With Electra, OHB develops an advanced electrically powered telecommunications satellite in the sub-three-ton weight class. Artemis, a communications satellite operated by ESA, successfully tested the concept of using solely electric propulsion to achieve a geostationary orbit for the first time. Concept tests on the ESA satellite Artemis showed that electric propulsion systems reduce propellant mass requirements by up to 90 % compared with chemical propulsion systems. Consequently, it is possible to reduce the launch mass of the satellite by almost half.
Electra is now to be used to systematically broaden the scope for implementing this technology in a specially designed satellite system. With this contract, OHB is tapping a substantially larger area of business in commercial telecommunications and adding an innovative new propulsion system design to its SmallGEO range.
OHB SWEDEN CONTRIBUTION
OHB Sweden is a Core Team Partner in the Small GEO Telecom satellite programme and we are responsible for the attitude and orbit control and electrical propulsion subsystems. This propulsion system includes an innovative robotic arm that allows the same motors to be used both during orbit transfer and during station keeping in GEO-stationary position.
Electra is a public-private partnership under the ESA ARTES 33 program serving the purpose of providing the satellite communications industry, manufactories as well as application end-users, with innovative products and systems. The project initially entails the platform development which in a further step is to lead to a joint mission with industrial project partner end-user partners.