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The first tests in space confirmed the operability of the VERA plasma engine developed at MEPhI

The pulsed plasma engine VERA, developed at the National Research Nuclear University (NRNU) (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, MEPhI), was first tested during a real space flight and confirmed its performance. This was reported in Sitronics Group.

Passed the first tests of the pulsed plasma engine VERA (Volume-Effective Rocket-propulsion Assembly) during a real space flight. The tested propulsion system is on board the CubeSX-HSE-2 nanosatellite of the Higher School of Economics (HSE)”, — said in Sitronics Group.

The test events consisted of several manually controlled discharges in the engine. The purpose of the tests was to check the performance of all systems. “The operability of the propulsion system was confirmed: the capacitor charging system, upon command from the Earth, regularly charges the capacitor bank, the discharge initiation system, upon command from the Earth, performs its work properly.,” the IT company said.

The HSE CubeSat 3U space mission is being implemented with the support of the Innovation Assistance Foundation as part of the Planet Duty Officer competition. The spacecraft platform was manufactured by Sputniks (part of the Sitronics Group). Longer tests, allowing for a noticeable orbital maneuver, require updating the software of the satellite platform, which is what Sputnik engineers are currently doing, the company said.

In the event of a successful demonstration of orbital maneuvering, Laser Eye LLC, a small enterprise of the LaPlaz Institute of National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, which is responsible for the development of the VERA propulsion system, will begin its mass production next year.

The VERA engine will allow small satellites to occupy and then efficiently maintain the required positions in the orbital plane for a long time. In addition, the plasma engine will help solve the problem of space debris. At the end of their lives, nanosatellites equipped with engines can lower their orbit height on their own, thereby reducing the time before combustion in the upper atmosphere by 2-3 times.

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