Building on the flight heritage of the IFM Nano Thruster, the IFM Nano Thruster SE expands controllability towards active thrust vector control, without moving parts. The IFM Nano Thruster SE therefore combines advanced vector controllability with the very mature and worldwide unique FEEP technology that has been developed at FOTEC under ESA contracts for over 15 years. ENPULSION has been founded as a Spin-Out together with FOTEC to meet this market demand by preparing to scale the production of this thruster to several hundred units per year.
The IFM Nano Thruster SE uses differential emission throttling within the proprietary crown ion emitter to actively control the emitted ion beam and therefore thrust. The thrust vector capability is an additional feature compared to the IFM Nano Thruster and does not reduce total impulse capability. The dependency of maximum thrust on thrust vector angle is shown on the left.
While the required power to operate the IFM Nano Thruster starts at around 8 W, at higher thrust levels one can choose between high thrust and high specific impulse operation. The IFM Nano Thruster SE can operate at an Isp range of 2,000 to 6,000 s. At any given thrust point, higher Isp operation will increase the total impulse, while it will also increase the power demand. The thruster can be operated along the full dynamic range throughout the mission. This means that high Isp and low Isp maneuvers can be included in a mission planning, as well as high thrust orbit maneuver and low thrust precision control maneuvers.