MAE Candidate Seminar – Development of a Multimode Chemical-Electric Propulsion System for Small Satellites


4:00 pm-5:00 pm
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MAE-A Room 303
939 Sweetwater Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611


Development of a Multimode Chemical-Electric Propulsion System for Small Satellites

Thursday, February 2, 2023, at 4 pm
Location: In-Person MAE-A, Room 303

Steven Berg
CEO and co-founder of Froberg Aerospace, LLC,

Multimode propulsion is the integration of two or more propulsive modes into a single spacecraft propulsion system. The key attribute is shared propellant between the different propulsive modes, which could include both high-thrust chemical and high-specific impulse electric thrusters. Multimode propulsion is emerging as an enabling technology that promises enhanced capabilities for spacecraft and space missions and can therefore play an important role in the future of in-space propulsion. Specifically, multimode propulsion has the potential to provide unprecedented flexibility, adaptability, and resiliency to spacecraft, as well as mass and volume savings for certain missions. These benefits extend to both medium and large spacecraft and perhaps even more so to small spacecraft. Dr. Berg will present an overview of multimode propulsion, its benefits, and the current state-of-the-art as well as past and present efforts to develop the Multimode Integrated Monopropellant Electrospray propulsion system. The MIME system utilizes a single, non-toxic ionic liquid monopropellant that can be decomposed for high-performance monopropellant propulsion or electrospray for high-specific impulse electric propulsion. The propellant selection and design methodology will be outlined along with the synthesis and fundamental experiments to characterize its capability in both propulsive modes. Finally, recent efforts to build and demonstrate a unified thruster will be presented.

Steven Berg is the CEO and co-founder of Froberg Aerospace, LLC, a company focused on the development of multimode spacecraft propulsion systems for small satellites. Dr. Berg earned his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology for his work in developing multimode-capable ionic liquid propellants. As CEO of Froberg Aerospace, he has led the development of the first multimode system to use the same propellant and the same thruster. He is also a part-time lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University. Prior to founding Froberg Aerospace, he was a propulsion and test engineer at SpaceX.

MAE Faculty Host: John Conklin


Hosted by

UF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering