NanoAvionics, a multinational nanosatellite bus manufacturer and mission integrator, has signed a contract with US-company Accion Systems to host their propulsion system, TILE 3, on-board its new rideshare mission for a demonstration flight in 2021. Accion Systems procured this flight as the culmination of an ongoing US government sponsored propulsion program. The nanosatellite for the rideshare mission is based on NanoAvionics flight-proven M6P bus and will include several customer payloads that can fit the 4U payload volume. The rideshare mission is the fourth in a series of NanoAvionics rideshare missions and will be arranged by NanoAvionics US. The expected launch will be during the last half of 2021.
As part of the rideshare mission, NanoAvionics will take care of all aspects related to the satellite mission from payload integration, performance testing and spacecraft registration to launch and logistics, frequencies allocation, spacecraft commissioning and payload on-orbit operations. Previous rideshare missions included payloads by Lacuna Space, Blink-Astro (SpaceWorks Orbital subsidiary) and others.
“Accion Systems’ TILE 3 is a revolutionary propulsion technology and NanoAvionics is looking forward to putting it through its paces in orbit,” said F. Brent Abbott, CEO of NanoAvionics US, “When flight proven, the TILE 3 system will make a great additional propulsion option to the NanoAvionics line of satellite buses”.
“Rideshare missions drastically reduce mission cost, making them ideal for technology validation in space. Accion’s TILE 3 will be flying on our flagship M6P satellite bus, which NanoAvionics offers to the market along with a full range of nanosatellite buses up to 16U in size.”
The TILE propulsion system is uniquely superior to conventional electric propulsion, pioneering ionic liquid electrospray for commercial propulsion activities. TILE combines the use of a safe, inert liquid propellant with a simple mechanical design with few moving parts to create a propulsion system that is low-cost, compact, low pressure, and has less than 50% of the power draw of other propulsion technologies. The compact design and low power draw of the TILE system allows satellite bus manufacturers to allocate more satellite volume and power to revenue-generating payloads.
Due to the simple system design, TILE propulsion systems have shorter lead times and are very cost competitive – ideal for smaller constellations through mass manufacturing. TILE’s modular design can be flexibly configured to meet various mission needs, mounting on almost any surface of the spacecraft, and easily and seamlessly integrated with existing mission control software.
“NanoAvionics is the perfect partner for the TILE 3 launch as a space-proven product,” said Peter Kant, CEO of Accion Systems. “We selected a demonstration partner that would fully represent the commercial potential of TILE 3. While this initial flight will provide propulsion to the 6U M6P, TILE 3 is designed to offer full propulsion capabilities to a wide variety of small satellites and we are excited to provide that capability to NanoAvionics’ line of satellite bus products.”
NanoAvionics is a nanosatellite bus manufacturer and mission integrator currently based in four locations – Columbia (US), Midland (US), Vilnius (Lithuania), and Oxfordshire (UK). Its flagship multi-purpose M6P and M12P are the first preconfigured nanosatellite buses in the sector, designed to serve emerging commercial space markets. The company’s efforts are focused on enabling critical satellite functions and optimising their launch, hardware and operation costs – ranging from single missions to constellations. Its core engineering team has implemented over 75 successful satellite missions and commercial projects during the past several years.
About Accion Systems:
Accion Systems was founded to accelerate the exploration of space. To fulfill this mission, our experienced team develops in-space propulsion technologies that optimize scalability, performance, and efficiency. Accion’s flagship product, TILE, uses proprietary electrospray thrusters, bringing electric propulsion to satellites of all sizes and redefining in-space capabilities for the 21st century. Accion Systems was founded in 2014 by two MIT engineers, Dr. Natalya Bailey and Louis Perna, and is based in Boston, MA.