The Electric Propulsion Innovation & Competitiveness (EPIC) project, Grant Agreement n°640199, has been selected by the European Commission to carry out the Programme Support Activity (PSA) related to H2020-COMPET-3-2014: In-Space electrical propulsion and station keeping, within the Competitiveness of the European Space Sector: Technology and Science 2014 call. It is led by a consortium coordinated by ESA and composed of six national space agencies (ASI, BELSPO, CDTI, CNES, DLR, UKSA) as well as European associations Eurospace and SME4Space. This project aims to provide a clear integrated roadmap of activities and a master plan for upcoming calls in that field, which will then be implemented through a Strategic Research Cluster (SRC). The objective is to increase the Technology Readiness Level (TRL – as per ISO 16290 standard) of future EP technologies up to 6.
To reach that goal, EPIC is organizing a four-day workshop on 25-28 November at Brussels’ Museum of Natural Sciences. The scope of this event is two-fold:
GOAL 1: Collect information with regards to, and assess the TRL of, the following technologies pertaining to in-space electric propulsion:
- Thrusters: including, but not limited to, Hall Effect Thrusters (HET), Gridded Ion Engines (GIE), High Efficiency Multistage Plasma Thrusters (HEMP-T), Pulsed Plasma Thrusters (PPT), Magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters (MPD), Pulsed Inductive Thrusters (PIT), Quad Confinement Thrusters (QCT), Arcjets, Resistojets, Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP), Colloid or Electrospray thrusters, Helicon thrusters, Vacuum Arc Thrusters (VAT), Hollow cathode, Ablative Laser Propulsion (ALP).
- Subsystem components: valves, pressure regulators, flow controllers, power processing units (PPU), mechanisms (e.g. pointing mechanism or deployable arm), tanks.
- Test facilities (including diagnostics).
- Power generation (including new power concepts).
- System architecture.
- Development tools.
GOAL 2: Collect high-level requirements for the technologies mentioned here-above, based on needs foreseen for the following types of missions:
- Low Earth Orbit (LEO)
- Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)
- Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO)
- Interplanetary missions
- Space transportation