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Xplore Partners with Accion Systems to Test Next Generation TILE Thrusters Aboard LEO Xcraft (XLEO)

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
August 11, 2021
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Xplore’s XLEO commercial spacecraft will provide affordable, multi-year hosting services to test Accion’s ultra-efficient ionic liquid electrospray propulsion system in LEO

REDMOND, Wash. and BOSTON, Mass., August 10, 2021 (Xplore PR) — Xplore Inc., a commercial space company providing Space as a Service®, today announced a cooperative Memorandum of Understanding with Accion Systems to provide spacecraft hosting services for the next generation of Accion’s flagship ion thruster, TILE. The partnership will validate the resiliency of TILE’s fault tolerant design, and prove its performance as the most efficient electric propulsion system in space. A successful mission will demonstrate Accion’s growing family of TILE thrusters can extend the value of any size spacecraft, while ensuring they can deorbit sustainably.

Accion will be one of several premier customers that fly on Xplore’s high-performance operational LEO Xcraft (XLEO). Lisa Rich, founder and COO of Xplore said, “By flying with Xplore, Accion will obtain valuable flight experience to accelerate the development of their next generation TILE thrusters, putting them through their paces over the multi-year lifetime of our mission. In addition to providing Accion with critical data from the in-space tests, this cooperation also gives Xplore the opportunity to evaluate the use of the thruster for our future customers and missions.”

Peter Kant, CEO of Accion Systems said, “We are delighted to work with Xplore’s qualified team to integrate our TILE thrusters and demonstrate their full capabilities. As we gain additional valuable flight heritage, we also get to demonstrate our thrusters’ potential to extend the value of future Xcraft missions. The length of the XLEO mission and the ability to observe TILE’s performance over several years make this mission even more attractive because the thrusters will fully be exercised through a typical multi-year smallsat mission.”

The next generation TILE system flying on XLEO will be the lowest size, weight and power (SWaP) electric propulsion system of its class, leaving more room for mission-critical payloads. Made in Boston, MA, Accion’s proprietary TILE electrospray thrusters are optimized for scalability, performance and efficiency, bringing electric propulsion to satellites of all sizes and redefining in-space capabilities for the 21st century. As thousands of new satellites and constellations join earth’s orbit each year, TILE can extend the value and lifetime of each mission while enabling spacecraft to deorbit sustainably.

XLEO utilizes Xplore’s standard Xcraft high-performance ESPA-class spacecraft and provides hosting services for a wide variety of customers and payloads. In addition to Accion thrusters, the same XLEO mission will carry commercial Earth observation instruments for operational applications. XLEO will also provide highly cost-competitive hosting services for customer payloads requiring full mission duration flight experience for space qualification purposes. Rich added, “Our XLEO reduces the life-cycle cost of placing and operating a payload in orbit by as much 30-50% compared with a dedicated cubesat-class mission. Customers provide the payload, and we do everything else. XLEO is open for business.”

About Xplore

Xplore is a commercial space company offering Space as a Service®. Xplore provides hosted payloads, communication relay services and exclusive datasets to its customers via the Xcraft® and LightCraft™, the company’s multi-mission spacecraft. Xplore’s mission is to expand robotic exploration via commercial missions at and beyond Earth, to the Moon, Mars, Venus, Lagrange points and near-Earth asteroids for commercial companies, national space agencies, national security agencies, sovereign space agencies and nonprofit entities. Xplore recently established its headquarters at a 22,000 sq ft state-of-the-art campus in Redmond, WA, a key step in the company’s mission to expand mass manufacturing of the XCraft® the company’s highly-capable, ESPA-class satellite, and the LightCraft™, Xplore’s highly-maneuverable spacecraft for deep space missions.


About Accion

Accion Systems develops advanced satellite propulsion systems for the space industry. Accion’s in-space propulsion technologies optimize scalability, performance, and efficiency. Accion’s flagship product, TILE, uses proprietary ion electrospray thrusters, bringing electric propulsion to satellites of all sizes and redefining in-space capabilities. Accion Systems was founded in 2014 and is based in Boston, Massachusetts.


One response to “Xplore Partners with Accion Systems to Test Next Generation TILE Thrusters Aboard LEO Xcraft (XLEO)”

  1. JF says:

    Curious what the interest in Accion’s technology is?

    TILE 2 does 21 Ns of impulse in a 0.5U form factor.
    Their flagship TILE 3 does 755 Ns of impulse in 1U form factor. That is an oder of magnitude worse than Expulsion and even most chemical systems beat this.

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