Start for a new research project in the field of space research

LH Mikl-Leitner: Space research in Lower Austria will be greatly upgraded

In the field of space research, the Wiener Neustadt location with the FH Wiener Neustadt, its research company FOTEC or its spinout ENPULSION  has earned a good reputation beyond the country's borders through its participation in international projects. For example, FOTEC has already participated in numerous research projects on behalf of the European Space Agency ESA. The expertise from Wiener Neustadt is now in demand worldwide by organisations from science and industry.

As its next milestone, FOTEC is now planning to carry out the research project "CP/EP Thruster Development - Development of the Fundamentals for a Hybrid Propulsion System (Chemical and Electric) for Space Applications". "It is more than remarkable that, apart from the big players such as Airbus, Boeing or Lockhead Martin, only FOTEC has the necessary know-how in the fields of electrical and chemical propulsion systems for small satellites," says Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner.

The goals of the project are to work out the basics and develop a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective chemical propulsion system that meets the requirements of the private space market as well as a hybrid electric and chemical propulsion system. In addition, the foundations will be laid for the development of a bipropellant engine, which could be used for missions to the moon or further into the solar system. "The players in the 'New Space' business are faced with the challenge of procuring suitable propulsion systems for their satellites, but the market for this is only just emerging. We want to provide solutions for efficient and inexpensive propulsion systems for this rapidly growing market," explains FOTEC Managing Director Helmut Loibl.

A total of six FOTEC experts will work on the project. They will work together with internationally renowned partners, such as Lithoz GmbH from Vienna or the CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) in France. "This project is confirmation of outstanding research at FOTEC and also helps us to further develop teaching, for example in the Aerospace Engineering degree programme, to world-class standards. The entire technology and education location of Wiener Neustadt, which has already established itself internationally as a stronghold for aerospace research, will benefit from this," Armin Mahr, CEO of FH Wiener Neustadt, is pleased to say.

The project is accompanied and supervised by ESA as part of a "bridging activity". This ensures that the project is also continuously evaluated in relation to European and global developments in the space industry. The National Aerospace Agency (ALR) of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) is also actively involved in the project and coordinates the exchange of information between FOTEC, ESA and the province of Lower Austria. "Through this research project, space research in Lower Austria is greatly enhanced and gains international visibility. I am convinced that this will lead to further cooperation with research institutions and commercial enterprises and that additional research projects can be brought to Lower Austria," says Governor Mikl-Leitner. The province of Lower Austria is funding the project with 2.85 million euros for four years.