The nanosatellite URSA MAIOR micropropulsion system

F. Santoni*, G. Manzoni, P. Miotti, F. De Grandis, G. Mosetti, E. Di Fabrizio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A cold gas micropropulsion system for attitude control, installed on the one liter nanosatellite URSA MAIOR, is described. The system uses nitrogen gas stored in a tank as a propellant, improving the specific impulse by heating the gas before it reaches the expansion nozzle. The most innovative components of the system are the microthrusters, manufactured on a few millimeters size silicon chip, which allows to obtain very low thrust levels at a high efficiency. The micropropulsion system design, integration and performance evaluation are discussed in the paper. The theoretical performance is compared with ground testing results, showing a very good agreement. The system can be scaled to the needs of different missions, giving thrusts ranging from 20μN to 2mN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-436
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP
Issue number516
StatePublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes
Event5th ESA International Conference on Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation and Control Systems - Frascati, Italy
Duration: Oct 22 2002Oct 25 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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