Out of this world
- A satellite electric propulsion system that’s on-track to run on water instead of conventional space fuel, and built by a Singapore startup with less than 10 team members? That’s 500-backed spacetech company Aliena for you!
- Adding to their list of achievements: they are the first Singapore space propulsion company to partner with the European Space Agency (ESA), which will be testing Aliena’s new hollow cathode – a crucial component of the water-fed Hall effect thruster – paving the way for it to be deployed in satellites as soon as within the next 3 years.
- That’s not all! Earlier this year, Aliena’s thrusters were part of a satellite on a rocket launched by SpaceX. Thrusters enable satellites to move to specific positions in space.
- What’s the secret to the company’s success? “Innovation and partnerships,” said Dr. Mark Lim, Co-founder & CEO. “[It’s] what gives you the edge over your competitors.” Co-founder & CTO George-Cristian Potrivitu added. “Collaborating with companies and institutions that have been in the industry longer than us and are respected for their work can only help to bring our own status higher.”
- That’s how Aliena co-created a more sustainable thruster that uses water for fuel — by working with partners in the UK. “Electric thrusters typically run on noble gases like xenon, which are very rare and expensive,” explained George.
- The company’s thruster uses less than 10W of power – that’s only about 1% of what a conventional Hall effect thruster (a type of electric propulsion system) consumes. It also ignites on demand, unlike traditional ones which require up to 10 minutes to start.
- Aliena has the numbers to show for it too — the company nearly quadrupled its income from last year to 7 figures this year.
- Read the full story on The Business Times.
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