Since 2011, the Occitanie Regional Council has been supporting COMAT in its development of innovative equipment for nanosatellites. The Occitanie Regional Council aims at promoting a first French commercial nanosatellite platform through European funding (ERDF) and Innovation Support Contracts. Within this scope, COMAT designs and produces reactions wheels, as well as a plasma electric propulsion system.
Reaction wheels for nanosatellites
COMAT is designing and building top-quality reaction wheels thanks to a cross-development between nanosatellite technology and “standard” space equipment.
This equipment will be qualified in 2018 and will offer an excellent reliability. It is especially designed for a specific range of nanosatellites (12U to 20U), of interest to many space platforms. Its practical size (3 reaction wheels fit in 1U) makes it a ready-to-plug flight-set.
Another considerable plus is its brushless motor with low-friction bearings that results in a lower power consumption.
Plasma jet pack for nanosatellites
COMAT is designing a propulsion system equipment that uses solid propellant. This technology allows a longer lifetime for nanosatellites and new capacities for orbit positioning. Besides, this concept significantly simplifies the architecture of the propulsion unit.
The propulsion force on satellites is due to matter being ejected in the opposite direction (the so-called action-reaction principle). The choice of a propulsion method is indeed a key factor for new prospects of space systems. COMAT’s system allows the expulsion of high speed plasma. The ejection velocity of COMAT’s plasma jet pack is thus higher than competing technologies, and therefore increases thruster efficiency.
COMAT has already tested and characterized prototypes, and is working now on optimisation and reliability. This equipment will be launched on the market in the following months.