Collin Arocho
6 May 2021

Dawn Aerospace has hit a major milestone. The Dutch-Kiwi (New Zealand) space company has successfully tested and proven its B20 thrusters used to help small satellites navigate through space. The thrusters were attached to D-Orbit’s Ion space-tug satellite carrier, where Dawn performed hundreds of in-space firings by each of the thrusters. Moreover, the rockets fired used an alternative propellant to the commonly used hydrazine, which is difficult to store and is harmful to human health (link in Dutch).

Dawn Aerospace B20 thruster
Credit: D-Orbit

Dawn’s B20 thrusters utilize a green bi-propellant fuel consisting of nitrous oxide and propylene. Additionally, they provide a modular and extensible architecture for spacecraft builders to achieve their specific mission requirements. Having delivered this technology to both cubesats and small satellites, Dawn is demonstrating it can be applied to satellites of all sizes and proving the company’s ability to offer complete turnkey propulsion systems, including thrusters, propellant tanks, feed systems and thruster control electronics.

“This in-orbit demonstration of our B20 product is the ultimate verification that our unique technology works,” says Stefan Powell, CTO of Dawn Aerospace. “It’s now possible to have the performance that satellite manufacturers loved about hydrazine, with none of the environmental and cost drawbacks of using toxic fuels.”