Snecma delivers fourth PPS®1350 plasma thruster for Alphabus platform

Courcouronnes, September 27, 2010.

On September 6, Snecma delivered the last of a batch of four PPS® 1350 stationary plasma thrusters to Thales Alenia Space. These electric thrusters will be used on the first Alphabus platform within the scope of the Alphasat program jointly developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and French space agency CNES.

The main objective of the Alphasat program is to perform the first flight and in-orbit validation of the Alphabus platform, now being developed with the European space industry. The first satellite based on this platform will be ready for launch in 2012.

"We are particularly proud of our contribution to the development of the new Alphabus platform," said Martin Sion, Vice president of the Space Engines division at Snecma. "Our PPS® 1350 propulsion system will offer a considerable advantage in terms of weight savings and fuel consumption for ESA's Alphasat program."

The PPS® 1350 and satellite propulsion operations are developed and produced at Snecma's Vernon plant in Normandy, with financial support from the region. These thrusters provide North-South stationkeeping on the Alphabus platform.

The PPS® 1350 develops 8 grams of thrust and takes 1,500 watts of electrical power. Based on Hall effect plasma propulsion, this technology offers greater operational flexibility and considerable savings in weight and fuel consumption, compared with conventional chemical propulsion systems. More specifically, thanks to its extremely low fuel consumption, it can decrease spacecraft weight at launch by up to 25%.

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Snecma (Safran group) is one of the world's leading manufacturers of aircraft and space engines, with a wide range of propulsion systems on offer. The company designs and builds commercial aircraft engines – including the CFM56* world's leader - that are powerful, reliable, economical and environmentally friendly, along with military aircraft engines that have always delivered world-class performance. Snecma also develops and produces propulsion systems and equipment for launch vehicles and satellites. EngineLife™:, a new brand for Snecma's service business, offers a complete range of engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services to airlines, armed forces and operators.
*CFM56 engines are produced and marketed by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between GE and Snecma.

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