OUR TEAM

SAFRAN Aircraft Engines


A leading rocket engine manufacturer and plasma propulsion leader in Europe, Safran Aircraft Engines (formerly Snecma) design, develop, produce and sell, alone or in partnership, a wide range of thrusters and propulsion systems for nearly all satellite applications, from orbit raising, orbital positioning to deorbiting.
Safran Aircraft Engines is working on electric propulsion since the late 70’s on various technologies (including FEEP, arcjet) and since the early 90’s on the Hall Effect Thrusters, resulting in the qualification of the PPS®1350 (1500W) in 2006, thruster in operation on Alphasat since 2013.
To meet growing market demand – by 2022, 25% of satellites will be all-electric – Safran Aircraft Engines has developed a new 5kW thruster designed for new-generation satellites, already chosen by Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence & Space.
To maintain its technological leadership in electric propulsion technology and support commercial missions and scientific exploration, Safran Aircraft Engines continuously invest in R&D, from PPS®500 (500W) up to PPS®20k (20kW), and carry out a number of advanced design studies for the French and European space agencies.
Within the space electric propulsion Directorate, in Vernon plant-France, almost 70 skilled scientists, engineers and workers form an highly integrated team using the latest numerical and lean methodologies to conceptualize, design, manufacture, test and sell Hall Effect electric propulsion systems.

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Thales Alenia Space Belgium


As Power Lead Centre inside the Thales Alenia Space group, Thales Alenia Space Belgium (TAS B) is the European number one in power conditioning and distribution equipment for any type of satellites. Thales Alenia Space BELGIUM is a Belgian industrial establishment with over 650 employees, 35,000 square metres of which 6,000 square metres of cleanrooms. The 2014 turnover was above 70 M€. The company has more than 50 years of expertise in space and telecommunications, with, among other for this project, design skills in power elements, digital signal processing, and ASICs. TAS B Power Conditioning and Distribution Units cover the whole satellite range, from the micro-satellites for Earth observation up to the large geo-stationary satellites for telecom applications, with power needs up to 20 kW. The company manufactures a full range of Motor Drive Electronics, Avionics modules, Power Units for electric propulsion, specific Power Units for dedicated payloads and radar instruments and proposes a range of Electronic Power Conditioning units (EPC) for Travelling Wave Tubes (TWTA), whose references exceed 6 million hours of in-orbit operation. Thales Alenia Space BELGIUM has also developed and qualified a family of Power Processing Unit (PPU) able to supply and control Hall Effect Thrusters of Electric Propulsion System more and more used for attitude control of satellites. Thales Alenia Space BELGIUM exports hybrid technology DC/DC converters worldwide. Thales Alenia Space BELGIUM delivers Nozzle Drive Units, Power Distribution Units and Safeguard Control Units for Ariane 5 (21 boxes per launcher) and is responsible for the Safeguard sub-system of the Soyuz rockets to be launched from Kourou Space Centre.

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OHB System AG


OHB System AG as a wholly owned subsidiary of the OHB SE is the core company of the Space Systems business unit. OHB SE is Germany’s only listed focused space technology group located at two sites in Germany – Bremen and Munich (ISIN: DE0005936124; Prime Standard). The Group is under 70% in private ownership of the Fuchs family. OHB System is regarded by ESA as one of the three European satellite prime companies (772 million Euro turn over in 2014 for OHB SE, 650 employees). With a history spanning over 30 years, OHB AG is Germany’s first listed technology and space group. The business structure of OHB AG Group offers international customers sophisticated solutions and systems and numerous expertise on space-technology.

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SITAEL


SITAEL is the largest Italian privately-owned company operating in the Space Sector. Company shares are 100% property of Angelo Investments holding, a worldwide leading group with more than 1,000 highly skilled employees from high-tech companies in Transportation and Aerospace markets. Counting on more than 300 employees and state-of-the-art facilities, SITAEL is organised in three Business Units: Space, Industrial and Internet of Things. Space BU covers a wide range of activities: Design, Development and Production of Microsatellites, Advanced electric and chemical propulsion, Earth Observation and Science payloads, and Avionics from equipment down to complex component level. Activities are carried out in the plants of Forli’ (FC, Microsatellites), San Piero a Grado (PI, Avionics), Ospedaletto (PI, Advanced Propulsion) and in the main production factory of Mola di Bari (BA, Avionics, payloads, system integration). CHEOPS project will be mainly carried out within the Space BU in the two Pisa plants, by Sitael Propulsion Division, which was formerly Alta SpA, and by the Avionics Division.

