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Launches of Busek Thrusters push OneWeb constellation towards completion
Busek BHT-350 thrusters in production
Launches of Busek Thrusters push OneWeb constellation towards completion
by Staff Writers
Natick MA (SPX) Feb 07, 2023

The in-space propulsion firm Busek Co. Inc. (Busek) announced the successful on-orbit commissioning of its BHT-350 Hall effect thrusters on a duo of launches. The thrusters were sent aloft on OneWeb's 15th and 16th missions, which utilized separate SpaceX Falcon-9s to deliver 80 spacecraft into low Earth orbit (LEO). The Busek thrusters are utilized for orbit-raising, station-keeping, collision avoidance, and de-orbit.

The Busek-built engines are now propelling the satellites, built by Airbus OneWeb Satellites, in operational orbits. The latest launches bring a total of 542 satellites launched for OneWeb, the LEO satellite communications company. The launches are the first occasion for the BHT-350 solar electric propulsion systems to fly in space, and it highlights Busek's rapid-response and thruster manufacturing capabilities.

"We ramped-up our manufacturing and supply chain to begin double-digit thruster deliveries within a few months of order. The space community often talks about rapid response and the need for speed, and this is a great example of preparedness, and fast, high-quality execution." said Dr. Vlad Hruby, President of Busek.

"We're at a production rate of over 20 thrusters per month with 100% hot-fire acceptance testing, Busek has the installed capacity to double that production-rate today, and we're planning to triple that capacity to meet certain near-term programs." added Hruby.

The BHT-350 system is designed for demanding small satellite propulsion applications and it offers the performance, long-lifetime, and reliability to meet stringent de-orbit requirements.

The unit is compatible with both xenon and krypton propellants, and a future solid-propellant based offering is in the works. The BHT-350 joins Busek's Industry-leading stable of flight-qualified electric propulsion solutions including the Hall thrusters, RF ion engines, and electrospray thrusters.

Related Links
Busek Inc
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

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First step toward predicting lifespan of electric space propulsion systems
Chicago IL (SPX) Feb 03, 2023
Electric space propulsion systems use energized atoms to generate thrust. The high-speed beams of ions bump against the graphite surfaces of the thruster, eroding them a little more with each hit, and are the systems' primary lifetime-limiting factor. When ion thrusters are ground tested in an enclosed chamber, the ricocheting particles of carbon from the graphite chamber walls can also redeposit back onto the thruster surfaces. This changes the measured performance characteristics of the thruster. ... read more

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