The Israel Space Agency (ISA) is set to demonstrate its 100 per cent electric propulsion system by launching it on Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) small-sized satellite in the next three years. This demonstration will go on to show the use of this technology in keeping satellites in orbit and ensuring a required manoeuvre based merely on electric propulsion.
Avi Blasberger, Director General – Israel Space Agency, told TNIE: “ISA is working on full-scale development of electric propulsion. The launch will take place on an Indian small-sized satellite, which will be put in low-earth orbit 2.5-3 years from now.” Blasberg was talking against the backdrop of the Bengaluru Tech Summit, slated November 18-20. He will host a session on November 19 at 2 pm, where Israeli companies will showcase their technologies being repurposed for space application.
Developing electric propulsion was one of the three feasibility studies between the two countries in 2017, he added. The other two were on atomic clocks and GEO-LEO Optical Link. While feasibility studies on the atomic clock are completed and negotiations are on between the two space agencies on its implementation, the GEO-LEO Optical Link is yet to be initiated to boost the rate of data transfer from GEO to LEO satellites, which in turn are in continuous communication with ground stations on earth.
Meanwhile, ISA has also been focusing on nanosatellites. With ISRO alone, it has launched three nanosatellites – two in 2017 as part of ISRO’s PSLV-C37 that launched 104 satellites in a single flight; and one in 2019, by a student from Sha’ar HaNegev High School and other schools in collaboration with Herzliya Space Center in Israel for an autonomous microgravity experiment in space. ISA will be part of the Artemis mission. If its astronaut vests are approved, they will be officially used by the astronauts – a man and a woman – who are slated to set foot on the moon by 2024.