Saclay, France, June 2nd, 2022 – To cope with a growing need for satellite thrusters, ION-X offers a revolutionary, compact, simple, versatile, and powerfull technology for the propulsion of small satellites. This technical and commercial challenge has never been met by current technologies and is becoming a major competitive issue.
Following its creation a year ago, the startup ION-X has secured €3.8 million in financing to support its R&D development and plan a demonstration mission by the end of 2023. This financing round was carried out with TF Participations, the Expansion fund and completed by the Bpifrance deeptech development aid.
ION-X, the revolution in the satellite propulsion market
In close collaboration with the teams of C2N, the Center for Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies (CNRS/University of Paris-Saclay), the world specialist in ion sources for nanoelectronics, Prof. Jacques Giérak, has partnered in May 2021 with the venture builder Technofounders to propose an industrial and at-scale model for a new kind of small satellite thruster.
Based on patented technology, ION-X unique design for ionic liquid electrospray thrusters is the next big thing in small satellites propulsion. Focused ion-beam technology has initially been developed in the 80s for nano-electronics applications such as nanomachining. This technology provides particularly competitive performance, with thrust twice as high as the state of the art and fuel consumption 30% lower. This new type of electric propulsion based on the ejection of very fine, fully ionized particles solves many current challenges, including environmental issues: longer lifetime, high modularity and competitive production cost compatible with mass production.
A fundraising to strengthen its teams and accelerate its development
As ION-X is currently in the prototyping phase, the objective of this fundraising is to allow the recruitment of a team of engineers dedicated to the design of the engine and thus accelerate the development of a first flight model for a demonstration mission by the end of 2023.
The €3.8 million financing was provided by TF Participations, the investment vehicle from the venture builder Technofounders, dedicated to financing deeptech startups, launched jointly by Audacia & Starbust, and several well-known private investors such as Jacques Garaialde, former head of Carlyle and KKR, Dominique Gaillard, former president of France Invest and co-founder of Ardian, Olivier Vaury, CFO at ManoMano, Philippe Pauze, former CEO of Picard, George Owen, former head of Waterdrop France, and also complemented by Bpifrance’s deeptech development aid.
In addition, a few weeks ago, Thomas Hiriart, former BCG, Insead and Arianespace, joined the team as Deputy Managing Director to provide his expertise of more than 10 years in the space industry within the company ION-X.
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I am ready to take on the human, technical and commercial challenges that I will face as Deputy CEO of ION-X and I am delighted to join the team at such a fascinating time for the space industry.
Thomas Hiriart, Deputy CEO