Micro solid propellant thruster for small satellite

Akihito Itoh, Masashi Watanabe, Hiroto Habu, Shin Ichiro Tokudome, Keiichi Hori, Hirobumi Saito, Kazuyuki Kondo, Shuji Tanaka, Masayoshi Esashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


A micro solid propellant thruster for simple attitude control of a 10 kg class small spacecraft is currently under development. The prototype has 0.8 mm micro rocket elements, arrayed at a pitch of 1.2 mm on a 22 × 22 mm substance. Initially, solid propellants were used, obtaining only 20% ignition probability with a very long ignition delay (e.g. 1000 ms) as well as very high ignition energy. While observing the tested prototype sample, it became apparent that the main cause of these problems was a gap between the solid propellants and ignition heater. So, the thruster system was improved so that the propellants adhered to the heater. In addition, an ignition charge was used that starts to burn at 210°C, which was acetone having the form of slurry. As a result, a better ignition probability of over 80% in vacuum and half thrust of expectation were gained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-327
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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