Indian Space Startup To Test Electric Propulsion For Satellites Tomorrow

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Indian Space Startup To Test Electric Propulsion For Satellites Tomorrow
New Delhi: Bengaluru-based space startup Bellatrix Aerospace will send its experimental payload, Hall-effect thruster (HET), on Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C55 that is set for launch tomorrow.
The ARKA-series HET, which will demonstrate the solar electric propulsion engine for small satellites, will be flying in the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM), where the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) uses the final stage of the rocket as an orbital platform to carry out experiments in orbit. “It is something like taking this EV (electric vehicle) revolution to space but actually, the technology is much more complex and very different from how we operate here,” Bellatrix Aerospace co-founder Yashas Karanam told Press Trust of India.

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He said the HET developed by Bellatrix imparts a very high specific impulse or mileage when compared with conventional rockets, reducing the dependence on traditional fuels such as hydrazine, which is very toxic and carcinogenic. Karanam said Bellatrix has focused on maximum indigenisation of sub-systems, instead of relying on foreign vendors. “With this particular launch, we would be in a position to validate and reassure ourselves of our indigenisation capabilities across the spectrum for all the subsystems that have gone into it,” he said.

The POEM component of a PSLV derives the power from the solar panels mounted around the PS4 tank and a Li Ion battery. It navigates using four sun sensors, a magnetometer, gyros and NavIC, and carries dedicated control thrusters using a helium gas storage. It is enabled with the telecommand feature, the ISRO said. The main payload of the PSLV C55 mission will be the Singaporean earth observation satellite TeLEOS-2. It will also put in orbit Lumilite-4, a satellite co-developed by the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) of A*STAR and the Satellite Technology and Research Centre (STAR) of the National University of Singapore.  Besides the ARKA-series HET, the POEM component will also carry payloads from the ISRO, DhruvaSpace and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics.

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