Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space and ECAPS develops a new ‘green’ propulsion system

• Airbus Defence and Space signs cooperation agreement with ECAPS for the development of a "green" space propulsion system concept using ADN (Ammonium Dinitramide) based technology

• Airbus Defence and Space to bring in its expertise and experience in manufacturing, integration and provision of satellite platforms and propulsion systems

• ECAPS to provide its expertise in the development and qualification of ADN (Ammonium Dinitramide) based thruster and propellant technology

18 June 2013 - Airbus Defence and Space, Europe’s leading space company, has entered into an agreement with ECAPS, a company of the Swedish Space Corporation Group (SSC), to jointly develop a "green" propulsion system concept, which is based on ADN technology. This concept focuses on the target of directing the future of space propulsion technology to sustainability, eco-friendliness and reduced toxicity on ground, and easy and safe operation capabilities in space.

Under the terms of this agreement Airbus Defence and Space will initially complement its existing capabilities in the field of in-space propulsion technologies. Furthermore, this landmark initiative supports Airbus Defence and Space's intention to be an environmental-friendly company.

The cooperation sees long-term research, marketing and production collaboration between the two entities in order to further advance their cutting edge propulsion capacities. Under the new agreement Airbus Defence and Space will bring in its expertise and experience in manufacturing, integration and provision of satellite platforms and propulsion systems while ECAPS will provide its expertise in the development and qualification of Ammonium Dinitramide based technologies, in particular thrusters and propellant.

Dr. Andreas Rohne, Director of Airbus Defence and Space’s Propulsion and Equipment said: “This agreement is the result of intense discussions following several years of cooperation between Airbus Defence and Space and ECAPS. Airbus Defence and Space is to pursue this long-term strategic partnership for the sake of both parties and the space industry in general”.

The signing of this agreement marks the beginning of a long-term partnership between Airbus Defence and Space and ECAPS for the development of propulsion systems for future satellite propulsion systems, roll control systems for launch vehicles and many other propulsion applications yet to come.

Airbus Defence and Space is one of the world’s leaders with respect to expertise in space transportation, spacecraft and satellite services. It is best known as the prime contractor for Ariane 5, the Columbus Space Laboratory, the Automated Transfer Vehicle for the International Space Station and for its leading-edge geostationary telecommunications satellites and Earth observation spacecraft.

ECAPS High Performance Green Propellant (HPGP) technology, which utilizes Ammonium Dinitramide (ADN) based monopropellant, is environmentally benign and significantly easier for both transport and handling than the traditionally used hydrazine monopropellant. These favorable characteristics provide increased flexibility for spacecraft manufacturers whose mission concepts require the ability to launch from various sites around the world. In addition, HPGP has demonstrated higher on-orbit performance than traditional hydrazine systems.


ECAPS is the market leader in green propellant technology, with a flight-demonstrated solution to provide both increased performance and reduced life-cycle costs. ECAPS’ High Performance Green Propellant (HPGP) technology includes a family of thrusters currently ranging from 0.5N to 220N, alternate propellants and propulsion sub-systems. The storable Ammonium Dinitramide (ADN) based liquid monopropellant is easy to handle and transport due to its low toxicity and low sensitivity, and has received the so called UN/DOT 1.4S transport classification, thus allowing it to be transported on commercial passenger aircraft.

About Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the third in the world. It is the only global company that covers the full range of civil and defence space systems, equipment and services.

In 2012, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover over €5.8 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide.

Its three business units are: Airbus Defence and Space, the European prime contractor for launchers, orbital systems and space exploration; Airbus Defence and Space, a leading provider of satellite system solutions, including spacecraft, ground segments, payloads and equipments; Airbus Defence and Space, the Space services partner for critical missions, providing comprehensive fixed and mobile solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.

Airbus Defence and Space is a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2012, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of €56.5 billion and employed a workforce of over 140,000.


Press contacts

Jeremy Close (Airbus Defence and Space UK)                                                       Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872

Gregory Gavroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR)                                                    Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER)                                                   Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971

Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP)                                                 Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41

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