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Boeing , ArianeGroup announce ion propulsion agreement
RIT 2X ion thruster. © ArianeGroup

Boeing , ArianeGroup announce ion propulsion agreement

Boeing has signed a strategic agreement with the Orbital Propulsion unit of ArianeGroup covering joint development of a new generation of ion propulsion systems for satellites.

Boeing has signed an agreement with the Orbital Propulsion unit of ArianeGroup (based in Lampoldshausen, Germany) regarding joint development of a new generation of ion propulsion systems for satellites. The system will be based on ArianeGroup’s dual mode Radiofrequency Ion Thruster (RIT) technology, which offers a high-thrust mode for orbital transfer manœuvres.

The strategic agreement was signed in June, and it was accompanied by an initial order for an unspecified number of RIT 2X systems. The RIT 2X system includes the thruster itself, a Power Processing Unit and a radiofrequency generator. Following a preliminary design review in 2016, the system is scheduled to undergo a critical design review in the near future.

Germany and Spain are also involved in the development effort — via the DLR aerospace research centre and the CDTI technical and industrial development centre, respectively — through their involvement in ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (Artes) long-term research programme, which aims to develop products and services related to telecommunications satellites.

Josef Koecher, who heads the Orbital Propulsion unit, says the agreement cements ArianeGroup’s role as a one-stop shop for propulsion system components, complete propulsion systems and associated launch services for satellite prime contractors around the globe.

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