MEMS Based Micro-Propulsion System for CubeSats and PocketQubes

V. Pallichadath, Stefano Silvestrini, Marsil A. C. Silva, Didier Maxence (Student TU Delft), Dadui C. Guerrieri, Samiksha Mestry, Tatiana Pérez Soriano, Marco Bacaro, Henk van Zeijl, Barry Zandbergen, Angelo Cervone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) techniques uncovered new opportunities in satisfying the mission requirements of the growing next generation nano- and pico-satellite missions. In particular, micro-propulsion is universally recognized as one of the key enabling technologies to help this class of satellites making the next step and become credible candidates to a wide range of scientific and commercial applications. In this context, TU Delft is developing a miniaturized electro-thermal propulsion system operating with green liquid propellants, for application on a wide range of nano-satellite formats from CubeSats (10x10x10 cm units) to PocketQubes (5x5x5 cm units). A breadboard of the complete micro-propulsion system is under development at TU Delft, including the thruster, propellant tank, the valve and the driving electronics. The design of the system shall be easily adapted to both CubeSat and PocketQube standards, with particular attention to the second one since the system is scheduled for an initial flight demonstration on the first Delfi-PQ satellite. To address this need and to fill an existing gap in the state-of-the-art of micro-propulsion, two kinds of micro-thrusters are considered in this development; a Vaporizing Liquid Micro-resistojet (VLM) and a Low Pressure Micro-resistojet (LPM). A number of test results will be shown in the paper on the electrical, mechanical and functional characterization of the MEMS thrusters, fabricated in the Else Kooi Laboratory at TU Delft, and the other components of the system. Keywords: Micro-resistojet, Microthruster, MEMS, Cubesats, Pocketqubes
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Adelaide, Australia, 25-29 September 2017
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event68th International Astronautical Congress: Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security, IAC 2017: Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 25 Sep 201729 Sep 2017
Conference number: 68


Conference68th International Astronautical Congress: Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security, IAC 2017
Abbreviated titleIAC 2017
Internet address


  • Micro-resistojet
  • Microthruster
  • MEMS
  • Cubesats
  • Pocketqubes

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