T4i won a contract from ESA for its EP REGULUS propulsion system evolution
It all begun in 2006 with the initial thruster development at the University of Padua. Passing through the years the first thruster version was miniaturized and then surrounded by all the other subsystems to get a complete propulsion unit. Today REGULUS is almost ready to be integrated in UNISAT-7 for its first launch in space in October.
This 2020 is in fact a big milestone for REGULUS but it does not represent the end of T4i EP systems developments. Rather this is the beginning. “Apart being the first EP system using iodine that is going to fly, thanks to its technology REGULUS represents a new era of doing propulsion”, says Elena Toson, T4i Business Development Manager. “To make a correlation, Ferrari cars stands for electric propulsion existing technologies just as Fiat 500 stands for REGULUS. And in the past Fiat 500 completely revolutionized the way people were moving”.
But T4i is already thinking about the future and what will be its next EP steps. In fact, T4i won a contract from the European Space Agency for the development of E-REGULUS, an even more versatile and economically affordable propulsion system.
Matteo Duzzi, Project Manager of E-REGULUS development, says “We are very proud to improve the capabilities of our system with this project, and to carry out this activity under a programme of, and funded by, the European Space Agency. I particularly like the thruster evolution to target a broader microsatellites power range and the interchangeability of the fluidic line. These will open up new and interesting perspectives, making the system effectively adaptable to different missions and different propellants. In this way it will be easier to match customers’ particular needs”.
E-REGULUS is specifically designed to serve platforms in the range between 50 and 200 kg, requiring thrust capability for station keeping, phasing, drag compensation and other maneuvers. The system is designed with a building block approach thus the system integrators can customize the subsystems configuration basing on their specific needs. Moreover, it is versatile in using different type of propellant as Ar, Kr, Xe, I2, water. In terms of performance over cost, E-REGULUS is the best of its class.
With a development roadmap of one year and a half, E-REGULUS has the ambition of entering the market of small satellites and become the EP system reference for mini platforms, for LEO and far beyond LEO missions.
The view expressed in such publications can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.