Pale Blue has been selected to demonstrate the KIR-X, next generation water Hybrid Thruster under JAXA’s Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration-4. The KIR-X is an enhanced system to its Hybrid Thruster family, which incorporates a water vapor resistojet and a gridded ion thruster into one integrated unit, and the system will fly on JAXA’s RAISE-4 satellite after extensive testing and qualification on the ground.
The RAISE-4 is planned for a fiscal year 2024 launch, and in-orbit demonstration is meant to confirm KIR-X’s in-space propulsion performance by analyzing the satellite attitude and orbit information.
The KIR-X is an advanced hybrid propulsion system that runs on the ultimate green propellant, water. The thruster takes advantage of both the high fuel efficiency of a water ion thruster, ideal for non-urgent operations such as station-keeping and deorbit, and the high thrust of a water resistojet, suitable for quick maneuvers including orbit-acceleration and collision avoidance. Satellite operators can selectively choose a thrusting mode between the two options by a simple command.
Additional new theme for Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration-4 (No.2) (Japanese)
Pale Blue is a spacetech company span out from the University of Tokyo in 2020. The company is dedicated to providing a propulsion solution for spacecraft and it produces a range of systems that use water as a propellant. Through its innovative propulsion technology, Pale Blue aims to develop a space ecosystem where in-space mobility is not only affordable but completely safe to both humans and the surrounding environment.
Emily Okuhara, Manager of Marketing & Communications of Pale Blue