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Miniaturized Flow Control Unit (µFCU)
Start date: Dec 1, 2011, End date: Sep 30, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"This proposal is related to FP7 space call 2011 - SPA.2011.2.2-02 (Space critical technologies). The purpose of the proposed work is the development of a miniaturized flow control unit (µFCU) for noble gases like xenon. The proposed technology is relevant to the call as it is listed in the Urgent Action List (ID 13). It is requested by space industry and agencies according ESTER database (e.g. ref. T-8117, T-8119). The new development shall reduce Europe's dependency from other space fairing nations by using only European components.From a technical point of view, the proposal is also related to SPA.2011.2.2-01 (Space transportation technologies) as it enables electric micropropulsion systems for new mission classes.The μFCU design is based on a component-of-the-shelf (COTS) approach. The core components and technologies have already been developed for ground applications. They have a high reliability background like medicine, chemical industry or even space. These components will be modified for space applications and for the changed operational and environmental parameter range.This new development shall outperform existing technologies with respect to mass reduction, leak tightness, drift and long term stability. Furthermore, it shall reduce complexity, driver electronics requirements and AIT effort and therefore will reduce cost. Further cost reduction shall be achieved by modularity, use of COTS and integration of for flow lines controllers into one device.The design of the µFCU is driven by costumer requirements. Key customer already agreed to join an Advisory Board. The Advisory Board shall support the project by defining reference missions and by reviewing the design.The Consortium has a strong focus on SMEs with first experiences in space business. Some partners already have a strong and long term involvement in space component and subsystem development."

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