Snecma and Thales Alenia Space team on electric propulsion for satellites

VERNON, France, 27 May 2014. Snecma (Safran) and Thales Alenia Space France are partnering on new-generation Spacebus satellite platforms with "all electric" propulsion. Thales Alenia Space France will offer the Snecma PPS 5000 plasma thruster as standard equipment on its new Spacebus platforms, while Snecma will integrate Thales Alenia Space's requirements in its thruster qualification program.

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VERNON, France, 27 May 2014. Snecma (Safran) and Thales Alenia Space France are partnering on new-generation Spacebus satellite platforms with "all electric" propulsion. Thales Alenia Space France will offer the Snecma PPS 5000 plasma thruster as standard equipment on its new Spacebus platforms, while Snecma will integrate Thales Alenia Space's requirements in its thruster qualification program.

"Snecma is delighted with the selection of our PPS 5000 thruster as the standard solution for all-electric propulsion on this prestigious platform. This selection confirms our strategy, while reflecting the ongoing support of French space agency CNES for electric propulsion, one of Snecma's centers of excellence," says David Quancard, head of the Space Engines division at Snecma.

"This agreement consolidates our long-standing collaboration with Snecma. Their thrusters are already standard items on Spacebus and Alphabus platforms,” explains Bertrand Maureau, vice president, Telecommunications at Thales Alenia Space. “This latest product, now under development with the support of CNES and the French investment board CGI, allows Thales Alenia Space to expand our portfolio to include large platforms with all-electric propulsion, already being offered in the market."

Snecma has been developing electric thrusters for satellites for more than 30 years. It now offers a range of Hall effect plasma thrusters and associated propulsion systems, at power ratings from 500 W to 20 kW. Electric propulsion technology reduces the weight of a geostationary satellite by some 40 percent when used in an all-electric configuration.

Snecma's PPS 1350 plasma thrusters (power rating of 1.5 to 2.5 kW), already in service on the Alphabus platform, provide orbital positioning and stationkeeping for satellites. Thales Alenia Space had already chosen the PPS 1350 thruster for its current line of Spacebus platforms.

Snecma's higher-power PPS 5000 (5 kW), now under development, is designed to meet the needs of all next-generation satellites using all-electric propulsion.

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