The European Space Agency has contracted NanoAvionics to develop and Integrated Fast-Response Valve Injector to be used for small satellite chemical propulsion applications

Press releases
  • Vaida Karaliunaite
  • 2017-11-02

NanoAvionics has been contracted to develop a laboratory-proven concept prototype of a highly integrated fast-response propellant flow control valve injector (IFRV) for use with contemporary high-performance green monopropellant thrusters for small satellite applications. The purpose of the IFRV is to maximize the current state-of-the-art concerning green monopropellant thruster performance especially during operations with short firing durations or pulse modes where high-precision maneuvering is needed, and to expand the application of green monopropellant-based thruster systems.

The IFRV is a critical component for miniaturized satellite propulsion systems, which injects propellant into a thruster and controls its flow. Currently, there is no such valve injector available on the market, which is highly integrated, fast-response and suitable for use with contemporary high-performance green monopropellant thrusters. The valve injector, which will be developed by NanoAvionics, will also be compatible with other similar mono-propellants as well as bi-propellants, as the fundamental problems related to the control valves are similar in nature.

The proposed IFRV developed to the point of a market-ready product would significantly improve the available performance of green propulsion systems, eliminating parasitic propellant passage volume (or dribble volume), thereby significantly decreasing propellant consumption (up to 40% in certain modes) through the maximized propellant supply system’s performance and maximizing the specific impulse of the thruster.

The IFRV could be beneficial for future European Space Agency (ESA) small satellite missions which require precise maneuvering and pointing and station-keeping capabilities, such as: Asteroid Impact Mission, Lunar CubeSats for Exploration, etc.

The project is expected to be finalized in 2019.


The Contract announced above was carried out by the Government of Lithuania through an ESA Contract under the PECS (Plan for European Cooperating States).
The views expressed therein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinions of the ESA.