Demonstrate ECRA potential at thrust level
The main objective of the project is to bring the ECRA technology from TRL3 to TRL4/5, in order to demonstrate its potential in a large range of thrust levels. To reach this goal, the following achievements are planned:
Get a full understanding of the physics, by numerical modelling studies in parallel to an extensive experimental investigation, leading to optimised designs, performance maps and scaling laws for the thruster;Demonstrate ECRA performances with tests at three thrust levels (30 W, 200 W and 1 kW) and with erosion tests;Demonstrate features such as compatibility with alternative propellants and magnetic beam steering;Demonstrate the feasibility of an efficient microwave generator, and tests it on the thruster;Determine quantitatively the impact of the ECRA technology on the EP system, including the PPU (Power Processing Unit), and establish the future industrial roadmaps for development. These roadmaps shall aim at realising a high TRL in the timeframe of 2023-2024.
Toward European competitiveness
The MINOTOR project will result in a significant step in maturity of the ECRA technology, and will help assess its potential to improve European competitiveness, help develop low-cost satellite solutions for constellation management, including end-of-life propulsion, while paving the way for other future emerging electric propulsion technologies.