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SME4SPACE


SME4SPACE VZW is a Panel of Space SME Associations of the ESA Member States and ESA cooperating States, legally incorporated as a private not-for-profit organisation under the Belgian Law, whose aims are: carrying out research activities in space, innovative and related sectors; defining and defending common positions; representing the SMEs with public authorities i.e. the European Space Agency, the European Union and its related agencies; organising seminars and information sessions; organising a network of SMEs in order to increase the possibilities for cooperation and related activities; favouring the fruitful collaboration among SMEs, large companies and research organizations. SME4SPACE VZW presently consists of 13 Working Members (Industrial Associations/Clusters): Aerospace Valley – France; AIPAS – Italy; Czech Space Alliance – Czech Republic; GLAE – Luxembourg; Hungarian Space Cluster – Hungary; Hellenic Association Of Space Industry – Greece; Latvian Space Cluster – Latvia; Lithuania National Space Association – Lithuania; Madrid Aerospace Cluster – Spain; SME Forum – UK; SpaceNed – The Netherlands; Space PL – Poland; VRI – Belgium; and 5 Individual Company Members: Active Space Technologies – Germany; Arquimea Ingenieria – Spain; Devil-Hop – France; Solar MEMS Technologies – Spain, Space Structures – Germany. In September 2016 SME4SPACE signed and renewed a Memorandum of Understanding with ESA, with whom there is a strict collaboration.

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Thales Alenia Space France


Thales Alenia Space was created on April 10, 2007 when Alcatel-Lucent transferred its space business to Thales. Owned 67% by Thales and 33% by Finmeccanica, Thales Alenia Space has a strong industrial presence in Europe with 7500 employees over 12 sites in 7 countries. Thales Alenia Space has clearly established its position as one of today’s pivotal global players in the development of space technologies for a wide range of applications, including telecommunications, navigation, meteorology, environmental management, defence, security, observation and science. The company is headquartered in Cannes and this plant is recognized worldwide for its high-tech expertise. The company is deeply involved in: Communications (50% of our business), as a world leader in communications satellites, including contracts from around the world. Thales Alenia Space spans this sector as a supplier of complete systems or individual components, with a focus on its Spacebus family of geostationary satellites and high-performance payloads. Constellations, as prime contractor for Iridium NEXT, Globalstar 2nd generation and O3B telecommunications constellations (more than 150 satellites ordered). Thales Alenia Space was also a main contributor to Globalstar 1st generation (72 satellites delivered). As prime contractor for EGNOS, the precursor to Galileo, the company is driving forward satellite navigation in Europe and is also closely involved in work to build and launch the first four In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites of the constellation. Environmental and climate change monitoring projects such as the Global Monitoring for Environment and Safety (GMES) program with Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-3, Meteorology as prime contractor for MTG (Thales Alenia Space provided all the Meteosat satellites for Eumetsat), Climatology as satellite prime contractor for the SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) mission, Oceanography with the provision of Jason satellites embarking Poseidon dual-frequency altimeters, and of primary instruments for international missions: Cryosat (ESA), GFO-2 (U.S.) and CFOsat (France-China). Defense, as prime contractor for the French Syracuse (I, II and III) and the Italian (Sicral) telecommunication systems, and the joint Italian-French Athena-Fidus; as well as for the Italian Earth Observation system COSMO-SkyMed. Main partner of the German telecom program (Satcom BW) and of the Earth observation programs Helios and CSO (France) and SAR-Lupe (Germany). Prime contractor for Turkey’s optical observation satellite (Göktürk). Science and Exploration, as prime contractor for the ExoMars mission -one of the most ambitious exploration missions in the near future, and for the GOCE satellite (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer). The company was also prime-contractor for the Herschel-Planck missions, the most complex Universe observatories ever built in Europe. Space Infrastructure and Transportation provided 50% of the ISS pressurized volume as prime contractor for Nodes 2 and 3, the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM), the Multipurpose Logistics Modules (MPLM) and the Cupola, as well as main contributor to the Automatic Transfer Vehicle (ATV) and a key player in the Columbus orbital laboratory. The company is a partner of Orbital Sciences Corporation to provide nine pressurized modules for cargo transport to the ISS and to study future crew transport vehicles. The company was also prime-contractor for ESA’s IXV and Expert re-entry demonstrators. Thales Alenia Space has a strong heritage in Electric Propulsion thanks to its experience on ASTRA1K, Stentor, and more recently on Alphasat launched in 2013 and embarking Snecma PPS1350 HET thrusters, TAS-B Power Supply (PPU) and TAS-F Thruster Orientation Mechanism (TOM). Thales Alenia Space is developing its new Spacebus Neo platform in the frame of Artes 14 program. This very performing and competitive platform is based on a full Electric Propulsion solution. The first application is under realization for one of the major space commercial customers : Eutelsat.

