Massy, France


The video below is a presentation by a representative of Exotrail from the 2021 satsearch webinar: "a guide to adopting thrusters on small satellite missions". For more information about the webinar, and to see footage of the entire event, please click here.

Exotrail provides a variety of mobility solutions for space missions and services. The portfolio includes propulsion systems, simulation and operational software, end-to-end mobility solutions and orbital transfer.

Exotrail's mission is to enhance small satellite capabilities by optimizing deployment strategies and improving performance. Additionally, the company takes special care to provide sustainable solutions to mitigate space debris. Exotrail's solutions enable satellite operators to achieve the following:

  • Altitude transfers: lower altitude, to gain data downlink capability and imaging resolution, and raise altitude, to gain coverage, revisit rate and lifespan.
  • Inclination correction: correct inclination to maintain specific positions such as Sun Synchronous Orbits (SSO) after launch and/or throughout the whole mission.
  • Single-plane phasing: optimise satellite formations in a few days with phasing manoeuvres within a single plane.
  • Multi-plane phasing: change the local time of orbits in order to phase constellations globally.
  • Station keeping: compensate atmospheric drag, extend lifetime for constellations, and develop new high downlink/high imaging resolution missions in Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO).
  • Deorbiting & collision avoidance: deorbit spacecraft at the end of mission to prevent further space pollution and protect spacecraft with collision avoidance capability.

Exotrail's propulsion systems employ Hall Effect Thruster (HET) technology. A HET is an ion thruster in which electrons emitted by a cathode are trapped in a magnetic field, and used to ionize a propellant – thereby creating a plasma into the plasma chamber. The plasma is then accelerated to produce thrust, thanks to an electric field created between the anode and the cathode. Hall Effect technology has been used for decades, primarily for large satellites thrusters, because it combines the high impulse of electric propulsion technology along with high thrust-to-power ratio. As a result of Exotrail's innovation relating to the plasma chamber, the cathode, and the fluidics system, they have managed to reduce the size of this technology to fit it in small satellites.

Exotrail was incorporated in 2017, counts 45 employees (to date) and operates out of two locations, in Toulouse and Massy (a suburb of Paris) in France.


Massy, France


  • Corporate presentation(6.55 MB)
  • SmallSat thrusters webinar presentation(5.04 MB)
  • Satellite thruster case studies webinar presentation(2.46 MB)

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Last updated: 2023-07-07