Charge Exchange Thruster

ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs & Their Applications

The CUAVA Engineering team have just taken delivery of the engineering model of a Charge Exchange Thruster, developed under project 1.1 by CUAVA post-doctoral researcher, Dr Richard Bowden-Reid.

The Charge Exchange Thruster (CXT) is a novel electric propulsion system, invented and developed at the University of Sydney. The device makes use of fundamental atomic processes within a discharge plasma to produce a plume of very high-velocity neutral particles (>100km/s), generating thrust without the need for external plume-neutralisation systems. The CXT concept is highly flexible, offering a wide selection of viable fuels and a broad range of operational powers (<1 Watts – 100 Watts), making the system suitable for a variety of mission types – from space-craft attitude correction and station keeping, to mission enabling orbital manoeuvres.

In 2023, CUAVA will launch a prototype CXT payload aboard the CUAVA-2 CubeSat, carrying out a program of experimental validation in Low Earth Orbit