Snecma electric thrusters chosen by Space Systems/Loral, world leader in telecom satellites

  • Vernon, France – July 2nd, 2015.

Space Systems/Loral (SSL) awarded a production order for the PPS®1350 Hall Effect Thruster family from Snecma (Safran). This selection makes Snecma a plasma Hall Effect Thruster supplier to the world leader in telecom satellites, and is also Snecma's first export contract for this product.

Snecma's contract with SSL comprises a firm order for several thruster Flight Sets between 2016 and 2018, as well as options on additional deliveries. It covers different models of the PPS®1350, including the PPS®1350-E, which has increased discharge power up to 2.5 kW, enabling it to handle partial orbital raising, along with stationkeeping. The PPS®1350-E is the only Hall Effect Thruster of its type now on the global market.

"We are delighted with SSL's selection of our PPS®1350 Hall Effect Thruster for their platforms," said Jacques Pasquier, head of Snecma's Space Engines division. "It clearly confirms the advantages of Hall Effect electric propulsion, and it's also a great source of satisfaction for us to see the quality and the performance of our thrusters recognized by the world leader in telecom satellites".
Snecma's PPS®1350 family of Hall Effect Thrusters is capable of handling two key functions on satellites: partial orbit raising of a geostationary satellite into its definitive orbit; then stationkeeping throughout its lifetime. Hall Effect propulsion provides a significant decrease of satellite launch mass compared with conventional chemical propulsion.

The PPS®1350-G Hall Effect Thruster, rated at 1.5 kW, propelled the European Space Agency's Smart-1 lunar probe from Earth to Moon orbit between 2003 and 2006. Four of these thrusters provide North-South stationkeeping on the Alphasat satellite, launched in July 2013. The new PPS®1350-E model, an upgraded version of the PPS®1350-G rated at 2.5 kW of electrical power, completed a series of endurance tests in July 2014, totaling some 6,700 hours, for total impulse* of 3.4MN.s, a world record in this class. The test program was conducted in a vacuum test chamber at Snecma's plant in Vernon, west of Paris.

Looking beyond the PPS®1350 family, rated at 1.5 to 2.5 kW of power, the 5-kW PPS®5000 now under development will meet the requirements of all platforms for upcoming "all-electric" satellites.

Snecma has developed satellite electric thrusters for over 30 years, with the steady support of French space agency CNES. Today, the company offers a range of Hall Effect thrusters and propulsion systems for power requirements ranging from 300 W to 20 kW. Hall Effect propulsion technology reduces the launch mass of an all-electric geostationary satellite by 40% (versus chemical propulsion), or increases the payload weight by 30%. It also moves satellites into their final orbits faster than a Gridded ion propulsion system. For a given electrical power and satellite launch mass, for instance, Hall Effect propulsion reduces orbital transfer time by about three months compared with an ion propulsion system.

* Total impulse is the integral of the thrust versus time over total operating time, expressed as Ns or lbf-s.


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