Research and development

The MEPS System - Micro-Satellite Electric Propulsion System

Release date: 
17.12.2014
The MEPS System is a joint collaboration with the European Space Agency that will make electric propulsion in space smarter and more economical.
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  • A built-in model of the Microsatellite Electric Propulsion System - MEPS - inside the microsatellite’s propulsion box
Collaborators: 
Alta Company, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
Electric propulsion is the ultimate green technology for propulsion in space, since it makes use of Xenon, a noble, nontoxic and nonpolluting gas.  Today’s classic electric propulsion systems operate engines that consume hundreds to thousands of watts of electricity.  The Micro Electric Propulsion System (MEPS) is a unique propulsion system jointly supported by the Israel Space Agency and the European Space Agency (ESA) that will be installed on microsatellites and is designed to use very low power -between 100-300 watts.  The new system will weigh only 15 kilograms and will be very fuel-efficient.  The low weight of the MEPS will enable the satellites to carry larger payloads than were possible in the past, and will offer them a longer lifespan in missions orbiting the Earth.
 
The project was launched in 2013, and is scheduled to be completed in 2016.  It is being conducted by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and the Italian ALTA Ltd., in cooperation with two additional companies from Italy and Greece and is being supervised and supported by the Israel and European Space Agencies. 
 
In recent years, the field of microsatellites has become very popular and the world’s space agencies are predicting that this trend will continue in the future.  Advanced technologies are used in these satellites, allowing for the miniaturization of components without compromising on the level of performance.  Microsatellites are currently used primarily for photography and other scientific missions, which were traditionally conducted by mid-sized or large satellites.
 

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