New Satellite Electric Propulsion System Integrates Valves Inside Propellant Tank

Eaton is the first to market a Valve in Tank Assembly (VITA) propulsion feed system that integrates valves inside the propellant tank, increasing satellite payload capability By DA Staff / 31 Aug 2021
Eaton VITA
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Power management company Eaton has successfully completed qualification testing for the aerospace industry’s first Valve in Tank Assembly (VITA) propulsion feed system, the first satellite electric propulsion solution that integrates valves inside the propellant tank.

The VITA eliminates the need for a traditional feed system envelope, creating room for more payload. By enabling additional payload flexibility and control over which type of fuel can be included on a satellite mission, the VITA design supports the growing satellite industry, especially in the area of small satellite providers.

VITA will play a critical role in helping propel satellites to final orbit and in station-keeping to maintain orbital position. 

“Our VITA can help transform the satellite industry,” said Craig Ryan, integrated product team director, Space Systems, Eaton’s Aerospace Group. “The efficient design of the VITA feed system requires less space on the satellite bus, plus it saves integrators significant procurement, assembly, testing, troubleshooting and rework effort.”

“We have the infrastructure to quickly meet high demand volume and are currently taking orders. We look forward to supporting the success of a wide range of leaders and emerging innovators in the rapidly growing satellite market.”

VITA’s innovative design eliminates the feed system envelope by integrating proportional flow valve technology into a housing that is then integrated into the neck of a lightweight composite propellant tank. Initial configuration of the VITA solution has two redundant shut-off valves to support one thruster for increased reliability. The drop-in VITA design approach supports modular satellite configurations, making architectural changes easier. 

Qualified in testing with xenon, the system has demonstrated full compatibility with krypton as well. The valve and tank assembly can be pre-filled with propellant and shipped ready to install.

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