A Japanese company, Pale Blue, which develops water-based propulsion systems, is ready to test its propulsion system. Sony‘s nanosatellite, chosen as a demonstrator, was launched earlier this month. The company was selected by its compatriots to develop propulsion within the Star Sphere project. Sony’s plan is to offer still images and 4K video services for artistic and educational use, while also providing “significant space perspectives”.

Sony’s first satellite was launched along with 113 other satellites on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on January 3rd. The 6U cubesat is called Star Sphere 1 and carries a full-frame camera. The satellite is equipped with a water vapor propulsion system. This will be the first in-space demonstration of a propulsion system using water as fuel.

A new reality, Pale Blue

Pale Blue was founded in 2020 and is developing a range of water-based propulsion systems. The project builds on research conducted by the Japanese space agency JAXA and the University of Tokyo. According to Pale Blue’s CEO, the small thruster will extend the satellite’s life by almost 3 years, helping it maintain and correct its orbit at an altitude of 500-600 km. The company claims that water vapor propellant provides an eco-friendly solution to the growing demand for small satellites (cubesats) with built-in thrusters.

A growing number of companies are also working to reduce environmental impact and operational costs by adopting green propellants in the space industry. Pale Blue addresses environmental concerns and the increasing demand by providing safe, sustainable, and cost-effective propulsion systems that use water as propellant. “I am very pleased that our safe, sustainable, and low-cost water thruster can contribute to this project, and we are committed to the development of the space industry” said Jun Asakawa, CEO, and co-founder of Pale Blue.

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