Japan funding water-based satellite propulsion upgrade

TAMPA, Fla. — Japan has awarded Tokyo-based small satellite thruster developer Pale Blue a grant worth up to $27 million to upgrade its water-based propulsion technology for larger spacecraft.
The four-year-old startup tested its Resistojet thruster in orbit for the first time in March, successfully using jets of steam to move a tiny 6U cubesat called Star Sphere.
Credit: Pale BluePale Blue recently started work on setting up a 2,000-square-meter factory to produce Resistojet thrusters, which are sized for satellites weighing less than 10 kilograms. 
Under a multiphase Japanese government grant announced Feb. 6, Pale Blue aims to develop water-plasma propulsion for spacecraft up to 500 kilograms.
The venture plans to demonstrate ion and Hall effect thrusters that use electricity and magnetic fields to accelerate propellant to improve efficiency, Pale Blue co-founder and CEO Jun Asakawa told SpaceNews.
Bradford Space and Aerospace Corp have developed ste

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