The environmentally benign propulsion system HPGP, which makes it first spaceflight ever on the Swedish Prisma satellites, has been testfired for the first time in space. The rocket engines, developed by the Swedish company ECAPS, are expected to be very prosperous after their flight qualification onboard Prisma.
On the Prisma satellites, ECAPS will verify the performance of its HPGP system (High Performance Green Propulsion). After this verification, this innovative system has every chance to gain significant shares of the international market.
"The value of this market is hundreds of thousands of dollars", says Mathias Persson, CEO of ECAPS, a subsidiary of the Swedish Space Corporation. "ECAPS is the leading company in the field of environmentally benign storable liquid monopropellants. Since we started our development in 1997, we have presented our technology in many contexts and the interest for it is great. Up to now, the only thing missing has been the in-space verification. After these successful first tests, we feel confident that the continued comprehensive tests planned this autumn will come off just as well."
For more information, please contact
Mathias Persson, CEO, ECAPS, tel +46 8 627 63 90, +46 70 654 90 80
Anna Rathsman, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Swedish Space Corporation, +46 8 627 62 62, +46 70 263 00 64
Staffan Persson, project manager for Prisma, Swedish Space Corporation, +46 8 627 62 68, +46 70 406 66 61
Prisma website, www.prismasatellites.se
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About ECAPS's propulsion system HPGP
The propulsion system HPGP, High Performance Green Propulsion, uses an ADN based, environmentally benign monopropellant which mainly combusts into water vapour. HPGP has 30% higher performance than the conventional rocket fuel hydrazine. In addition, compared to hydrazine, it has very low toxicity. It is safer and much easier to handle. For fuelling, only light protective clothes are required. When handling conventional fuels, the costs in time and safety are large.
The two rocket engines now demonstrated on Prisma are 1 N thrusters. More powerful engines, ranging from 5 to 220 N, are under development, intended for the same field of application on spacecraft and for launcher upper stages. The development is supported by ECAPS' owner, the Swedish Space Corporation, the Swedish National Space Board and the European Space Agency, ESA. Already before the flight qualification, ECAPS has received contracts for eight engines to American customers amounting to a total value of 450 000 USD.
The Prisma mission will demonstrate break-through technologies for autonomous formation flying and rendezvous, i.e. interaction between space vehicles. The project is financed by the Swedish National Space Board with support from the German and French space agencies. On Prisma, a number of novel systems for guidance, navigation and control are verified, as well as sensors and propulsion systems. The two satellites are clamped together until 3 August when they will be separated and the technology experiments commence.
The Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) is the prime contractor for Prisma and has developed the major part of the technology and experiments onboard, as well as the mission control software used for operations.