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Author Archives: flight-works

  1. Flight Works to Attend Virtual Small Sat Conference

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    Flight Works to attend the 35th annual Small Sat Conference which will be held virtually August 7th-12th 2021. Known in the space industry as the premier conference on small satellites, the conference is expected to bring the brightest minds together to network and discuss the past year’s successes, current challenges, as well as share innovative technological advances in small spacecraft development.

  2. Fight Works on NASA CAPSTONE CubeSat Mission

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    A Flight Works propellant pump will play a critical role in Stellar Exploration’s propulsion system on NASA’s CAPSTONE CubeSat. NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) is a 55-pound spacecraft that will launch later in 2021 and take three months to arrive at its destination, to orbit around the moon for another six months. CAPSTONE’s primary objective is to test and verify the calculated orbital stability of a Near Rectilinear Halo Orbits (NRHO) around the moon. This will help reduce risk for future spacecraft and NASA’s planned Gateway Lunar outpost, a small space station that will orbit around the moon to provide astronauts with access to the lunar surface.

    Innovative Propulsion System Gets Ready to Study Moon Orbit for NASA’s Artemis Program (

  3. Tech Brief Webinar-Customizing Actuators Using COTS Drive Components for Martian Mission Mechanisms

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    Flight Work’s President and CEO, Eric Besnard joined Maxon’s Robin Phillips as guest speakers on a Tech Briefs webinar discussing the topic of Customizing Actuators Using COTS Drive Components for Martian Mission Mechanisms. You can listen to a recording of the webinar at the link below.

    Customizing Actuators Using COTS Drive Components for Martian Mission Mechanisms – Tech Briefs

  4. Flight Works on NASA’s Lunar Flashlight Mission

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    Flight Works is proud to support the NASA Lunar Flashlight Mission. Flight Work’s propellant pump is to be used in the propulsion system aboard NASA’s Lunar Flashlight, a small satellite, or CubeSat, slated to launch as a secondary satellite on the Artemis mission in the fall of 2021. The spacecraft which is about the size of a briefcase and weighs 30 pounds, will be equipped with four lasers that will be used to determine whether there is a presence of water ice on regions of the moon’s South Pole. This CubeSat will demonstrate many technological firsts; it will be the first to reach the moon, the first planetary mission to use green propulsion and the first to utilize lasers to search for water ice. The Lunar Flashlight will deploy from an adapter on the Orion spacecraft just four hours after initial launch and its mission is expected to last two months.

    What is Lunar Flashlight? | NASA

  5. Flight Works awarded NASA SBIR to develop lunar transfer stage

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    As part of a NASA Phase I SBIR, Flight Works is expanding its micropump-fed propulsion technology to the development and demonstration of a low cost, compact, high performance lunar transfer stage designed for small launchers like Rocket Lab’s Electron and Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One. With a total wet mass around 230 kg, the transfer stage is designed to provide high-thrust, high delta-V capabilities of over 3 km/s to one or more nanosat payloads weighing more than 30 kg. It will be able to propel small spacecraft (CubeSat or nanosat) from Low Earth Orbit on to Trans Lunar Injection trajectories. The system can either stay attached to the small primary payload for long term mission operations, or deploy the latter at its destined lunar orbit.

    NASA SBIR 2020-I Solicitation | Z8.09-5723 – High Performance Pump-fed Lunar Transfer Stage for Small Launchers | Proposal Summary

  6. Flight Works Awarded Nasa Phase I Sbir – “Highly Capable Micropump-fed Propulsion System for Proximity Operations, Landing and Ascent”

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    Project managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

    Flight Works will expand its work in micro gear pumps for propulsion applications in order to provide a highly capable propulsion and attitude control system (ACS) for asteroid proximity operations, landers and return capsules.

    Flight Works is proposing to expand its work in micro gear pumps for propulsion applications in order to provide a highly capable propulsion and attitude control system (ACS) for asteroid proximity operations, landers and return capsules. In traditional systems, larger thrusters, specific to each mission, must be employed to counter the gravity field of the target. Also, throttling these larger thrusters for proximity operations and landing is not a trivial task. With the pump, the need for these larger, more expensive thrusters is eliminated. Instead the pump allows increasing (or decreasing) and controlling the thrust of the attitude control thrusters to the levels required for operating in the target’s gravity field by modulating the pump RPM/power. Typically, only a few tens of watts are needed for pump operations. Flight Works is prepared to develop and demonstrate a low cost micro pump capable of significantly increasing pressure and flow rate to the thrusters, to define a roadmap for larger increases if warranted, and to plan Phase II activities in order to reach a TRL 7 by the end of that phase. The technology builds on Aerojet Rocketdyne’s work for NASA’s on-going Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) and use the non-toxic hydroxyl ammonium-nitrate (HAN) -based propellant AF-M315E which provides 50% greater density-ISP than hydrazine. The micro pump leverages the Air Force Research Lab’s (AFRL) investments in pump-fed technologies for small spacecraft propulsion applications, which have led to steady state and pulsed hot fire tests with hydrazine and demonstrations with other propellants.

    Brief Chart

    Contract Summary

  7. Flight Works Launches New Ultra-low Flow Pump Models

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    Flight Works releases a family of ultra-low flow pumps capable of controlling flow rates under 1 mL/min.

    Flight Works releases a new family of ultra-low flow pumps capable of maintaining accurate flow rates under 1 mL/min. Using the smallest internal components yet entered into production at Flight Works, this design facilitates high-speed and high-torque operation without excess flow rate, allowing for nominal motor operation and relatively high differential pressures. With testing conducted into the microliters, and as high as 10 bars of differential pressure with low viscosity fluids, Flight Works has verified this configuration as an excellent solution for a wide range of low-flow requirements.

    Though Flight Works already excelled in the low-flow sector, these new models are an improved fit for a number of uses. Primary target markets include:

    • Analytical instrumentation
      • Flow cytometry
      • Flow chemistry
      • Chromatography
    • Pharmaceutical and medical applications
    • Dosing, sampling, and metering technology
    • Minimum volume lubrication

    Ultra-Low Flow Pump PDS

  8. Flight Works, Inc. Prototype Pump Paves the Way to Future In-space Use with Hydrazine, MMH, and NTO

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    A series of tests conducted at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) demonstrates the ability of a Flight Works micro pump prototype to increase nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) pressures to those typically used in a spacecraft propulsion system.

    The pump, developed with NASA funding, is operated for several hours with NTO and is also compatible with hydrazine and mono-methyl hydrazine (MMH). The pump represents an evolution from Flight Works’ line of micro-pumps and is a subscale prototype of what could be used in future spaceflight applications.

  9. Flight Works, Inc. Launches New Magnetic Drive Pump Models for High-life Applications

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    After extensive design, development, and testing, Flight Works launches the M-Series, a family of magnetically-coupled micro gear pumps adding a level of quality, reliability, and performance capabilities to the Flight Works product line.

    Originally envisioned as a solution for long-life pumping applications, the magnetic drive series offers several other improvements over the standard sealed gear pump, including:

    • Extended run time capabilities due to the elimination of a dynamic seal AND the reduction of side load on motor bearings
    • Highly reduced risk of leaks, especially under extreme operating conditions
    • Elimination of risks of fluid contamination from dynamic seal abrasion
    • Expanded fluid and environmental compatibility, including extreme temperatures (both hot and cold)
    • Design permits easy replacement of pump section in the field
    • Increased differential pressure capabilities, over the 20 bar (300 psi) threshold of dynamically sealed pumps
    • Increased maximum allowable pressures (600 psi and higher depending on fluids and configurations)