European Space Agency

10N Thruster Qualification for Eurostar


The scope of the 10N Thruster Qualification activities is the new qualification of Astrium's 10N Bi-propellant thruster Type S10-21 in view of a remarkably extended number of pulses for Eurostar 3000 satellite platforms (required 921.303 pulses compared to previously qualified 497.668 pulses).

The actual qualification extension became necessary due to the fact that the satellite operators are using the thruster in a much more extended application than previous qualified within several programmes. Therefore the actual qualification is needed for satellites in orbit to confirm their new duty cycles requirements during the satellite lifetime, as well as to allow Astrium SAS as satellite provider to propose to their customer an optimised / extended qualification box.

The requirements for these extended thruster operations were defined by Astrium SAS for the European GEO platform Eurostar 3000. A detailed qualification logic and test plan was worked out for the verification of the thruster performance and quality.

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The key issues of this project are to qualify thruster S10-21 for:

  • A higher number of pulses compared to the original qualification,
  • An extended pressure box,
  • An additional range of on-station pulse duty cycles.


Project Objective is to provide continuously 10N thrusters of required performance and quality for the European GEO platforms in order to fully support the marketing efforts of the European primes.


The 10N Thruster Qualification uses a standard acceptance tested flight thruster. It is performed in several functional steps where the hot firing part represents the major part of the qualification effort.

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The qualification hot firing sequence includes:

  • A repetition of the nominal acceptance test hot firing sequence as a baseline reference,
  • Steady state (SSF) and pulse mode (PMF) firings with propellant at ambient temperature (20°C),
  • Hot and cold hardware start-up temperatures, hot re-start, heat soak back and helium gas ingestion characterizations,
  • Pulse mode (PMF) firings with propellant inlet temperatures of 60°C and afterwards -5°C,
  • A final nominal acceptance test hot firing sequence in order to verify any change in performance.

Current status

The 10N Thruster Qualification for Eurostar is now completed and the data package is currently under preparation.

Status date

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 13:07