Novel Missions enabled by Electric Propulsion

July 21, 2021 – Start 9:15 CET 

Electric Propulsion – EP– is a technology aimed at generating thrust with high exhaust velocities. Compared to other conventional propulsion methods, the result is a significant reduction of the propellant mass necessary for a given space mission. Reduced propellant mass can significantly decrease the launch mass of a spacecraft, leading to lower costs and smaller platforms. EP can also enable new missions that could not be attainable through less efficient thrusters.

The overall reduction in cost and mass of an EP mission has raised interest of commercial and institutional players in the last 10 years, so that today all LEO mega-constellations have an EP system onboard, and most of the GEO platforms rely on electric thrusters. Many space exploration missions also strongly benefit from the adoption of EP systems, as they are typically very demanding in terms of total delta-V and the propellant mass fraction would be too high if a conventional chemical propulsion system is used.

With this workshop SITAEL and Politecnico di Milano wish to promote an insight on the Italian know-how and competences on Electric Propulsion systems and on those advanced mission design capabilities that can allow us to better exploit the unique performance of EP thrusters for future endeavors.


Novel Missions Enabled by Electric Propulsion
Starting Hour, CET Duration Company Speaker
Session 1: Electric Propulsion Technologies
Chairman: Käthe Dannenmayer (ESA – ESTEC)
09:15 00:05 Welcome and introduction SITAEL Marco Molina
09:20 00:15 EP for Nano- and Micro-Satellites: Regulus T4i Daniele Pavarin
09:35 00:10 EP for Space Exploration – introduction SITAEL Tommaso Misuri
09:45 00:20 EP for Space Exploration – insights on relevant technologies SITAEL Tommaso Andreussi
10:05 00:15 Electric propulsion at CIRA: capabilities and perspectives CIRA Francesco Battista
10:20 00:15 Coffee break
Session 2: Electric Propulsion in LEO and Exploration Missions
Chairman: Eduard Bosch Borràs (ESA – ESTEC)
10:35 00:15 EP enabled missions in low Earth Orbit: large constellation and formation flying POLIMI Camilla Colombo
10:50 00:25 Interplanetary missions: Moon and asteroids with nano/microsatellites POLIMI Francesco Topputo
11:15 00:15 The ESA CubeSat test bench for electric propulsion systems POLITO Sabrina Corpino
Round table
11:30 00:45 Chairman: Marco Di Clemente (ASI)
Tommaso Misuri SITAEL
Francesco Topputo (TBC) PoliMI
Francesco Battista CIRA
Daniele Pavarin T4i
Sabrina Corpino PoliTO
12:15 00:15 Conclusions & Farewell SITAEL Marco Molina
12:30 End of Workshop