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Universidad Carlos III de Madrid


Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) is a public university with around 20,000 students, characterised by its strong international focus, the quality of its faculty, excellence in research and commitment to society. Founded in 1989, its achievements have already placed it among the top universities in Spain. UC3M was one of the top-five Spanish universities selected in 2009 as a Campus of International Excellence, a four-year project awarded by the Ministries of Science and Innovation and Education. UC3M is very active in R&D programmes and especially in the European Framework Programmes (FP). During the whole FP7 503 proposals were submitted and 72 of them were funded with a total of around 24 Million Euro. This is four times the figures in FP5 and FP6, and placed UC3M as the fourth Spanish University in participation in the EC/REA FP7. During the first two years of the current H2020, UC3M has submitted 203 proposals. A total of 20 projects have been awarded, being 3 of them coordinated by UC3M. UC3M is listed in the QS World University ranking among the top 400 universities in the world and the top 50 universities under 50 year-old.

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Airbus Defence and Space


Airbus Defence and Space SAS, 100% owned by Airbus Group (the former European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company) is a worldwide leader in the space domain. Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS) was formed in January 2014 from the former EADS divisions Airbus Military, Astrium, and Cassidian. Within Airbus Defence and Space, The Space Systems Business Division is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems as well as satellite based services in civil and military bands of frequencies, including space capacity, satellite communication engineering expertise, anchoring and backhauling services. It employs in 2014 some 40,000 employees generating revenues of approximately €14 billion per year. The entities involved in CHEOPS, all based in Toulouse, are the Electric Propulsion engineering department and the three different program business lines focussing on the Telecommunication satellites market, Earth, Navigation and Scientific satellites market and orbital vehicle market, knowing Electric propulsion will be a key enabler in the next years on these markets.

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Bradford Engineering


Bradford Engineering is a Netherlands based supplier of Attitude and Orbit Control Systems (AOCS), Propulsion, Avionics and Thermal solutions for spacecraft. Bradford was established in 1983 by the Voeten family and started its activities in the nuclear field as an organization for development, design, manufacture, testing and endurance testing of shaft seals (Visco Seals), high reliability valves, and pneumatic, hydraulic and electronic control units and instrumentation. From 1986 onwards, space engineering took a second place in the activities and has grown since to >90% of the turnover. Customers include ESA, NASA, JAXA, NSO, EADS-Astrium, Thales Alenia Space, OHB System, OHB Sweden, QinetiQ, The Boeing Company, IHI, NEC-Toshiba Space, Teledyne Brown Engineering and others. In 2006 the company embarked on a strategy to grow towards a European based top supplier role for which the product portfolio was vastly extended. Currently, Bradford manufactures components and subsystems such as pressure transducers, flow meters, cold gas systems, xenon feed systems, sun sensors and reaction wheels for major European satellite prime manufacturers.

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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique


The CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) is a government-funded research organisation under the administrative authority of French Ministry in charge of research. As the largest fundamental research organization in Europe, CNRS is involved in all fields of knowledge. Interdisciplinary programs and actions offer a gateway into new domains of scientific investigation and enable CNRS to address the needs of society and industry. CNRS is organised in 1053 research units spread throughout France. These units are either intramural or in partnership with universities, other research organisations, or industry. The financial, legal and administrative management of these units is concentrated in 19 Regional Offices of CNRS. The present project will be managed by the Centre Limousin Poitou Charentes Office of CNRS which is fully experienced in this field. The “Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique” is involved in the CHEOPS project through CNRS personnel coming from the Laboratory of Plasma Physics (LPP) and the ICARE Institute (Institut de Combustion, Aérothermique, Réactivité et Environnement). Profile of the Laboratory of Plasma Physics (CNRS-LPP) The laboratory of Plasma Physics (LPP) is devoted to the study of plasmas, from astrophysics to fusion and industrial applications. The LPP has about 35 permanent professors and researchers, 30 PhD’s and post-docs, and 30 engineers and administrative staff. The three main scientific teams of LPP are: (i) magnetic fusion plasmas, (ii) low-temperature plasmas, and (iii) space plasmas. The LPP teams are also members of the Labex (Laboratory of Excellence) Plas@Par (for Plasmas in Paris), which federates the research effort on plasma physics in the Paris area. The fusion team is specialised in turbulence in tokamak’s, both cutting-edge experiments and theory, and is involved in a large European Network devoted to fusion (Eurofusion). The space plasmas team studies the solar system magnetospheres and the solar wind (and its interaction with earth), both via observations and with theory and numerical simulations. The team is specialised in in-flight mass spectrometer and magnetometer, and is PI or co-PI of instruments of major ESA, NASA and JAXA space missions (for instance Cluster, Bepi-Colombo, MMS, Solar Orbiter, of Juice). The low-temperature plasma team is described below. The LPP has a transverse activity in high performance numerical simulations. LPP has five small size (64 CPU) clusters for local code development, access to a 500 CPU cluster locally at Ecole Polytechnique, and uses big numerical national centres for larger scale calculations. Theses numerical resources (both human expertise and machines) will be used in the project. The low-temperature plasma (LTP) team, involved in the current proposal, is specialised in the study of plasmas used in industrial applications; plasma medicine, plasma combustion, air treatment, plasmas in microelectronics, and plasma propulsion for space applications. The team is expert in cutting-edge laser diagnostics, plasma chemistry, plasma-surface interaction and theory of low-pressure plasmas. It also develops a very large effort in high performance numerical simulations. The LTP team of LPP is expert in modelling of low-temperature plasmas, both analytical models and Particle-In-Cell (PIC) numerical simulations. The study of microscopic phenomenon, both by theory and by PIC simulations, is used to construct more global models, that can be solved in a few seconds, and that can be used to explore a large parameter space by changing the global control parameters. In the current proposal, the team will use our expertise to construct such models of Hall Effect Thrusters, and use them to evaluate the impact of the different propellant on the performance of HET’s. Profile of the ICARE Institute (CNRS-ICARE) The ICARE Institute (Institut de Combustion, Aérothermique, Réactivité et Environnement) is a research unit (UPR 3021) of the CNRS located in Orléans, France. The laboratory is currently composed of 48 staff members (29 research scientists and 19 technical and administrative staffs), 27 PhD students, 8 post-doctoral fellows, 8 short-term contract employees and more than 30 undergraduate and graduate students. Activities carried out in this laboratory can be divided into three main topics: – Combustion processes, which includes kinetic paths and dynamics of flames, for engine, turbines and propulsion devices; – Chemical reactivity of the Earth atmosphere for environmental purposes; – Physics of high-speed flows, which encompasses low-pressure hypersonic gas flows, free plasma jets for reentry simulations and spacecraft electric propulsion. The Electric Propulsion group of ICARE presently consists of a team of 10 people among them 2 researchers and 2 engineers who operate the French test-bench for EP (PIVOINE-2G). The group has a long tradition in fundamental as well as applied research in the field of electric propulsion systems for satellites and spacecraft, with two main activities: testing and optimization of EP technologies, especially Hall thrusters and development of new concepts and innovative solutions like the wall-less Hall thruster. The research team is also recognised for the development and the use of sophisticated optical and electrical diagnostic techniques, like laser spectroscopy, light scattering, laser photodetachment, infrared imaging, calibrated E×B probe and electrostatic probes. The CNRS-ICARE partner has a long experience and ability in testing Hall thrusters and in developing advanced diagnostic techniques for examination of the thruster discharge and ion beam. The team has been involved in studies of several Hall thruster demonstrators (SPT100, PPS®1350, PPS®5000), in the development and testing of various prototypes (PPS-20k, PPSX000-ML, PPS-Flex, PPI) as well as in testing of variants like a two-stage Hall thruster and Hall thrusters in magnetic shielding and wall-less configurations. The team has therefore covered a vast set of designs and architectures as well as a broad range of operating parameters with a power level from 100 W to 25 kW, a thrust level from 5 mN up to 1.2 N and a range of specific impulse from 1200 s to 3500 s. Recently, the team has performed experimental and test campaigns for the validation of a complete Hall thruster assembly that includes a thruster, a xenon flow control unit, a tank unit and a PPU powered through a solar panel simulator. The team also has expertise and skills in the development of advanced optical and electrical diagnostics for the field of electric propulsion. The team has designed, built and used a unique set of laser-aided plasma diagnostic techniques. In addition the team has developed various efficient and compact electrostatic probe devices to determine ion and electron properties like a compact E×B probe, energy analysers, planar probes, Faraday cups and Langmuir and emissive probes. In parallel, the team has worked on data acquisition, data analysis and treatment procedures and error bar determination, especially for ion current probes and Langmuir probes.

