REGULUS is a complete and compact propulsion unit for CubeSats. REGULUS targets CubeSat platforms ranging from 6U up to 150 kg satellite, as well as CubeSat carriers. The REGULUS propulsion system can work with different propellants, without significant geometry modifications. It is conceived to be "Plug & Play" to avoid difficult integration procedures, and it is built with standard interfaces and without relying on space-grade qualified components to reduce recurring costs.

REGULUS has been developed following ESA ECSS Space Engineering Standards, in some cases applied with reference to the "Tailored ECSS Engineering Standards for In Orbit Demonstration CubeSat Projects" document. Engineering Models (EMs), Qualification Models (QMs) and Flight Models (FMs) models are produced following the ECSS-E-HB-10-02A standard.

The REGULUS design is based on Magnetically Enhanced Plasma Thruster (MEPT) technology, with a simple architecture and no grids or neutralizers. The REGULUS propulsion unit is composed of a discharge chamber, an antenna and a magnetic field generator. Based on helicon technology, the MEPT has been under development in Padua since 2008, focusing on the needs of small platforms, characterized by low power and budget constraints. Proprietary (patented) helicon technology has been developed specifically for micro- and nano-satellites.

REGULUS ended its qualification campaign at the end of 2019 and was launched for its IOD mission on March 22, 2021, integrated in UNISAT-7, a microsatellite designed by the Italian company GAUSS. In UniSat-7, the propulsion system is integrated with all the electronics, fluidic line, iodine tank and structure into a 1.5U envelope, with a total mass of approximately 2.5 kg. In this 1.5 U version, REGULUS will provide 0.55 mN thrust and 550 s of specific impulse at 50 W of input power, with a total impulse up to 3000 Ns. In this version REGULUS is operated with iodine propellant. During the overall mission, REGULUS will demonstrate the advanced capabilities of Unisat-7 with electric propulsion on board. Several REGULUS operations will be performed, such as the variation of altitude for the imaging payload operations, the simulation of orbital operations to spread CubeSat injection into different orbits and UniSat-7 decommissioning. REGULUS will also prove UniSat-7's capabilities of drag compensation and orbital maneuvers.

Key applications that REGULUS can be used for include:

  • High Delta-V missions
  • Orbit raising
  • Drag compensation
  • Formation flying
  • Decommissioning

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Last updated: 2021-07-29




2.5 kg
mass flow rate
0.1 mg/s
95.0 mm
93.8 mm
151.0 mm
propellant type
power consumption
30 to 60 W
0.25 to 0.65 mN
total impulse
3000 to 11000 N s
specific impulse
< 650 s
12 V


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