Moltkestraße, Cologne, Germany
Neutron Star Systems is a leading market enabler for high power space missions. We develop disruptive and robust electric propulsion (EP) systems and subsystems based on the latest superconductor technology. This unique space electric propulsion technology is suitable for three main markets:
• Automated Transfer Vehicles for spacecraft servicing,
• Lunar and cis-lunar transportation, and;
• Mars cargo missions.
NSS is developing the SUPREME thruster – an EP technology that offers a unique combination of features based on superior operational flexibility, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and thrust efficiency compared to the competition. In high-power applications, the SUPREME thruster outperforms status-quo EP technology, cutting costs by millions of euros through propellant mass savings.
The SUPREME thruster is a magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster. Unlike other potential high-power EP systems, MPD thrusters have a 60-year research heritage and their technology is well understood. Furthermore, they are far simpler and more reliable than potential competitors such as VASIMR. MPD thrusters have been previously limited by the large mass of the electrical components. With the introduction of high temperature superconductors (HTS), these obstacles can be overcome.
Through the SUPREME consortium, we have built a unique network of actors which bring together the technological knowledge and experience required to develop this technology. This consists of prestigious research institutions such as the Institute of Space Systems at the University of Stuttgart, a major industrial prime in Airbus Defence & Space, several expert SMEs, and the German Aerospace Center. This consortium is a fundamental part of our network of partners ready to support our technology development program starting with a 5 kW technology demonstrator to reach TRL 5 and subsequently to develop a 20 kW thruster prototype together with our primes and major stakeholders.