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. The entity involved in iFACT is the Space Systems division of Airbus Defence and Space with three main activities: Communication,Intelligence & Security (CIS), military aircrafts (A400M) and Space Systems (covering civil/military telecommunications, Earth observation, science, navigation and orbital programmes).
From its heritage in Space span over 40 years of successful programmes, Airbus Defence and Space has got a full capability in all fields of space system and sub-system management, engineering and development and also research & development. This capability encompasses all facets of the space industry and includes propulsion systems for Telecommunications, Earth observation, Scientific and Exploration missions.
Since more than 20 years, electric propulsion subsystems have been developed for both institutional (Artemis, BepiColombo) and commercial programs (Eurostar E3000, Eurostar-NEO, Oneweb).
The electric propulsion department in Toulouse is in charge of the definition of the subsystem architecture, the equipment specification, the development follow-up, the integration and tests on the satellites and the inorbit follow-up for all telecom satellites, which are today the heart of electric propulsion market.
The department experience is spread on a full range of electric propulsion subsystem from 5 kW to 250 W mainly on three different platform types:
- Geostationary platforms performing only station keeping with electric propulsion: it corresponds over the past 10 years to about 30% of the commercial geostationary satellites market
- Geostationary platforms performing station keeping but also transfer with electric propulsion which allows to launch very large geostationary platforms on Falcon 9 and Ariane 5 upper and lower positions
- Leo constellation platforms performing transfer and/or station keeping and/or de-orbiting with electric propulsion with very aggressive subsystem cost targets
The department also provides support to the different Airbus defence and Space business units, in electric propulsion field and contributes to key new developments baselining electric propulsion for other mission types.