ASPIRE: Advanced Space Propulsion for Innovative Realization of space Exploration Projects uri icon


  • European Research Project


  • 101004366

date/time interval

  • January 1, 2021 - March 31, 2024


  • The recent developments in high-power Hall thruster systems, thanks to the optimal combination of performance and
    reliability, are enabling a wide set of mission scenarios. These technological advantages, coupled with the increasing
    availability of power onboard satellite platforms, are encouraging several spacecraft manufacturers to focus on the
    implementation of high-power Hall thruster systems.
    The most promising scenarios envisage the introduction of a new class of service platforms characterized by versatility and a
    high level of reusability, the so-called Space Tug. Other applications, nowadays of particular interest, are the active debris
    removal to mitigate the possible collision risks. Besides, several exploration and scientific missions, such as Mars Sample
    Return, contemplate high power electric propulsion as the main propulsion system.
    Despite these potential advantages, several factors have limited the possibility of reaching qualified status for these systems,
    such as huge costs and availability of test facility.
    ASPIRE aims to increase the TRL of 20kW Hall Thruster system up to 6 by exploiting results obtained within CHEOPS. The
    project will cover many aspects, from mission scenarios analysis and satellite architecture consolidation to thruster unit TRL
    raise to 7 and enabling reduced-cost qualification. To keep operational and development costs as low as possible, krypton is
    maintained as baseline propellant.
    The ASPIRE project also aims at augmenting the numerical modelling capability necessary for qualification of high-power EP
    systems, which lacks in Europe. The numerical models, developed and refined by three academic partners in the frame of
    this project, will be validated with the data gathered in more than 1000 hours of firing with Kr. Artificial intelligence is used to
    develop a novel simulation-aided qualification strategy, representing an exclusive European asset for the foreseen
    qualification and flight in the 2020-2030 d


  • het; monolithical approach; cluster approach; 20 kw; high thrust; high isp; direct drive architecture