Following the launch of six Planet SkySats on a Minotaur-C rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base on October 31st, 2017, Bradford ECAPS announces the successful commissioning of all six propulsion systems from ECAPS, including firings of the 1 Newton maneuvering thrusters. This was confirmed through a series of tests and maneuvers conducted by Planet from November 7 to November 16. The successful launch, deployment and commissioning takes the number of successful spacecraft with ECAPS thrusters to 12 and the number of ECAPS thrusters on orbit to 48. The spacecraft constellation will be used to further Planet’s mission to provide geospatial information to its customers.

Said Mathias Persson, Business Director of Bradford ECAPS, the builder of the propulsion subsystems and thrusters “We are very pleased to see the successful commissioning of our subsystems. It is fantastic to see the fruits of all the hard work between our employees and our suppliers and, of course, our partner Planet”.

Said Pete Friedhoff, Propulsion Lead for Planet, “We’ve successfully completed commissioning of the newest six ECAPS systems on SkySat-8 through SkySat-13. The propulsion modules are healthy and performing nominally. I’m extremely pleased with the operational performance of the 11 ECAPS systems across Planet’s SkySat fleet.”

SECAPS’ High Performance Green Propulsion technology is an emerging choice by spacecraft manufacturers as an enhanced alternative to existing hydrazine based solutions. The system provides a unique high-density storage, is high-performant and, due to the low-toxicity and low sensitivity of the propellant, easy to transport and handle. These unique assets provide manufacturers and operators potentially profound savings through the elimination of launch-site fueling and enhancing overall spacecraft payload mass. In addition to further SkySats, ECAPS thrusters are slated to be part of satellite missions in the US and Asia to be launched in the next two years.

Said Ian Fichtenbaum, Director of Bradford ECAPS, “It is a very exciting time for Bradford ECAPS and the ECAPS system. The system allows the total cost of ownership and time to handle spacecraft to potentially fall dramatically, thus opening space operations to a whole new level. We look forward to getting the message out to the community."