The ESA has developed a new model of small CubeSat satellites, is able to change orbit with a butane engines installed in their buildings. The first such satellites GomX-4B and GomX-4A — will be launched in early February, 2018.
Both units have a small set of research equipment and a small coaxial thrusters, which can move vosmikaltsievy the satellite at a speed of 15 meters per second. To maneuver the unit will be able through successive pairwise or switching engines. The developers note that fuel will last about one hour of continuous flight.
“The fuel is under pressure and exits through a small nozzle. Using liquid butane, we were able to achieve a significant increase in the speed of the aircraft. In liquid form the gas is approximately 1000 times denser than gas, so we managed to fit in the tank quite a large amount of butane that will last for an hour flight,” — said the head of the company NanoSpace, which developed the engines.
After separation from the launch vehicle GomX-4A and 4B deployed antennas to each other and used thrusters to move away and test inter-satellite communications. Next, engineers will test various modes of operation of the engines to make sure that everything is working as it should.