About Horizon Europe project
CHEOPS VHP BB
The project has received a co-funding from the European Union under the grant agreement 101082532.
The objective of the project
The main objective of this project is to design, develop and test overall system architecture against these various mission use cases. The project CHEOPS VHP BB complements ongoing thruster-focused development activities with research and development on the future use of very high-power Hall thruster systems. The project will use a robust and cost-effective approach to qualification, manufacturability of critical components subject to wear, typically the discharge chamber and cathode and the ability to envisage alternative propellants and power sources.
Contribution of the project towards
Wider impacts of the work programme
CHEOPS-VHP-BB will contribute to the various expected outcomes. In particular, it will help to strengthen, in the medium term, the European capacity to compete worldwide in electric propulsion satellites and missions.
Need for this project
The global space community is becoming increasingly interested in planetary explorations to the Moon and Mars, in near Earth orbit asteroid avoidance, in mining and in-orbit servicing missions. In-orbit servicing mission scenarios span a broad range of applications to improve the quality of service in space and include existing satellite life-extension operations, salvage, relocation, de-orbiting, robotics, space situational awareness and logistics. Thus, cost-effective and reliable solutions are needed.
The European Space industry must catch up
In the race to the Moon and Mars, as well as other lucrative commercial missions within earth’s orbit beyond 2030, the European Space industry must catch up with the US. Studies within Europe have already been initiated for the incremental development of 20-kW class Hall thrusters, such as the FP7 HiPER project, which produced the PPS®20k ML thruster up to TRL4, FP7 CHEOPS project, which permitted SITAEL to develop their 20kW HET, ESA projects allowing UNIPI to develop their nested multi-channel TANDEM thruster or the ongoing H2020 ASPIRE project led by SITAEL.
Research must be
Given the challenges and the opportunities that VHP present, research such as the CHEOPS-VHP-BB consortium proposes must be anticipated now ahead of its effective deployment in 2030-40. Project activities will complement ongoing thruster-focused development activities with research and development on crucial building blocks essential for the future use of VHP Hall thruster systems: overall system architecture against various mission use cases, robust and cost-effective approach to qualification using Probabilistic Failure Analysis, manufacturability of critical components subject to wear, notably the discharge chamber and cathode and the ability to envisage alternative propellants and power sources for future missions.