New Phase Four Thruster Performance Demonstrates Unprecedented Propulsion for Satellite Mega-Constellations
Results mark a new era of scalable, agile systems in aerospace
CINCINNATI, July 11, 2018
CINCINNATI, July 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum - Phase Four (P4), a provider of electric radio frequency (RF) thrusters for in-space propulsion, today announced new performance test results for its latest generation of electrodeless RF thrusters. This is the second test in several months revealing the best direct measurements publicly disclosed to date for RF thrusters, with a thrust output of up to 10 millinewtons (mN) and specific impulse up to 1500 seconds. Phase Four's Chief Scientist, Dr. Umair Siddiqui will present the complete performance findings in his "Updated Performance Measurements and Analysis of the Phase Four RF Thruster" presentation today at the AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The results of these tests demonstrate a new bar for what can be achieved with small in-space propulsion systems. The P4 RF thruster offers high levels of performance while eliminating many of the design and manufacturability issues - electrodes, high voltage electronics, and complex fabrication - which have plagued electric propulsion systems to date.
"This performance progress shows that electrodeless RF thrusters are ready to meet the needs of the mega-constellations," said Dr. M. Umair Siddiqui, Chief Scientist at Phase Four. "The thrust and efficiency levels produced by the Phase Four RFT represent the highest performance electrodeless thruster results ever demonstrated, by a significant margin – this is in part due to the rapid iteration we have been able to achieve with Phase Four's simple design."
Two of the company's plasma thrusters, a low power CubeSat-optimized unit and a higher power system designed for small satellites, were tested in-house for direct thrust, specific impulse, and thrust efficiency. The flexibility and simplicity of RF thrusters, coupled with Phase Four's agile approach to mass-production, make them a keystone component of an exponentially expanding in-space transit system. Results show that Phase Four's RF thrusters are the ideal propulsion solution for these full mission transportation needs providing final destination delivery, orbital maintenance and precise disposal of payloads after the initial launchers have taken them from sea level to Earth orbit.
"These most recent tests show that our thrusters continue to surpass performance expectations, providing agile, durable, and cost-effective mission solutions for satellites of all sizes. Our thrusters have gone through four generations of iterations since our April disclosure and within that time we have increased performance 4-fold and streamlined the design to a point where our systems are ready for mass manufacture here in our El Segundo facility," said Simon Halpern, Founder and CEO of Phase Four. "The future of the space industry is to put satellites of all sizes into the orbits of every planet, every day. Phase Four has just proven that our scalable systems can deliver flexible and affordable solutions to make that future a reality."
About Phase Four
Based in El Segundo, California, Phase Four is enabling the exponential growth of satellite constellations by solving the satellite's costliest problem, the propulsion system. The company's electrodeless RF thruster is the smallest plasma propulsion system available today, and can be scaled for use from CubeSat to SmallSat to school bus-sized satellites. By eliminating the most common failure points in incumbent technologies - electrodes, high-voltage electronics, and complex fabrication - Phase Four has built a system that is reliable and offers high-performance with baked-in manufacturability. Designed with tomorrow's satellites and constellations in mind, the P4 RF thruster brings SmallSats the same performance levels of large satellites, in a simpler form factor. Visit us at: www.phasefour.io
SOURCE Phase Four