Exotrail, a French startup declared its Hall-effect thruster with a NanoAvionics R2 cubesat in orbit to change its axis by 700 metres.
Team of students at MiTEE project are not the only ones who are working propulsion technique. In November Exotrail successfully carried out the test of electric propulsion in orbit with their miniature hall-effect thruster. Hall effect thrusters have been working approximately for a while but there have been some limitations in its functionality because of their sizes like refrigerators and consuming kilowatts of power which will inappropriate for small satellites.
And that’s where the new system of Exotrail’s comes into the picture. Compared to previous hall effect thrusters their size will be of 2 litre of soda bottle and consumes only about 50 watts of power which makes it perfect for the satellites ranging from 10 to 250 kg. The exhibitory system was launched on 7th November with PSLV rocket completing its first movement in December with the help of hall effect thruster. With its successful tests completion, the team is further planning to tests the thrusters to avoid collision, its orbital maintenance and deorbiting.
For any technology to perform its operation it won’t be possible without the software and the hall effect thruster of Exotrail has ExoOPS software to operate the thruster, which has the added functionalities of controlling the constellations of satellites. This mission is similar to the synchronized drone flights used for modern day lighting shows.
The system is designed with improved small power and new software platform that could be used with many new Cubesat satellites. Many agencies have shown their interest in it. If everything goes well and the tests will become successful, then this propellant operated by electric will encounters thousands of small satellites with strong possibility.