ELECTROSPRAY THRUSTERSElectrospray thrusters are characterized by precise thrust control (on the order of nano-Newtons) and extremely efficient operation (over 80%). LISA PATHFINDER - SPACE TECHNOLOGY 7Since 1998, Busek has been a recognized leader in the field of electrospray physics, which led to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s award to Busek to develop the firstelectrospray thruster system. This system included custom power management, digital control interface and propellant storage and management systems. The extreme precision (equivalent to the weight of a mosquito antenna) required the development of new miniature valves capable of withstanding the performance requirements, in addition to a propellant-less carbon nanotube cathode. Since delivering the flight hardware to JPL in 2008, Busek has been continuing its effort to result in a new class of miniature, high performance electrospray propulsion.
The module consumes 1 U (including electronics) and 15 W power to deliver a thrust range up to 1.0mN, at specific impulses ranging from 400 s to over 1300 s. The in-situ optimization of performance provides significant mission flexibility and versatility. The Electrospray Thruster System features a precision microvalve leveraged from ST7 design heritage and rugged flight electronics. 100µN ELECTROSPRAY THRUSTER SYSTEMBusek's 100µN-Class Electrospray Propulsion System is a 9 cm x 9 cm x3.2 cm module and consumes 5.5 W to deliver 0.1 mN at a specific impulse of 2,300 seconds. Lower specific impulse configurations are available for extremely power limited applications (<3.5 W). A single module can deliver 74 m/s to a 4kg CubeSat.