About the project

Electric propulsion has been identified by European actors as a strategic technology for improving the European competitiveness in different space areas such as in-space operations and transportation. The European Commission has set up the “In-space Electrical Propulsion and Station-Keeping” Strategic Research Cluster (SRC) in Horizon 2020 with the goal of enabling major advances in Electric Propulsion for in-space operations and transportation, in order to guarantee the leadership of European capabilities in electric propulsion at world level within the 2020-2030 timeframe. To achieve so, CHEOPS is developing three different Hall Effect electric propulsion systems (EPS): 1) a low power EPS for Low Earth Orbit (LEO); 2) a dual mode EPS for Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO); 3) a high thrust EPS for Space Exploration & Transportation.


Hall Effect Thruster (HET) uses electrical energy to change the velocity of a spacecraft. It uses much less propellant than chemical rockets because they have a higher exhaust speed than chemical rockets. Due to limited electric power the thrust is much weaker compared to chemical rockets, but HET can provide a small thrust for a long time. HET can achieve high speeds over long periods and thus can work better than chemical rockets for some deep space missions.

Thruster components

An EP thruster is composed by: 1) a Cathode; 2) an Anode; 3) a Discharge Channel; 4) Coils.



Electron Emission & Ionization


Ejection & Neutralization



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