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About Project


The highest efficiency in every mission.

The GIESEPP MP consortium continues the developments of the previously funded project GIESEPP (Gridded Ion Engine Standardised Electric Propulsion Platform). The restructured consortium will demonstrate and pre-qualify a prototype-like system in a relevant environment.

The goal of the consortium is to deliver a tested and validated product that customers can buy off the shelf but at the same time can easily be adapted to individual needs.

Project duration

45 months

Project start date

January 1, 2021

Project consortium

6 organisations

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Giesepp mp project

The modular approach, which allows for both scaling in power levels and the interchangeability of core components, has already encountered worldwide interest.  Thus, we are looking forward to approving it with the key players in the community and proceeding to market with it.”   

Project coordinator Cyril Dietz, ArianeGroup GmbH  

Why Electric Propulsion? ​

Electric propulsion offers major improvements in over chemical
propulsion systems.

Fuel Efficiency

Electric propulsion offers major improvements in fuel efficiency, enabling dramatic weight and volume savings which leads to significantly lower launch costs.

Higher Revenues for Operators

Due to the increase in payload that electric propulsion facilitates by its gain in weight and volume.


European gridded ion engine will give Europe the ability to not only compete but also take a lead in this growing worldwide market.

Why Gridded ion engine?

Compared to the often-used conventional ion engines, like Hall-Effect-Thrusters, Gridded Ion Engines bring a couple of advantages.

Highest Efficiency

Where HET is ceiling at an ISP of about 1800s a GIE can easily be brought to specific impulses above 3000s and higher and have thus the highest efficiency in the medium power range.

Lowest Plume Divergence

Enabling both the outstanding efficiency of the propulsion system while reducing thruster-platform-interactions to a minimum a GIE´s plume divergence can attain less than 10°.

Capable and Adaptable Technology

By its very definition GIE allows a clear technical separation between ionisation on one hand and ion acceleration / thrust generation on the other. This not only helps to master the technology but also eases individual adaptation to customer specific operating requirements.

How it works?

Gridded ion thrusters are part of the electrostatic electric propulsion thrusters.

1st step – Ionisation

Ion thrusters employ a variety of plasma generation techniques to ionize a large fraction of the propellant, e.g. with radio frequency.

2nd step – Thrust Generation

The ionized fraction of the propellant is accelerated in an electrostatic field of the grid system and extracted out of the thruster to create thrust.

3rd step - Neutralization

To avoid any electrostatic effects, the extracted positive ions are submitted to a parallel flow of (negative) electrons so a neutralisation is attained almost immediately.

What does it look like?

The Most Efficient Propulsion System Explained from inside-out.​

Gridded Ion Engine Propulsion System


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Project Progress

2017 - 2021
GIESEPP project
The EU Horizon 2020 program granted to the GIESEPP (Gridded Ion Engine Standardised Electric Propulsion Platforms) consortium a contract in the frame of EPIC program to develop a modular standardized Gridded Ion Engine System (GIESEPP), including Gridded Ion Engines (GIE), Power Processing Unit (PPU), Xenon Propellant Management System (XPMS) and Neutraliser Cathodes, to meet the future needs of the competitive GEO Telecoms and LEO Constellation markets. The aim of the project was to build and test to TRL5 the first European Plug and Play Gridded Ion Engine System to operate ArianeGroup and QinetiQ Space Ion Engines for LEO, GEO and Space Exploration Missions.
2017 - 2021
January 2021
GIESEPP MP Kick off Meeting
The project GIESEPP MP aims to foster Europe’s competitiveness in the global satellite market by continuing the work started within the GIESEPP project in 2017. With the successful kick off meeting in January 2021, the consortium started to finalize the development of medium power Gridded Ion Engine Standardised Electric Propulsion Platform.
January 2021
May 2021
Milestone – Decision Key Point on Requirements
With a slightly modified setup compared to GIESEPP, the GIESEPP MP consortium has performed several tasks during the first months of the project. Technically one of the very first tasks was to update and align the Electric Propulsion requirements both on system and component level.
May 2021
July 2022
Project GIESEPP MP 2nd review meeting
Horizon 2020 project GIESEPP MP 2nd review meeting took place on the 27th of July in Madrid, Spain, on the premises of project partner Airbus Crisa. The Horizon 2020 project GIESEPP MP started on January 2021, when various restrictions due to COVID-19 took place around Europe, and travelling or any other gathering was impossible. Thus, this was the first project review meeting where the partners could meet and discuss the project implementation and advancements in person.
July 2022
April 2023
The Critical Design Review (CDR)
AIRBUS Crisa, with the support of GIESEPP MP consortium presented, in a Critical Design Review, the Positive High Voltage Supply of its new generation of Power Processing Units (PPU) for Gridded Ion Thrusters. With this design, the RIT 2X system will become even more competitive thanks to the breakthrough reduction in cost, weight and dimensions of the PPU. The new power source design implements state of the art technologies to be more efficient, compact and price competitive than its predecessors. The critical design review of the AIRBUS Crisa Positive High Voltage power source has been a success and the hardware will become a reality in the upcoming months.
April 2023