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Advanced Space Technologies


AST Advanced Space Technologies has been founded in June 2010 by Dr. Hans-Peter Harmann who has more than 20 years of space experience with a special focus on electric propulsion (RIT, HEMPT), system engineering and space propulsion test facilities (University of Giessen, Thales Ulm, DLR Göttingen). AST is specialised on fluid control components for space propulsion, especially electric propulsion. Funded by two FP7 projects, AST gained technological leadership in miniaturized fluid control components. The underlying technology called “fluid surface mounted devices (fSMD)” transfers manufacturing principles from the electronics to the fluid application. Interconnections between individual components are no longer made by pipework but included in the baseplate structure called “flow path board (FPB)” like interconnectors in a printed circuit board (PCB). This new technology allows automated series production of space components in a controlled and reliable manner. Two devices for electric propulsion systems have been developed in the past, a Xenon flow control unit (“μFCU”, FP7 2012-2013) and an electric pressure regulator (“EPR”, FP7 2104-2016). The EPR development is ongoing until end of 2016. Within both projects we formed a well performing network of partners that provide key processes and components as suppliers, while AST is focused on system engineering, space QA, assembly and test. All relevant capabilities for the project like welding, high pressure testing, thermal vacuum test, cleaning etc. are available. Meanwhile the manufacturing capabilities at AST are increasing to perform and control all critical manufacturing steps in-house as the products become more mature and the product cycle shifts from development to production. Beside the field of electric propulsion, AST has developed, qualified and delivered cold gas thrusters for Taiwan’s FORMOSAT 5 mission. The satellite is waiting for its launch in 2016. The cold gas thrusters use low pressure valves similar to ones in the FCU, providing first flight heritage for a key components of our products. AST has furthermore a long year experience in system engineering, testing and design of test facilities and equipment for electric propulsion systems, e.g. at DLR Göttingen (design of facility, delivery of two thrust balances, beam target etc.). AST’s key competences are in the field of miniaturized fluid components for space applications, especially for electric propulsion systems. We are strong in spin-in of technologies to harvest the long term experience of our partner network. Our solutions are driven by design to cost and preparation for series production with a high level of quality.

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Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft – und Raumfahrt (DLR)


DLR is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR is also the umbrella organisation for the nation’s largest project management agency. DLR has approximately 8000 employees at 16 locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Goettingen, Hamburg, Juelich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen, and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C. Electric propulsion is also gaining more interest in the sector of future science missions requesting very low thrust in conjunction with low thrust noise and accurate thrust level control. Based on this perspective of EP growth DLR in Göttingen site added to its chemical space propulsion testing capabilities a test facility for electric propulsion – the STG-ET. The central element of the facility is a 12m long and 5m diameter vacuum chamber. For instrumentation and pumping 169 feedthrough ports are available. The chamber is mounted on sliding bearings for reduction of stress in case of pump-down and temperature changes. The test object and the diagnostics equipment are positioned on a stand which is decoupled from the metal chamber wall. This decoupling ensures less vibrations and a well-defined space coordinate system origin. The STG-ET is located in close vicinity to other DLR space vacuum test facilities and shares a common infrastructure of cryogenic media like liquid nitrogen and liquid helium.

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CHALMERS University of Technology


Chalmers tekniska hoegskola (Chalmers University of Technology) was founded in 1829 following a donation by William Chalmers, director of the Swedish East India Company, and was transformed into an independent foundation in 1994. Chalmers has developed leading research in the areas of life sciences, materials science, information technology, micro-and nanotechnology, environmental sciences and energy. Chalmers’ annual turnover is 3597 million SEK (appr. 400 million EUR), out of which 70 % is related to research. Around 60 % of the research funding is acquired in competition from external sources. Some 13 000 people, including 3 240 employees (3065 FTEs), work and study in Chalmers’ 17 departments. The university offers PhD and Licentiate programmes as well as MScEng, MArch, BEng and nautical programmes. There are 6 600 students (FTE) in programmes leading to 1 200 Master’s degrees annually. About 1 160 students are involved in doctoral programs leading to 300 PhD and Licentiate of Technology degrees each year.

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