T4i has launched REGULUS, the first Italian thruster based on Iodine

Mar 22, 2021

This morning at 9:07 Moscow Time the CAS500-1 mission began with the launch of the Soyuz-2 rocket from Baikonur cosmodrome. The mission has been postponed several times due to the ongoing pandemic situation worldwide and to technical issues occurred to the rocket, but eventually it got the green light from the Russian authorities.

On board the Russian spacecraft there were small satellite platforms and experiments from 18 countries around the world, including Italy. The Italian delegation was very large with payloads, satellites and a cubesat dispenser, UNISAT-7, developed by GAUSS, a Rome-base company with a long tradition in space missions.

This flight also represents the baptism of space for T4i, an Italian SME born in 2014 as a Spin-Off of the propulsion group of the University of Padua, which equips UNISAT-7 with the first Italian plasma thruster, REGULUS, created specifically to give mobility to very small satellite platforms.

It is one of the first propulsion system in the world that uses solid iodine as a propellant, a green solution that allows to reduce costs and dimensions. REGULUS was created to change the operational paradigm of small satellite platforms by giving them the mobility that was until now the prerogative of only the bigger platforms.

Thanks to this propulsion system, small satellites will finally be able to exploit all their enormous potential, opening the door to applications that were previously unimaginable. REGULUS was born from more than 15 years of research and developments initially conducted at the CISAS G. Colombo University Center for Space Studies and Activities of the University of Padua and then, since 2014, internally at T4i through innovation programs funded by the European Commission, national programs funded by the MISE and MIUR, private investments and through the collaboration with national excellences such as Thales Alenia Space.

For T4i this is an important accomplishment, because it is the first In-Orbit-Validation of a series of products under development. T4i’s technology portfolio is one of the widest in the global start-up sector, including propulsion technologies ranging from electric to chemical and cold gas, designed to meet the needs of the platforms of the future, allowing them to dance in space.

Watch the video of the launch: