Apollo Fusion, Inc. awarded NASA JPL license and manufacturing contract
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., - Apollo Fusion, Inc. announced it has been awarded a worldwide commercial license to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) MaSMi (Magnetically Shielded Miniature) Hall thruster, the world's first low-power (=1.0 kW) magnetically shielded Hall thruster. MaSMi has demonstrated class-leading performance with a peak total efficiency of 54%, a peak total specific impulse of 1940s, and an estimated throughput capability of >150 kg Xe.
MaSMi is a key component of JPL's ASTRAEUS (Ascendant Sub-kW Transcelestial Electric Propulsion System), a low-power electric propulsion (EP) system optimized for use on smallsats. In support of ASTRAEUS, Apollo was awarded a contract to manufacture three engineering model MaSMi-EM thrusters for JPL this summer.
Apollo is also designing a commercial version of this thruster called AXE (Apollo Xenon Engine) following an internal design-for-manufacturing process. The design-for-manufacturing improvements will enable AXE to be rapidly mass-manufactured for large constellation customers.
In addition to the NASA JPL thruster that Apollo has licensed, the smaller Apollo Constellation Engine (ACE) provides performance at only 400 watts: 24 mN of thrust, 200,000 kN-s of total impulse, 4.5 kg of dry mass. This is about three times the total impulse per unit mass of any competitive propulsion system and about three times the total impulse per unit volume of any competitive propulsion system on the market today (for 50kg-500kg smallsats).
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