With the aim to take the use of iodine as the propellant of choice in electric thrusters to the next level, the EC-funded iFACT (iodine Fed Advanced Cusp Field thruster) project has developed and demonstrated ground-breaking results, ranging from key building blocks that foster the use of iodine as disruptive propellant for electric thruster, the maturation of the Advanced Cusp Field Thruster (ACFT) as innovative electric thruster principle, and the calcium aluminate (C12A7) as promising material for cathodes, to the significant reduction and simplification of the Power Processing Unit (PPU).
The iFACT simplified electric propulsion subsystem (ACFT), combining simplicity with efficiency, is an extremely cost-effective electric propulsion device that can be used in a wide power range and for many applications, such as satellite constellations or telecom satellites but also for Earth observation and science missions. Since 2020, three different iodine fed thrusters have been built and tested.
The iFACT project officially started in January 2020 and had a duration of 30 months. The total budget of the project was approximately 2M €, funded by the European Commission under H2020-SPACE-2019 topic SPACE-13-TEC-2019 “SRC – In-Space electrical propulsion and station keeping” (Grant Agreement number 870336).