The CHEOPS (Consortium for Hall Effect Orbital Propulsion System) project proposes to develop three different propulsion systems, each with specific requirements leading to specific improvements at system and subsystem levels:
- GEO dual mode Electrical Propulsion Systems (EPS) to provide high thrust during transfer and high Isp during station keeping.
- LEO low power EPS, with a very low cost target for mass production.
- High power, high thrust EPS for exploration EPS applications.
CHEOPS project is divided into two incremental development phases (Phase I and Phase II).
Phase I: a HET EPS system level:
- Objective 1 – Achieve a TRL5-6 for a dual mode EPS (optimised both for high thrust for orbit raising and high Isp for station keeping). The baseline propulsion system will be the PPS®5000 thruster currently under development at SNECMA but presently limited to 300-400V.
- Objective 2 – Starting from the SNECMA EPS-500 concept and thruster prototype, reach a TRL5-6 for a compact low power (200-700W) EPS. This will be achieved by mastering an integrated functional and mechanical system architecture with robust and cost optimised solutions and processes for all subsystems.
- Objective 3 – Starting from the SITAEL high power thruster HT 20k demonstrator reach TRL4-5 for a high power (>20kW) EPS. This will be achieved by mastering larger ceramic components, different materials, efficient heat management, and through the replacement of the PPU power boards through the use of a direct drive architecture.
- Objective 4 – Demonstrate through a detailed development plan that: a) the dual mode HET EPS TRL7-8 b) the low power HET EPS (200-700W) TRL7-8 and c) high power HET EPS TRL6, are all achievable by the end of CHEOPS Phase II (2023).
As key enabling activities for each HET EPS system:
- Objective 5 – Demonstrate an EPS total cost reduction at platform level of at least 30% for satellites in GEO configuration using a Dual Mode GEO HET EPS system. This will be achieved through the application of design to cost and production rationalisation approaches at both system and sub-system level, along the complete product development cycle.
- Objective 6 –Demonstrate a total recurrent cost of 200k€ for the large series production of low power LEO HET EPS system. This will be achieved through the application of design to cost, use of COTS components and production rationalisation approaches at both system and sub-system level, along the complete product development cycle.
- Objective 7 – Demonstrate technical feasibility of a high power HET system for exploration and space transportation scenarios, and prove its cost can be kept within 6M Euro by simplifying its architecture.
- Objective 8 – Develop advanced numerical design tools for electric propulsion which allow not only to understand the observable behaviour of a given thruster in its environment, but also to predict performances of a given design. This includes the ability to predict performances when alternative propellants are used instead of Xenon, and to estimate the system lifetime.
- Objective 9 – Investigate and establish the performance improvements versus constraints that could be obtained for the three HET EPS systems under development by using alternative cheaper propellants such as Krypton, or gas blends.
- Objective 10 – Make significant progress in establishing a HET performances measurement standard (methodology/diagnostic techniques and set of parameters) and develop advanced, non-intrusive tests for measuring thruster erosion.