Astrium and ECAPS develops a new ‘green’ propulsion system

18 June 2013

  • Astrium signs cooperation agreement with ECAPS for the development of a "green" space propulsion system concept using ADN (Ammonium Dinitramide) based technology
  • Astrium to bring in its expertise and experience in manufacturing, integration and provision of satellite platforms and propulsion systems
  • ECAPS to provide its expertise in the development and qualification of ADN (Ammonium Dinitramide) based thruster and propellant technology

Astrium, Europe’s leading space company, has entered into an agreement with ECAPS, a company of the Swedish Space Corporation Group (SSC), to jointly develop a “green” propulsion system concept, which is based on ADN technology. This concept focuses on the target of directing the future of space propulsion technology to sustainability, eco-friendliness and reduced toxicity on ground, and easy and safe operation capabilities in space.

Under the terms of this agreement Astrium will initially complement its existing capabilities in the field of in-space propulsion technologies. Furthermore, this landmark initiative supports Astrium’s intention to be an environmental-friendly company.

The cooperation sees long-term research, marketing and production collaboration between the two entities in order to further advance their cutting edge propulsion capacities. Under the new agreement Astrium will bring in its expertise and experience in manufacturing, integration and provision of satellite platforms and propulsion systems while ECAPS will provide its expertise in the development and qualification of Ammonium Dinitramide based technologies, in particular thrusters and propellant.

Dr. Andreas Rohne, Director of Astrium’s Propulsion and Equipment said: “This agreement is the result of intense discussions following several years of cooperation between Astrium and ECAPS. Astrium is to pursue this long-term strategic partnership for the sake of both parties and the space industry in general”.

The signing of this agreement marks the beginning of a long-term partnership between Astrium and ECAPS for the development of propulsion systems for future satellite propulsion systems, roll control systems for launch vehicles and many other propulsion applications yet to come.

Astrium is one of the world’s leaders with respect to expertise in space transportation, spacecraft and satellite services. It is best known as the prime contractor for Ariane 5, the Columbus Space Laboratory, the Automated Transfer Vehicle for the International Space Station and for its leading-edge geostationary telecommunications satellites and Earth observation spacecraft.

ECAPS High Performance Green Propellant (HPGP) technology, which utilizes Ammonium Dinitramide (ADN) based monopropellant, is environmentally benign and significantly easier for both transport and handling than the traditionally used hydrazine monopropellant. These favorable characteristics provide increased flexibility for spacecraft manufacturers whose mission concepts require the ability to launch from various sites around the world. In addition, HPGP has demonstrated higher on-orbit performance than traditional hydrazine systems.


ECAPS is the market leader in green propellant technology, with a flight-demonstrated solution to provide both increased performance and reduced life-cycle costs. ECAPS’ High Performance Green Propellant (HPGP) technology includes a family of thrusters currently ranging from 0.5N to 220N, alternate propellants and propulsion sub-systems. The storable Ammonium Dinitramide (ADN) based liquid monopropellant is easy to handle and transport due to its low toxicity and low sensitivity, and has received the so called UN/DOT 1.4S transport classification, thus allowing it to be transported on commercial passenger aircraft. 

About Astrium 

Astrium is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the third in the world. It is the only global company that covers the full range of civil and defence space systems, equipment and services.

In 2012, Astrium had a turnover over €5.8 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide.

Its three business units are: Astrium Space Transportation, the European prime contractor for launchers, orbital systems and space exploration; Astrium Satellites, a leading provider of satellite system solutions, including spacecraft, ground segments, payloads and equipments; Astrium Services, the Space services partner for critical missions, providing comprehensive fixed and mobile solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.

Astrium is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2012, the Group – comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of €56.5 billion and employed a workforce of over 140,000.

Press contacts:

Jeremy Close
Media Relations UK
Astrium United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 1 438 77 3872
Gregory Gavroy
Astrium France
Media Relations France
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32
Ralph Heinrich
Media Relations Germany
Airbus Defence and Space Germany
Tel.: +49 89 60 73 39 71
Fax: +49 89 60 78 53 39
Francisco Lechon
Media Relations Spain
Airbus Defence and Space Spain
Tel.: +34 91 5 86 37 41
Fax: +34 91 5 86 37 82


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