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Engineers at CUA have developed a filament pulsed plasma thruster (FPPT) which consumes PTFE propellant in spooled form, fed with extrusion 3D printer technology like the CUA MVP thruster. The thruster uses massive parallelism in its energy storage unit (ESU) design, assembling COTS components into discrete modular 10 J capacitor assemblies while maintaining low per-cap specific current levels. Discharge initiation is accomplished via a regenerative carbon igniter array located in the thruster cathode. Thruster performance varies with fuel feed rate, with 20 J ESU configuration measured values ranging from 0.122 mN-s @ 1005 s to 0.088 mN-s @ 1735 s. Highest specific impulse measured 2400 s in a 40 J configuration. A 1U design provides 4900 N-s total impulse. Accelerated subsystem life testing has demonstrated > 80M capacitor charge / discharge cycles with nearly identical specific current waveforms. FPPT utilizes the completely non-toxic solid propellant Teflon with benign exhaust, has no corrosive or propellant plugging issues, and has on-demand thrust with no warmup time requirement. Further, the ability to control both input power and propellant feed rate allows tuning from higher-Isp operation to higher-thrust operation. CUA believes that the FPPT technology is a compelling option to meet many micropropulsion needs.



CU Aerospace – FPPT 1U

ManufacturerCU Aerospace
ClassificationElectric Propulsion System
Form FactorCubeSat
Vendor Overview
Vendor NameCU Aerospace
Vendor Websitehttp://www.cuaerospace.com/
Vendor LocationUnited States
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ClassificationElectric Propulsion System
Form FactorCubeSat
VendorCU Aerospace
Mass1.21 kg
Nominal Power48.0 W