SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (Bradford PR) — Astranis (www.astranis.com), the San Francisco-based company building the next generation of telecommunications satellites, announced today the selection of Bradford’s (www.bradford-space.com) high performance green ECAPS propulsion for the Astranis MicroGEO spacecraft. The selection slates the integration of eight ECAPS thrusters aboard each Astranis spacecraft, with an initial order for up to twelve spacecraft. The selection also included Electrical Propulsion (EP) feed systems and a set of 8 CoSine Sun Sensors, all produced by the Bradford Space group, involving both the Netherlands and Swedish locations.
This announcement marks the introduction of the ECAPS (www.ecaps.space) propulsion system to geostationary orbit activities, a domain typically dominated by very large telecommunications satellites needing long duration station-keeping capabilities. Traditionally, these satellites have used hydrazine-based thrusters, which are expensive to handle in the loading and pre-launch phase of a spacecraft’s preparation.
With ECAPS, Astranis will be able to fuel its satellites for launch quickly and at low cost at its own production facility, avoiding expensive handling facilities at the launch site. Further, given the higher performance of ECAPS, the satellites will be able to function longer than they otherwise would have using hydrazine.
Said John Gedmark, CEO and co-Founder of Astranis, “Astranis is delighted to partner with Bradford ECAPS on our GEO spacecraft. The ECAPS technology is mature and ready to be deployed on a large scale. Their team impressed us with their ability to move quickly and their ability to execute, and we are looking forward to working with them.”
Said Ian Fichtenbaum, Director of Bradford ECAPS, “The Astranis plan for small highly capable satellites is an impressive one and we are extremely pleased that ECAPS will be their propulsion system of choice. We are looking forward to working with Astranis to make their platform a highly capable one.”
“Bradford’s ECAPS High Performance Green Propulsion technology is an emerging choice by spacecraft manufacturers as an enhanced alternative to existing hydrazine-based solutions. The system provides a unique high-density storage, is high-performant and, due to the low-toxicity and low sensitivity of the propellant, easy to transport and handle. These unique assets provide manufacturers and operators potentially profound savings through the elimination of launch-site fueling and enhancing overall spacecraft payload mass. To date, a dozen orbiting spacecraft have used ECAPS propulsion systems, performing dozens of on-orbit maneuvers per month. Several additional ECAPS-equipped spacecraft, including imaging satellites and a U.S. government technology satellite, are slated for launch later this year,” said Patrick van Put, Managing Director of Bradford Engineering and Bradford ECAPS. Van Put also notes that the package agreement leverages the unique capabilities of the Dutch and Swedish satellite component builders respectively.