MEMS-based micropropulsion system

NanoSpace's miniaturized propulsion system provides extremely small and precise thrust for a variety of satellite missions. Formation flying and precise attitude control are examples where thrust levels in the micro- to milli-Newton range are required.

The NanoSpace micropropulsion system contains several novel and patented innovations. The key component is the thruster module containing unique technology. The thruster module contains a silicon wafer stack with four complete rocket engines with integrated flow control valves, filters, and heaters. Extremely small heaters are located inside the thrust chamber to improve the specific impulse and hence efficient use of the propellant.

Micropropulsion schematic

NanoSpace miniaturized propulsion system was flight demonstrated on Prisma – a European mission to demonstrate autonomous formation flying and rendezvous. The NanoSpace micropropulsion system is also being evaluated for a number of other missions.


Demonstrated characteristics  
Thrust range (each thruster) 0.01-1 mN
Specific impuls 50-75 sec
Operating pressure 4 bar
MEOP 6 bar
Proof 9 bar
Burst 15 bar
Temperatures operating/non-operating 0-50oC / -10-60oC
Leakage, external 10-6 scc/sec
Leakage, internal 10-4scc/sec
Diameter 44 mm
Height 51 mm
 Power  2 W/thruster
 Mass 115 gram 



Structural mounting 3 bolts, M3
Propellant feed 1/8 inch weldable stud
Electrical interface Flying leads
Fluid compatibility N2, He, Xe, water, IPA



Launched Prisma 2010


For more information, see the MEMS Thruster Module data sheet.


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