Bradford has acquired 100% of the shares of ECAPS AB from SSC (Swedish Space Corporation), resulting in a major expansion into non-toxic spacecraft propulsion systems.

In a definitive agreement reached July 6th, 2017, the shares of ECAPS AB, a Sweden-based developer and manufacturer of non-toxic (aka: green) space propulsion systems, were sold to the Bradford Holding Company Ltd., which is the controlling shareholder of Bradford, a Netherlands-based builder of spacecraft control & components and micro-gravity facilities for the space station. The acquisition represents an expansion of Bradford’s product lines into full propulsions systems. The two companies will continue to operate substantially standalone from each other, while taking advantage of synergies in marketing, engineering and administration.

ECAPS, otherwise known as Ecological Advanced Propulsion Systems, is an emerging choice by spacecraft manufacturers as an alternative to existing hydrazine based solutions. Compared to traditional propulsion, High Performance Green Propulsion (HPGP) provides higher specific impulse and higher propellant density, which results in increased performance. The propellant is based on ADN (Ammonium DiNitrimide) and is considerably less toxic, non- carcinogenic and much simpler to handle than hydrazine. The architecture of HPGP propulsion systems consists of commercial components with extensive flight heritage. The technology enables a simplified transition away from hydrazine, and allows overall reduced mission cost.

Spacecraft that have used ECAPS thrusters include Planet (formerly Terra Bella/Skybox Imaging) SkySats, which are inherited from the former PRISMA successes.

“Current exciting industry trends looking for non-toxic propellant solutions, together with a rapidly growing interest in small satellites, yields a unique strategic fit with Bradford” said Patrick van Put, Technical & Business director of Bradford.

The acquisition of ECAPS represents the first under its current ownership by AIAC and furthers AIAC’s interest in expanding throughout various sectors of the space and satellite industry. “Acquiring ECAPS is a special moment in our development of Bradford and AIAC as a substantial player in the space systems market. We are delighted that have been able to grow with the acquisition of such an exciting set of products for the new space market”, said Ian Fichtenbaum, director of Bradford and the space and satellite specialist for AIAC.

The ECAPS product line will continue to be marketed to the space systems community, now under the label of “Bradford ECAPS”. Senior members of both the Bradford and ECAPS teams will be reaching out to the community, most significantly at the July 10th-12th AIAA/SAE/ASEE Propulsion & Energy conference in Atlanta, Georgia and at the August 5th-10th 31st AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites in Logan, Utah.

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