U.S. Air Force Partnership Will Rapidly Advance Lifetime, Efficiency, Diagnostics and Propellant Management of Ionic Liquid Electrospray Thrusters.
BOSTON, Mass. – June 1, 2020 – Accion Systems announced today a signed Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the United States Air Force Research Laboratory. This partnership will continue to develop electrospray thrusters and further Accion’s TILE in-space propulsion system to reach a maturity level for deployment on DoD spacecraft.
The CRADA, which was finalized in May 2020, focuses on research and development collaboration efforts that will mature the technology for electrospray technology. The goal is to create high-efficiency systems capable of delivering significant total impulse for future small satellites.
AFRL and Accion will collaborate on testing and developing electrospray thruster technology and the involved engineering capabilities to accelerate the development of optimized designs. Initial efforts are focused on scaling-up, diagnostics development and various ionic liquid propellant testing to meet Air Force mission needs. In this collaboration, Accion Systems and AFRL will be able to rapidly mature rapid electrospray thruster technology.
“I am excited to strengthen our partnership with AFRL through this CRADA,” says Dr. Natalya Bailey, CEO of Accion Systems. “Collaboration in testing and validation of the TILE system with the expertise and resources at AFRL will speed up remaining TILE development to full heritage levels.”
“We are excited to partner with Accion Systems to mature electrospray thruster technology. This technology is a vital component of future Air Force and DoD space architectures that involve use of SmallSats. This collaboration will help shorten the technology development cycle allowing for rapid technology insertion to support the Warfighter.”– Dr. Daniel Eckhardt, Lead, Electrospray Thruster Portfolio, Rocket Propulsion Division, Aerospace Systems Directorate, AFRL.
AFRL has developed an in-house program to rapidly advance electrospray thrusters for space propulsion, leveraging the relatively low cost of in-house manufacturing, testing, and rapid modular prototyping. Separately, Accion Systems has created a leading electrospray thruster competency and has provided integrated electrospray propulsion units to both government and commercial customers. AFRL and Accion Systems will perform joint testing and information exchange with the objective of maturing improvements to lifetime and performance efficiency. The overall goal of this CRADA is to provide a collaborative, multifaceted approach that leverages the Air Force activity’s in-house development and test capabilities with Accion Systems’ unique design and manufacturing to accelerate identification and solution of electrospray science and engineering challenges.
About Accion Systems Inc.
Accion Systems develops advanced satellite propulsion systems for the space industry. Accion’s in-space propulsion technologies optimize scalability, performance, and efficiency. Accion’s flagship product, TILE, uses proprietary ion electrospray thrusters, bringing electric propulsion to satellites of all sizes and redefining in-space capabilities. Accion Systems was founded in 2014 by Natalya Bailey and Louis Perna and is based in Boston, MA. For more information, please visit www.accion-systems.com or follow the company @AccionSystems.
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is the primary Rocket Propulsion scientific research and development center for the United States Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies portfolio of science and technology ranging from for our air, space, and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,000 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit: www.afresearchlab.com.