Experimental Design Bureau FAKEL (hereafter referred to as EDB Fakel) is one of the leading companies in Russia and in the world, having a 55-year experience in development of Electric Propulsion Systems (EPS), and more than a 40-year flight experience in Electric Propulsion Subsystems based on Stationary Plasma Thrusters (SPT), which were successfully used for station-keeping purposes aboard such spacecraft as Meteor and Meteor-Priroda in the 70s, and which have been used aboard spacecraft (S/C) of the Kosmos and Luch family since 1982, as well as aboard Gals and Express since 1994.
Also, EDB Fakel has a many years’ experience in Thermal Catalytic Thrusters (TCT). The K-10 TCT has been successfully operated aboard S/C of the Glonass and Kosmos series since 1982, aboard Luch since 1985, and aboard Express since 1994. And so has the K-50-10.1 thruster aboard Sesat and Express-AM.
EDB Fakel was founded as a Propulsion Laboratory of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1955, and in 1962 Fakel was awarded the status of Experimental Design Bureau.
In the early 80s, EDB Fakel started its serial production of the thruster types SPT-50, SPT-60, and SPT-70. The first satellite equipped with SPT-70, Geizer 1, was launched in 1982; and in 1994, a new SPT-100 model was implemented aboard the communication satellite, Gals-1. Despite the press-release about successful testing of the EOL plasma thruster was published in the Space Investigations periodical in 1974, foreign designers still considered the SPT to be just an attractive theoretical development.
Today, EDB Fakel cooperates closely with many Russian companies, namely: ISS-Reshetnev, Rocket-Space Corporation (RSC) Energia, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, VNIIEM Corporation, as well as with foreign companies, such as Astrium (AIRBUS Group), TAS, OHB, IAI, RUAG, and Space Systems/Loral.
Due to the growth of today’s cosmonautics demands, the extension of active lifetime of state-of-art and future GEO satellites, the complication of the tasks to be solved by an onboard propulsion system, the toughening of requirements for thrusters in terms of efficiency, dependability, and compatibility with spacecraft equipment, there appear new trends in studies and further improvement of EP.