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Using water as a space propulsion system – A new collaboration between startup MIPRONS and Thales Alenia Space

MIPRONS is a start-up founded in 2019 in Segni (Rome), whose aim is to manufacture innovative aerospace components for green and sustainable space operations. The company is supported since July 2021 in the frame of the ESA BIC Lazio programme, financed by the local Government of Regione Lazio, Italian Space Agency and European Space Agency and managed by Lazio Innova and its Spazio Attivo Roma Tecnopolo to facilitate access to space technologies, funds and tutoring services.

In details, for the last two years, MIPRONS has been developing two innovative high-performing miniaturised space propulsion systems adopting water as a propellant. In the first solution water is “split” into hydrogen and oxygen through a water-electrolysis process, while in the second a steam generator is added.

In the long term perspective, with an increasing number of aerospace missions, this innovative space propulsions systems prove to be more sustainable and cheaper than current solutions. Furthermore, due to their scalability, MIPRONS can be installed both on nano-satellites and big satellites, their carriers and last stages of launchers for in orbit servicing. “MIPRONS allows faster maneuvers with a tiny, cheap and sustainable system” says MIPRONS CEO, Angelo Minotti.

Recently MIPRONS has signed a co-development agreement with Thales Alenia Space Italia. The collaboration involves the development of the water-powered micro thruster specifically designed for Thales Alenia Space’s satellites. “We are very proud to team up with MIPRONS, which is gaining increasing international recognition, since our collaboration could well change the paradigm for space missions” said Massimo Claudio Comparini, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in Italy.

MIPRONS propulsion systems patent has been already filed in 50 countries. In the next steps, MIPRONS, which is undergoing a two-year incubation program within ESA BIC Lazio, will validate the prototype by testing their propulsion system under terrestrial and vacuum conditions. “This project is part of a wider strategy that is focused on the use of water in space, both for propulsion and human applications.” – stated Angelo Minotti, CEO of MIPRONS.

Below is the scalable size of the combustion chamber:

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