FEEP Cluster - Generic FEEP Cluster Qualification

The goal of this research task is to demonstrate the long operating capabilities required for such missions that may exceed several thousands of hours as well as to build a cluster of several emitters that can still be operated by a single high voltage power supply. This cluster has to comply with increasing thrust demands by the satellites.

Short Description

Field emission electric propulsion (FEEP) is a technology that enables missions that require ultra-precise attitude and orbit control, such as scientific satellites measuring gravitational waves (LISA) or detect extra-terrestrial planets using telescope interferometers in space (DARWIN). Ion sources developed at ARC Seiberdorf research are a key element for such thrusters.

After the design and construction of the cluster prototype, the thruster will undergo a 5000 h endurance test. These results will then be compared to the analysis of a lifetime prediction model to extrapolate the test data to the overall mission durability required. In support of the qualification, a unique μN thrust balance will be designed and built that enables to directly measure the tiny forces and the thrust noise generated by the cluster.

Our partner MAGNA Steyr will transfer our cluster design to a flight representative design taking thermal and structural issues into account. After qualification, an Austrian FEEP thruster will be available to support some of the most challenging future European science satellites and enable new insights into our universe.

Project Partners


ARC Seibersdorf research GmbH - Martin Tajmar (Space Propulsion)


MAGNA Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik AG & Co KG – Div. Space Technology - August Fenz

Contact Address

ARC Seibersdorf research GmbH
Martin Tajmar (Space Propulsion)
A-2444 Seibersdorf
E-mail: martin.tajmar@arcs.ac.at