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Australian space industry celebrates electric propulsion success

The space industry in the land down under is reaching new heights as it celebrates the first Australian electric propulsion product qualified for integration on a satellite.

Australian-owned in-space electric propulsion developer Neumann Space and Adelaide defence tech company Inovor Technologies have both partnered to complete delivery of a Neumann Drive with Apogee satellite platform ready for spacecraft integration and launch.

A locally made satellite platform with electric propulsion signals a dramatic increase in the capability and commercial viability of Australia’s space industry.

Neumann Space chief executive officer Herve Astier said the Apogee satellite drive incorporates a molybdenum solid metallic propellant thruster unit, designed to be safer, storable, fully fuelled, integrated, more efficient, and more robust than other solutions currently on the market.


“The Neumann Drive offers a step change in mobility to the global satellite market, and this milestone represents an important step forward in ensuring that this critical technology is able to serve the growing need for better propulsion in space,” he said.

“Proving the performance of the Neumann Drive in space will enable our company to continue the solid progress we are making to commercialise our products.

“We are excited about the work we are doing with Inovor Technologies and the contribution that we are making to securing flight heritage of a system with the real potential to significantly disrupt the way satellite propulsion is done today.”

Inovor Technologies founder and chief executive officer Dr Matthew Tetlow said the company has developed a family of small satellite buses in the CubeSat (Apogee Bus) class and is designing its SmallSat (Australis Bus) class for space domain awareness, Earth imaging, communications, climate science, AgTech and scientific experimentation.


“The Apogee satellite platform is a high-performance spacecraft requiring a highly efficient propulsion system, which is why we are very pleased to be ready for spacecraft integration and launch,” Dr Tetlow said.

“Both our products are Australian-designed and made, demonstrating the sovereign capability that exists within our nation’s space sector, and the potential for growth of the industry.

“Continuing to prove and test our industry’s platforms and capability in space is essential to progress.”

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