Artist’s concept of the Small GEO platform built by OHB AG, which could be used for a demonstration of a European all-electric satellite platform. Credit: OHB AG

Europe eyes commercial demo of electric propulsion

Posted: November 26, 2012

The European Space Agency will pursue a public-private partnership to develop and demonstrate all-electric propulsion on a commercial communications satellite, answering a call from operators seeking lower launch costs and longer satellite lifetimes.

The decision made by ESA member states on Nov. 21 also responds to Boeing’s announcement in March of a satellite platform with all-electric propulsion, a potential game-changer for satellite owners.

The member states agreed on a framework for a public-private partnership between ESA and industry on the Electra program, an initiative to develop a telecommunications satellite bus with fully electric propulsion.

“Electric propulsion will be a big step forward for the satellite business, by advancing miniaturization and reducing business risk,” ESA member states said in a communique issued after the decision.

Read more: Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Europe eyes commercial demo of electric propulsion.

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