The use of colloid thrusters for nano satellites

Barry Kent, John Stark, Bob Stevens, Matt Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


A micro-fabricated colloid thruster propulsion system is described for use on board a micro satellite, The thruster concept consists of multiple thrust heads, each of which can be subdivided to support several operating strategies requiring different thrust levels, and achieving significant satellite agility. The design provides thrust at the micro Newton level, with a 10:1 factor of variability. High specific impulse is achieved at an overall specific power of 19.4 W/mN. The overall system mass is 23 8g with an orbit average power demand of less that 0.1W. There is a wide a range of missions for which the thruster could be applied, analysis is presented here concerning optimal control for drag makeup.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-896
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP
Issue number555
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventSpace Propulsion 2004 - 4th International Spacecraft Propulsion Conference - Sardinia, Italy
Duration: 2 Jun 20044 Jun 2004

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