Dawn Aerospace – B20 Thruster – Green Chemical Propulsion



The Dawn Aerospace B20 Thruster is a green chemical propulsion system that has been designed from inception to be a simple, effective propulsion system for satellite builders, for 50 to 250 kg+ small satellites. It is modular and scalable to suit satellites of a wide range of sizes and total impulse requirements, from 500 – 250,000+ Ns. It is space-proven and has been previously launched by SpaceX, VEGA and Soyuz-2, on both CubeSats and 200 kg class satellites.

Tanks and feed systems are designed per ECSS standards, specific to each customer’s total impulse and configuration requirements. Dawn’s thruster can be operated in both ambient and vacuum environments, allowing for easy and robust on-ground integration and testing.

By utilising nitrous oxide and propene propellants in a self-pressurising configuration, this green propulsion architecture has increased capabilities compared to hydrazine, LMP-103S (ADN), AF-M315E (HAN) fuel-blend systems.

Key features of Dawn’s B20 Thruster include:

  • Cold-start capable: Yes
  • Mounting: 3x M5 threaded holes
  • Regulatory: REACH compliant and ITAR free
  • Inlet pressure range: oxidiser 27.7 to 72.0 bar, fuel 5.0 to 14.7 bar
  • Flow rate range: oxidiser 2.3 to 6.9 g/s, fuel 0.26 to 0.88 g/s
  • Mixture ratio: 8.5 to 9.2 (nominal), 6.0 to 11.0 (range)

Customers can choose to use Dawn’s in-house Fluidics Ground Support Equipment (FGSE) equipment or have custom systems built and delivered. Dawn has experience in building robust FSGE systems to suit various satellite sizes and launch sites, including Guiana Space Centre and Kennedy Space Centre.

Dawn can deliver complete turn-key propulsion systems, complete with thrusters, propellant tanks, feed system and thruster control electronics. A full-service partner, Dawn provides support in hardware, logistics, systems integration, propellant sourcing and onsite fueling.

Dawn’s thrusters range is characterized by the following:

  • Self-pressurizing propellants: No helium pressurisation systems required. This enables simple, lightweight and low-cost feed system and tank designs. Stable pressure throughout the satellite’s life ensures constant thrust and Isp of >285 s.
  • Commonly available propellants: They can be sourced from local industrial gas suppliers and are not subject to export control restrictions. They are REACH compliant and ITAR free.
  • Electric based ignition: No preheating of catalysts results in significant power savings. It also means thrusters are rapidly cold-start capable, with unlimited cold-start capability.
  • Thrusters fire in both ambient and vacuum environments: Combined with non-toxic propellants, this allows for simple satellite integration and representative hardware testing at system level with live or simulated propellants, without the need for specialised testing environments.
  • Thrusters operate in both hot and cold-gas modes: This means the same thruster can perform both high-performance burns and fine impulse manoeuvres.
  • Low power draw: with an average firing power of 12.5W per thruster while firing.
  • 6 DOF capable: through a fully integrated RCS system.