C4.4 Lab to Launch

Session: 4 – Electric Propulsion
Room: 143B
Time: 09:45

Thousands of small satellites (such as CubeSats) are expected to be launched over the next decade. Electric propulsion has been an innovative solution in a number of space missions but its scalability remains a challenge. Many mature or under development space propulsion systems could also benefit from more compact and efficient power supplies. Pocket Rocket is an inexpensive Australian-born miniaturised electrothermal radio frequency plasma thruster which uses environmentally friendly propellant such as argon. The Australian Space Agency was recently launched: a complete end-to-end small satellite industry — “Lab to Launch” — is now available wholly within the Trans Australasian Pacific region, thanks to the recent demonstration of Rocket Lab‘s access to orbit and successful commercial launches with the Electron Rocket. Groups at the Australian National University, Stanford University and the University of Auckland have joined forces to pave a path to space heritage for Pocket Rocket via the CubeSat platform.

Christine CHARLES

Professor of the Space Plasma, Power and Propulsion Laboratory, The Australian National University

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