FEEP - Austrian FEEP Technology

The Austrian FEEP (Field-Emission-Electric-Propulsion) Technology for space application derived from the chargecontrol units developed for former space projects by ARC Seibersdorf research has been further developed since the Austrian FEEP Cooperation was founded. It has reached a technical status which promises to be very attractive forupcoming projects within the ESA Earth Observation- and Scientific Programme as well as the developing commercial market.

Short Description

FEEPs are actually the only available technology which can provide the requested fine attitude control, station keeping and drag free operation for the ESA Programmes like GOCE, LISA; GAIA, etc. where very accurately controlled thrusts between 1 μN and 100 μN are required.

Major aims of the development work were

  • Design and analysis of a FEEP Thruster Package, able to fulfil the requirements of a dedicated spacecraft mission – in this specific case the requirements and applicable documents of the GOCE Mission (Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Mission, part of ESA’s Earth Observation Programme) have been taken as the baseline.
  • Manufacturing of a breadboard to perform thermal testing to compare the hardware-behaviour with detailed analysis results.
  • Specification of the interface to a necessary control electronics to run the whole subsystem using high voltage up to 12 KV.
  • Development of a facility for the filling and/or wetting of In-FEEP Emitters, allowing a controlled, highly reproducible, time and cost saving manufacture of the required emitters.
  • Study of possible miniaturisation and clustering technologies to reduce volume and weight compared with the actual designed technology.

The defined work packages have been successfully fulfilled, nevertheless some key requirements could not be reached, specifically the thermal housekeeping together with the power budget need further developments.

Project Partners


MAGNA STEYR Fahrzeugtechnik AG & Co KG, Space Technology - August Fenz


ARC Seibersdorf research - Peter Sattler

Contact Address