsion Technologies and Aliena releases a multi-modal all-electric propulsion system for advanced in-orbit mobility
Espoo, Finland (February 8, 2022) – Aurora Propulsion Technologies (“Aurora”) and Aliena Pte Ltd (“Aliena”) have released a multi-modal all-electric satellite propulsion system catered for emerging small satellite missions. Aurora and Aliena first announced their collaboration through the execution of a memorandum of understanding in 2021, that documented the intentions to collaborate on jointly developing technologies that provides orbit maintenance and accurate attitude control for the most demanding of space missions in conventional orbits and for deep space missions. The companies are now publicly announcing the release of the joint-product – an all-electric multi-modal satellite propulsion system, that is the fruit of their successful collaboration over the last year.
The joint-product, a Multi-modal Electric Propulsion Engine (MEPE), is designed to be a turn-key solution for in-orbit propulsion, and features Aliena’s MUSIC Hall thrusters, and Aurora’s ARM Resistojets. MEPE brings along with it, elegance in design and a compact form-factor for simplicity of integration and smoothening of regulatory protocols for the planning and execution of operations from assembly, launch, to in-orbit deployment. A shared propellant source and fluidic regulation system feeds inert propellant to both thruster units, providing volume savings as well as plug-and-play capabilities for dual-mode propulsion.
Conventionally, small satellite operators are faced with the prospects of making compromises in the selection of their propulsion systems for their missions, given that smaller platforms do not have the capacity to carry onboard multiple propulsion systems. This results in either longer times for operations to be performed in-orbit, or the requirements to carry onboard larger quantities of propellant for the planned mission duration. With the release of MEPE, satellite operators now have access to high thrust resistojets and high specific impulse hall thrusters, giving multi-mission flexibility for the most sophisticated of operations to be performed in a timely and efficient manner in space.
MEPE will provide unprecedented agility for microsatellite missions, and come with an attractive price point and accelerated delivery lead times, catering specifically to emerging small satellite constellations. With this, satellite operators can focus on what matters most to them – running their operations in space in the most effective manner. Additionally, MEPE leverages on the engineering expertise of 2 international teams, providing absolute scrutiny over design and quality control over the systems to be delivered to customers in space.
Aurora, a Finland based company, offers a unique portfolio of small satellite propulsion devices, including Resistojet thrusters, plasma brakes and the upcoming E-sail for deep space missions. Auroras Resistojets offer a compelling thrust to power ratio, with up to 5mN of thrust, excellent control and quick response times. This makes the thrusters optimal for spacecraft attitude control, collision avoidance manoeuvres and for example docking operations in space. The Plasma Brakes enable deorbiting satellites at the end of their useful lifetime ensuring future generations a clean space. In addition to the products Aurora also offers manufacturing services of space grade high precision mechanical components as well as services in space craft and mission design from its home base in Finland.
“The collaboration with the Aliena has been and continues to be a thrilling experience of two mutually complementary teams producing an exceptional piece of engineering. The MEPE release showcases the will and skill of the two able teams. I believe the performance envelope of the MEPE module will be the start of a new chapter in how space propulsion will be done in the future. The market access of the two companies give the new MEPE product an exceptional availability and support network for our customers.” Says Roope Takala CEO of Aurora propulsion technologies.
Aliena is a Singapore based space tech company that focuses on the design and development of advanced low power Hall thrusters that would enable their microsatellite imaging constellation to fly at lower altitudes, resulting in high-resolution images from space, allowing for advanced analytics to empower business decisions on Earth. Their propulsion product line includes the in-house developed MUlti-Staged Ignition Compact (MUSIC) Hall thrusters in various neutralization modes that can be employed in a modular fashion to meet the power and thrust requirements of various customers and different platforms. MUSIC can be operated in “self-ignition” mode without the need of a hot cathode, giving it the ability to ignite on demand, or with a hollow cathode for a boost in thrust and specific impulse. The “self-ignition” mode was first deployed on the smallest satellite (3U) to carry a Hall thruster in 2022, and demonstrates the future of mobility through Hall thruster technology.
With regards to the product release of MEPE, Dr Lim Jian Wei Mark – CEO of Aliena expressed his excitement in being able to take the new system to market with their International partners from Aurora “We have been privileged to be able to work closely with our partners from Aurora over the last year in developing and finalizing a product that is now ready for the market. The successful co-ordination and execution of the joint-test campaigns at our facilities are clear indicators of how the teams can leverage the infrastructure, test facilities, and talent from both companies to rapidly develop a cost-competitive product that has already secured a launch opportunity in the coming year. We look forward to working closely with other partners globally, especially emerging satellite operators as we provide them with new avenues to functionalize their constellations in space through our propulsion systems.”
The companies are currently taking orders for MEPE, and the 1st in-orbit deployment of the system has been scheduled in 2023.
More information on Aliena can be found at https://www.aliena.sg/
More information on Aurora can be found at https://aurorapt.fi/media/
About Aurora Propulsion Technologies
Aurora Propulsion Technologies’ mission is to ensure sustainable use of space, whilst prolonging the useful lifespan of satellites. Our technologies enable effective and prompt implementation of satellite position and orientation to ensure successful execution and growth for the owners’ business as well as the safe and reliable deorbiting of satellites at the end of their useful life. The long-term mission goal is deep space exploration with microsatellite-sized probes using a revolutionary means of propulsion, an electric sail.
Visit Aurora Propulsion Technologies at www.aurorapt.fi.
Aliena is a Singapore based space propulsion provider that aims to bring space closer to home for satellite operators and terrestrial businesses through high resolution datasets acquired from their constellation of very-low-Earth-orbiting microsatellites. Their novel propulsion systems aim to equip disruptive next-generation satellites with advanced manoeuvring capabilities that can empower satellite operations of tomorrow including operations at VLEO for their own microsatellite constellation. A technology spin-off from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Aliena currently operates out of a privately-owned jet propulsion test facility that gives the R&D and manufacturing environment to provide their systems to the most demanding of customers internationally.
Visit Aliena at https://www.aliena.sg/