If you wish to effectively go in very Low Earth Orbit

you must get rid of onboard propellant

and exploit what you have around you: atmosphere!

Very Low Earth Orbits (VLEO, from 160 to 250 km from Earth) are extremely interesting for Earth Observation and null-lag telecommunication missions, but impose severe limitations to spacecrafts since at these heights atmospheric drag is so high it has to be continuously compensated with positive thrust.

This means the spacecraft has to always turn on its propulsion system, which in turn means a lot of propellant onboard.

You finish the propellant, you deorbit: it’s a matter of days.

AETHER wants to exploit the atmosphere by collecting the molecules and accelerating them to counteract drag, so to allow a VLEO mission to last months if not years. Without any tank onboard!

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Updates from Project

News & EventsPropulsion
11/22/2021

Aether TRR passed, test campaign on PFG ongoing!

After September's Critical Design Review (CDR), the project passed on November 4th 2021 its Test Readiness Review (TRR). The TRR activated Aether's first test campaign,…
Findings & PublicationsNews & EventsSpace
10/29/2021

AETHER showcased at the Dubai’s 72th IAC

A couple of days ago the AETHER project has been presented during the 72th International Astronautical Congress -IAC- in Dubai, UAE. Missed the Congress? Don't…
News & EventsPublic Documentation
10/18/2021

Aether Market Analysis Issue 2 delivered

An update of the market analysis for VLEO missions enabled by air-breathing electric propulsion is available. Here is the document, enjoy! SIT-AETH-PD-0110_Market Analysis Is2