Green micro-resistojet research at Delft University of Technology: the new frontiers of Cubesat propulsion

A Cervone, BTC Zandbergen, D. Cordeiro Guerrieri, M. de Athayde Costa e Silva, Henk van Zeijl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
333 Downloads (Pure)


The aerospace industry is recently expressing a growing interest in green, safe and non-toxic propellants for the propulsion systems of the new generation of space vehicles, which is especially true in the case of Cubesat micro-propulsion systems. Demanding requirements are associated to the future missions and challenges offered by this class of spacecraft, where the availability of a propulsion system might open new possibilities for a wide range of applications including orbital maintenance and transfer, formation flying and attitude control. To accomplish these requirements, Delft University of Technology is currently developing two different concepts of waterpropelled micro-thrusters based on MEMS technologies: a free molecular micro-resistojet operating with sublimating solid water (ice) at low plenum gas pressure of less than 600 Pa, and a more conventional micro-resistojet operating with liquid water heated and vaporized by means of a custom designed silicon heating chamber. In this status review paper, the current design and future expected developments of the two micro-propulsion concepts is presented and discussed, together with an initial analysis of the expected
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-125
Number of pages15
JournalCEAS Space Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event5th CEAS air and space conference - Aula TU Delft, Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 7 Sep 201511 Sep 2015


  • Micro-propulsion
  • Resistojet
  • CubeSats
  • Green propellants


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