Catalyst Bed Heaters – our solutions for space mission thrusters

Thermocoax offers catalyst bed heaters for next-generation green as well as hydrazine monopropellant space propulsion.

At Thermocoax we believe we are helping engineers to conquer space with our technological solutions. Our catalyst bed heaters are designed and built in-house for the new generation of green monopropellant thrusters and for traditional hydrazine thrusters.

The purpose of catalyst bed heaters is to heat the propellant in the catalyst body of a thruster. When it has reached the desired temperature for decomposition and subsequent ignition, it thrusts the satellite into orbit and keeps it on the designated orbit. Historically, hydrazine has been the go-to propellant in this sector.

However, recent legislation has been designed to protect personnel that handle and transport monopropellants from dangerous exposure to hydrazine. This has prompted research and development in green monopropellants.

Our next generation catalyst bed heater

In response, Thermocoax has designed a next-generation catalyst bed heater for green monopropellants.  Our heater generates 3 times the power compared to existing solutions on the market and is more efficient in transmitting heat to the monopropellant. And greater efficiency means a longer lifespan. Up to 25 years in this case.

For those who still use it, we continue to sell the traditional catalyst bed heater for hydrazine thrusters.  Both models include coils for redundancy and are ESA heritage.

Applications of catalyst bed heaters in the satellite and aerospace industry

Catalyst bed heaters are designed for spacecraft propulsion and positioning, as well as de-orbiting. Thermocoax preheaters are developed for use in monopropellant thrusters. And with monopropellants ranging from hydrazine to new green fuel and water propellants.

Thermocoax catalyst bed heaters operate across the entire power range, regardless of the manufacturer – from a few milli Newton, to 400 Newton for more thrust when de-orbiting.

How do our catalyst bed heaters work ?

The catalyst bed heater adapted to green fuels

The Thermocoax heater system for green monopropellants consists of a single 1 or 1,5 mm cable (hot part).  This can be coiled around the entire circumference of the cylinder. Not only is this more efficient in terms of heat transfer, it also provides more power at start-up.

Available in Iconel and Platinum, these next-generation heaters can withstand temperatures of 950 ° C and 1600 ° C, respectively.

The catalyst bed heater adapted to hydrazine

The Thermocoax hydrazine heating system is a cartridge design that has been tried and tested for decades by the industry. The cartridge keeps the catalyst bed at a certain temperature for a more efficient start-up when the thruster is activated.

It has been used in programmes such as Sentinel, Pleaiades, and Myriad.

Why use the Thermocoax catalyst bed heaters ?

For more than 2 decades Thermocoax has been the market leader in advanced propulsion solutions for the satellite and spacecraft industry. Our technologies are developed and built in-house, taking into account new developments like safer monopropellants and SDM (space debris management).

Our new catalyst bed heaters for green monopropellant thrusters have been successfully tested on the PRISMA platform and with satellite constellations, including Planet.

  • Mineral insulated cables to prevent short circuits
  • In-house development and manufacture
  • Tested on the PRISMA platform and with satellite constellation Planet

Catalyst bed heaters : Technical data

Green monopropellant catalyst bed heater

  • More efficient heat transmission
  • Withstands >1000 ° C in platinum version
  • 25 year lifespan

Hydrazine monopropellant catalyst bed heater

  • Cartridge design
  • Withstands up to 950°C
  • 15 year lifespan

For more detailed specifications and information about our catalyst bed heaters, please do not hesitate to request a quote