Take control of small satellite orbits
We make the new space revolution economically and environmentally sustainable
Emerging from the Ecole Polytechnique and the CNRS
After 10 years of applied research and 2M€ already invested, we provide a breakthrough and game-changing propulsion solution the small satellite market is longing to embrace
Small satellites is the future
ThrustMe is a sub-system provider and service company developing and commercializing a patented space propulsion system for the next generation satellites
ThrustMe gives small satellites increased possibilities in space
We allow our customers, who are typically satellite integrators and actors in the small satellite market, to take full control of the orbit of small satellites enabling them to undertake amazing missions.
ThrustMe develops and commercialises breakthrough propulsion systems and added services. ThrustMe’s electric propulsion solution can provide the necessary thrust and high specific impulse to do high delta-V missions using only 5% of the satellite mass and volume, while still being able to carry out orbit transfers in just a few weeks. This is made possible by our patented technology allowing for extreme miniaturisation of the thruster with our smallest engine being 40% of the size of competitive ion thruster technologies yet having similar or even better performances. We provide a complete thruster module that fits into a one unit Cubesat, and we provide larger tailored engines for more advanced small satellites.
Ion thrusters are promising for SmallSats
BUT there are technological hurdles in miniaturization due to their need for a separate neutralizer and gaseous propellant – We solved this problem using clever, innovative solutions
CLASSICAL ION THRUSTERS
In an ion thruster, ions from a gas discharge (a plasma) are accelerated via static electric fields using a set of biased grids. This ion beam generates thrust and its high velocity ensures a high Isp and therefore low propellant consumption. To avoid beam stalling and charging of the spacecraft, the positive ion beam needs to be neutralized by electrons in the downstream space. This is achieved with a separate neutralizer. Power, typically obtained from solar panels, is fed to the various parts of the system via a power processing unit (PPU). The propellant, typically xenon, is fed into the gas discharge chamber and the neutralizer.
The classical ion thruster is illustrated in the video below. Courtesy of NASA Glenn Research Center.
OUR INNOVATIVE SOLUTION
Our solution is a novel ion thruster operating with solid propellant that combines technologies from the space and semiconductor industries. The acceleration grids are biased with radiofrequency (RF) voltages across a capacitor. Due to the different mass of ions and electrons the plasma acts as a diode and the capacitor charges up (self-biases). The resulting DC voltage accelerates ions continuously while electrons exit during a short period within the RF cycle. This leads to significant simplification and advantages over classical ion thrusters, while still keeping similar or even better performance. The use of a solid propellant with a high vapor pressure (such as iodine) removes the need for high pressure storage and complex valves for flow control.
Our patented solution solves a number of key problems
Control of the space charge
The Power Processing Unit
Come and talk with us at forums and conferences
We are in the news and in published scientific journals
When startups disrupt the space industry: Interview with Ane Aanesland, co-founder and CEO of ThrustMe, Open-Your-Innovation, July 2016
Propulseur ionique pour cubesat et microsatellites (in french), Aerospatium, July 2016
The Race to Build Teeny Tiny Satellite Thrusters, Motherboard, January 2016
Steering Small-Scale Satellites, APS News, December 2015
Brief review on plasma propulsion with neutralizer-free systems (Topical Review), D. Rafalskyi and A. Aanesland, Plasma Sources Sci. & Technol. 25 043001 (2016)
Plasma acceleration using a radio frequency self-bias effect, D. Rafalskyi and A. Aanesland, Phys. Plasmas 22, 063502 (2015)
Coincident ion acceleration and electron extraction for space propulsion using the self−bias formed on a set of RF biased grids bounding a plasma source, D. Rafalskyi and A. Aanesland, J. Phys. D : Appl. Phys. 47, 495203 (2014)
We are extremely thankful for the support we have received over the years
Over 10 years of development with over 2M€ already invested
Ecole Polytechnique research centre is developing several space related technologies : scientific tools for earth and planets observation, related data treatment and modelling, and last but not least electrical propulsion for satellites and spacecrafts. ThrustMe scientific and technical background comes from the Plasma Physics Laboratory, a Joined Research Unit of Ecole polytechnique, CNRS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Université Paris Sud and Observatoire de Paris Meudon. Studies on electrical propulsion started almost ten years ago and have been strongly supported by permanent and non-permanent staff recruitment, public subsidies and contract funds. As a part of its commitment towards technology transfer, the TTO of Ecole Polytechnique has deposited five patent families in the last ten years, two of them being licensed to ThrustMe. TTO has also been involved all along the development phase to get required funds and set-up partnerships for TRL improvement. Ecole Polytechnique and its Plasma Physics Laboratory will continue to strongly support the company through multi-year research collaboration. We are already proud of achievements and we wish the best to the Thrustme founders!
The Université Paris-Saclay harbours the best scientific laboratories and institutions from the southern Paris region. We, at the innovation and industrial liaisons department of the Université Paris-Saclay, are committed to facilitate the transition from bench to market. As such, we provide technical and financial supports to researchers who wish to bring their technology to customers. Ane Aanesland has shown that ThrustMe is ready to make its first steps in the start-up community, and we are proud to have been able to help in the first moments of its creation. It is fascinating to see cutting-edge small satellite thrust technology come to life and how incredible projects, such as ThrustMe, make the Université Paris-Saclay so unique.
SATT Paris-Saclay is an early stage investor with the mission of assisting with developing and transferring technologies from the Laboratories within the University Paris-Saclay to the business world. ThrustMe, coming out from one of the Ecole Polytechnique research labs, has developed an outstanding game-changing technology for space propulsion that convinced us to support the project. Within a couple of months, ThrustMe will be ready to steer small satellites in space and satisfy their first customers. We are proud to be part of the beginning of such a great adventure, led by Ane Aanesland their amazing CEO.
PLAS@PAR is a cluster of excellence within the field of Plasma Physics comprised of a community of over 150 physicists in and around Paris. Part of our mission is to provide support to dynamic researchers developing innovative projects that have a potential value for society. To help build the technology behind ThrustMe, Plas@Par has participated along the way since 2012. Through the funding of Ph.D. students, postdoctoral fellows, invited experts, experimental instrumentation and small projects, we have been pleased to assist the ThrustMe team to create and build a new generation of space thrusters. We wish ThrustMe a well-deserved success in their endeavor!
YES we are hiring
Do you want to participate in the development of the next generation plasma thrusters and see the applications of small satellites really take off? We are not only looking for the best trained employees, but for the most passionate, because space and aeronautics are about passion and vocation. Good people can do good things, but only passionate people can achieve excellence. You know what to do next, contact us!