Related Projects

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Surrounding the UC3M Sener chair there are several projects.

Sinergies between them, find in the chair the ideal location to share and cooperate.


The project Madrid Flight on Chip (MFoC) is a research and innovation project funded by Comunidad de Madrid and the European Union.

The goal of the MFoC project is to develop novel techniques for the development of future-generation aerospace satellite systems. The project will explore hardware and software techniques for radically different aerospace system development in that will enable much more cost-effective satellite missions with lower development time possible with new-generation System-on-Chip designs, while maintaining high levels of reliability.

The project will explore the use of modern hardware architectures, including FPGAs and commercial multi-core to solve common problems in the target aerospace application domain. These problems include energy consumption and resistance to cosmic radiation.

The software techniques will include applications of software engineering techniques like model-based design and automated code generation and testing.

The MFoC consortium includes SENER Aeroespacial as the main aerospace industrial partner and IMDEA Software and Universidad Carlos III as research partners, with GENERA, CENTUM, REUSE and MARM being the rest of the industrial partners.


MARTINLARA mission will be the first satelite launched by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

It will enable to run observations of the Cosmological Microwave Background (CMB), as well as Earth observation to monitor the magnetic South Pole and applications for climate change forecasting.


HIPATIA (HelIcon PlasmA Thruster for In-Space Applications) is an European project that aims to verify the function and the performance of an electromagnetic plasma propulsion system for its application in non-geostationary satellites and other small spacecrafts. The project relies on the Helicon Plasma Thruster (HPT), a technology that can offer a good level of performance while reducing the manufacture costs.

To achieve this goal, the HIPATIA team will focus on:

  • Developing the HPT technology to fit market needs..
  • Improving the performance of the HPT.
  • Raising the technology readiness level (TRL) to 6
  • Planning for higher TRLs and industrialisation.


Current in-space propulsion technologies, such as chemical and electrical thrusters, work under the law of action-reaction. Consequently, the payload mass and mission lifetime are penalized by the need of propellant. E.T.PACK envisages a new era enabled by a free-of-propellant device named Low Work function Tether (LWT) that operates under different principles. Instead of carrying propellant, LWTs produce a propulsive force by taking advantage of the natural space environment, which includes the geomagnetic field, the ambient plasma and the solar radiation. A LWT is a long tape of a conductor, for instance aluminium, coated with a thin layer of a special material that emits electrons when illuminated by the Sun. The typical length, width and thickness of the tether are few kilometres, a couple of centimetres and tens of microns.

Thanks to an electrodynamic effect, a tether segment captures electrons from the ambient plasma and the complementary segment emit them back through the thermionic and photoelectric effects, thus yielding a steady electric current and, consequently, a Lorentz force. In Low Earth Orbit (LEO), the Lorentz force is a drag that produces the re-entry (deorbit) of the spacecraft while giving power for on-board use. This mode of operation is called generator mode.

LWT can also be used in thruster mode to increase orbital height. This is possible using a power supply that reverses the natural direction of the current. The potential impact of LWTs: they are reversible devices that convert orbital into electrical energy and vice versa without using any consumable.

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