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Snecma Delivers Electric Thrusters for First Small Geo

Europe's Small Geo satellite. Credit: ESA photo by R. Gruenagel

PARIS — Safran Group’s Snecma rocket- and aircraft-motor division has completed delivery of the electric propulsion subsystem to fly on the inaugural model of Europe’s Small Geo satellite, Snecma announced Dec. 6.

Paris-based Snecma has delivered the complete electric propulsion thruster assembly to OHB AG of Bremen, Germany, the prime contractor for the Small Geo platform, whose development has been funded by the 20-nation European Space Agency.

The first Small Geo satellite, called Hispasat AG1, will be owned and operated by Hispasat of Spain, with a launch scheduled in late 2014.

Hispasat AG1 will carry two independent thruster packs, each carrying four Snecma-built SPT 100 plasma-electric thrusters for satellite station-keeping and other in-orbit maneuvers. The satellite will use conventional propulsion to climb from transfer orbit to its final position in geostationary orbit.

Other versions of Snecma’s plasma-electric satellite thrusters, which are based on a design from Fakel of Russia, will fly on platforms including seven Eurostar 3000 satellites built by Astrium Satellites, and the large Alphasat satellite.

Alphasat, whose development was financed in part by the European Space Agency, will be operated by mobile satellite services provider Inmarsat of London. It is scheduled for launch in 2013.

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