The AIS-ILIS1 Ionic Liquid Ion Source Electrospray Thruster represents the first generation of micro-ion propulsion development at AIS. The ILIS1 offers unprecedented access to advanced ionic liquid electrospray thruster technology for nanosatellites, bringing this state-of-the-art, high-performance technology to a level that is affordable for any nanosatellite team. The ILIS1 is also the first ever PocketQube-compatible ion thruster to be successfully designed, built, and fired in the field yet.
The ILIS1 takes a new approach towards ionic electrospray by utilizing low-cost CNC manufacturing of the emitters as opposed to conventional micromachining technology. Coupled with high-performance 3D printed parts and readily available components, the ILIS1 achieves unparalleled accessibility and cost reduction. Using highly stable, safe, and well characterized EMI-BF4 fuel, with passive capillary feeding, the ILIS1 elimiates the need for any high pressure fuel feed or complex valving requirements.
Ionic electrospray technology is one of the most promising technologies for low power, higher thrust and ISP performance for nanosatellites. The first round of testing has been completed for the AIS-ILIS1, which has paved the road for the next generation AIS-ILIS2 development.