The ENPULSION NANO AR³ is a propulsion system with no moving parts and active thrust vector control evolved from the flight-proven ENPULSION NANO and design of NANO R3.

The ENPULSION NANO AR³ allows to control actively its resulting thrust vector – without any moving parts. It can therefore steer, correct for CoG mismatch, or enable advanced missions requiring thrust pointing. It also features the same excellent controllability over the full thrust range and a low thrust noise of the heritage ENPULSION NANO.

Due to the efficient ionization process, which allows the capacity to ionize up to 60% of the evaporated Indium atoms, the ENPULSION NANO AR³ can provide a higher specific impulse than any other ion propulsion system currently on the market.

The core of the ENPULSION NANO AR³ is a mature technology, developed under ESA contracts for 15 years, and is further building on the heritage of the ENPULSION NANO, leveraging the proven design and component selection.

The ENPULSION NANO AR³ contains no moving parts and the indium propellant is in its solid state at room temperature. Avoiding any liquid and reactive propellants as well as pressurized tanks significantly simplifies handling, integration, and launch procedures.

All EEE components of the ENPULSION NANO AR³ are procured in lot-controlled batches. Selected sets of these batches are subjected to radiation testing, so that each thruster can be traced back to a fully representative qualification model. EEE components were selected and integrated to be more tolerant to TID and SEE.

The thruster is assembled into a protective casing that shields the electronics from the hazardous space radiation environment, facilitates handling during integration, and allows side mounting.

The ENPULSION Nano AR³ uses differential emission throttling within the proprietary crown ion emitter to control actively the emitted ion beam and, therefore, thrust. The thrust vector capability is an additional feature compared to the ENPULSION NANO R 3 and does not reduce total impulse capability. The dependency of maximum thrust on thrust vector angle is shown on the left.

While the required power to operate the ENPULSION NANO AR³ starts at around 8 W, at higher thrust levels one can choose between high thrust and high specific impulse operation. The ENPULSION NANO AR³ can operate at an Isp range of 2,000 to 6,000 s. At any given thrust point, higher Isp operation will increase the total impulse, while it will also increase the power demand. The thruster can be operated along the full dynamic range throughout the mission. This means that high Isp and low Isp maneuvers can be included in a mission planning, as well as high thrust orbit maneuver and low thrust precision control maneuvers.


Key features

  • Active thrust vector control
  • Controllable specific impulse up to 6000 s
  • Mature technology
  • Safe and inert system
  • Rad-tolerant electronics
  • Protective casing

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Last updated: 2024-02-19

ENPULSION NANO AR³ Propulsion System




dynamic thrust range
10 µN - 0.35 mN
nominal thrust
350 µN
specific impulse
2000 to 6000 s
propellant mass
220 g
total impulse
> 5000 N s
power at nominal thrust
40 W incl. neutralizer
98.0 mm
99.0 mm
95.3 mm
dry mass
< 1230 g
wet mass
< 1450 g
total system power
8 to 40 W
hot standby power
3.5 W
temperature envelope
-40 to 95 C
operating temperature
-20 to 40 C
12 V
28 V
lead time
30 weeks after receipt of deposit

1. Other voltages available on request.


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