<< BACK TO THE NEWS Press release  |  May 16, 2024

CNES contracts ION-X for the development of an ionic thruster

Development contract for an innovative satellite propulsion technology

ION-X has been awarded a development contract by CNES, the French Space Agency, to develop and fly an ionic liquid electrospray thruster for small satellites. This two-year agreement encompasses all design and testing activities necessary for thruster’s development, along with the procurement of three units for ground qualification and in-flight performances assessments. As part of this project, ION-X technical teams will collaborate with CNES’s world-class experts on key technical areas such as on-board electronics, microfluidics or space environment. Additionally, ION-X will gain access to CNES’s state-of-the-art propulsion testing facilities in Toulouse, France. The contract will culminate with a flight demonstration of ION-X’s thruster, showcasing its expected performances in Low-Earth orbit in the second half of 2025.


“We are extremely grateful for this opportunity to partner with CNES experts on this exciting project. We will do our best to be worth CNES’s trust, and to humbly contribute to help France and Europe remain at the forefront of space propulsion technologies.“

Thomas Hiriart, ION-X CEO

“At a time when the international space sector is continuing to evolve, France can draw on a rich and solid ecosystem that includes a fabric of varied, high-performance and innovative small and medium sized companies, a major asset for the nation. CNES supports these entities by assisting them in their development and promoting them in export markets. In this context, the French space agency has signed a development contract with ION-X to provide the company with its expertise. ION-X is one of the players contributing to the great dynamism and acceleration of the French space sector.“

Philippe Baptiste, CNES CEO