Flow control

Miniatyrized Xenon Feed System

A xenon feed system for electric propulsion systems onboard telecom satellites is presently being developed. The system is placed between the tank and the engine with the pupose to control the propellant flow to the ion engine.

A modular building concept is applied where miniaturisation is achieved by stacking processed silicon wafers. This concept results in a multifunctional system in a single mechanical housing. The different wafer stacks contain several components and functions such as isolation valve, filters, flow control valves, pressure- and temperature sensors and thermal flow restrictors.

The resulting xenon feed system offers an order of magnitude mass savings compared with a conventional system.


Demonstrated characteristics  
Operating media Xe 
Flow rate range 5–50 μg/s 
Flow rate accuracy ± 5%
Flow rate resolution ± 0,5 μg/s
MEOP 2 bar 
Burst pressure 5 bar
Temperatures operating/non-operating 17–50 °C / -30–60 °C
Leakage, external < 10-6 scc/sec GHe@MEOP
Diameter 43 mm 
Length  40 mm
Mass < 100 gram

Tube 1/8 inch (3.2 mm)
Wall thickness 0.9 mm
Length 10 mm
Electrical interface Flying leads
Material Titanium alloy, Ti-6AL-4V


ESA contract ongoing


For more information, see MEMS Flow Contol Module data sheet.


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Flow control