Boeing selects Safran PPS5000 electric thruster for use on a commercial satellite

Safran Aircraft Engines has been selected by Boeing to provide an electric propulsion subsystem to support orbit-raising on a commercial satellite program.

This order represents two world firsts:

  • The first use of a cluster of three plasma thrusters (Hall Effect), operating simultaneously, to perform orbital transfer duties.
  • The first deployment of a plasma thruster developing 5 kW of power – 10% more than current models used on telecommunications satellites.

Boeing is a pioneer in the use of electric propulsion systems on satellites. This order for PPS5000 thrusters marks Boeing's first use of Hall Effect thrusters for special missions/applications.

Safran Aircraft Engines will supply the PPS5000, along with the power processing unit (PPU), and will take technical responsibility for the interfaces. "We are honored to start a great collaboration with a key actor of the commercial satellites industry, said Didier Desnoyer, Vice President of Safran Aircraft Engines' Military Engines and Space Electric Propulsion division. "It also reflects our customers' confidence in our capability to introduce into the market a new generation of world-class plasma thrusters".

The first PPS 5000 will be delivered in 2018 for a satellite launch planned in 2019.   

The order announced today is the division's second contract from a U.S.-based company. Rated at 5 kW of power, the PPS5000 is being developed within the scope of the All-Electric Satellite plan, part of the New French Industry program, in collaboration with the French space agency CNES.

Source: Safran S.A. (Paris: SAF.PA)
Date: Jun 29, 2017