May 5, 2023

Rubicon to Build and Qualify New High Throughput 5N ASCENT Thruster

Rubicon to Build and Qualify New High Throughput 5N ASCENT Thruster

As part of a NASA SBIR Sequential Award, supporting the development of Flight Works Inc.’s Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV), Rubicon Space Systems (Rubicon), a division of Plasma Processes LLC (Plasma) has been awarded a subcontract for its high throughput 5N thruster that operates on the Advanced Spacecraft Energetic Non-toxic Propellant (ASCENT). The award will see Rubicon build and quality its 5N high throughput (HT) that would power the Flight Works OMV on lunar or deep space missions. “This ASCENT thruster capabilities, combined with our pump-fed system approach, allows our monopropellant OMV’s performance to rival that achievable with more complex bipropellant systems” according to Eric Besnard, President, and CEO of Flight Works. The 5N HT thruster design enables a high throughput of propellant, and long firing times. It shares much of the same components and design as the 5N low throughput (LT) thruster, but the reactor is upgraded with ultra-high temperature materials manufactured in-house by Plasma Processes LLC. The first 5N HT thrusters will be assembled in late 2023 with the qualification campaign expected to be in early 2024.  

The Director of Propulsion for Rubicon Space Systems, Daniel Cavender, had this to say. “The development of the 5N HT thruster is a big part of our ASCENT products roadmap. It is an important thruster size for SmallSats/CubeSats, OTVs, and lunar landers. ASCENT is important for providing a green, more efficient logistical and re-fueling capability in the future for space missions. We are very pleased to be working with NASA, Flight-Works Inc., and their teams on this effort.”  

About Rubicon Space Systems: Rubicon Space Systems is a manufacturer of thrusters and propulsion systems that use the advanced space craft energetic non-toxic (ASCENT) propellant AF-M315E. Applications are in-space propulsion, collision avoidance, de-orbit, and multi-mode. Our team leads the world in the development and infusion of ASCENT-based technology. Rubicon has a production .1N thruster and propulsion system and is in development of 1N, 5N, 22N, and 110N HT/LT thrusters in various TRL’s.

About Flight Works Inc.: Flight Works, Inc. is an Original Equipment Manufacturer of high-tech, miniature pump, other components, and fluid systems for aerospace, medical, chemical, energy and other industries. Its product line serves a multitude of industries for numerous applications including UAV fuel systems, space propulsion and cooling, robotics, medical devices and much more. It has delivered mission-critical spaceflight hardware for applications on ISS or powering lunar spacecraft such as NASA’s CAPSTONE and Lunar Flashlight. For more information, visit:

About Plasma Processes: Plasma Processes is a supplier of advanced materials solutions to commercial and government customers in the aerospace, defense, power generation, oil & gas, semi-conductor, and other key industries, with expertise with high and ultra-high temperature materials, such as iridium, rhenium, tungsten and molybdenum, and can apply coatings or create custom parts and powders using our advanced deposition processes. Plasma Processes is AS9100D with ISO 9001:2015 certified and has a secret facility clearance. We are considered a non-traditional defense contractor. For more information, visit: