Green fuel-powered satellite engine

Contact Counsellor

Green fuel-powered satellite engine

The green fuel-powered satellite engine made by an Indian start-up 'Manastu' will reach orbit by early 2023.


  • After being placed in orbit by rockets, satellites have to rely on their on-board fuel and engines to make manoeuvres, in order to avoid colliding with space debris and to remain in their precise orbits, while functioning in the harsh environments of space.
  • While this task has been handled for several decades by engines powered by fuels such as Mono methyl hydrazine, such fuels are toxic, highly volatile and cancer-causing, thus raising several concerns over their safety.
  • Manastu has developed a new propulsion technology for satellites and it will be powered by 'MS-289' which is a proprietary blend of Hydrogen peroxide and additives.
  • In order to initiate the combustion of this novel fuel, the company will be using a chemical catalyst that performs the similar function of a sparkplug in an automobile.
  • Three variants of this propulsion system have been built to meet the requirements of satellites of different sizes (weighing over 100kg, small cube satellites etc.
  • The startup also aims to develop satellite refuelling systems that can help extend the life of in orbit satellites.

New innovations

  • Similar to an aerial-refuelling tanker that can extend the range of aircraft, this concept hopes to create a mechanism where a tanker(carrying satellite-grade) fuel can dock with a satellite and fill its tank, to extend its life.
  • At the end of the satellite's operational life, similar tankers would also be used to de-orbit the satellite, thus preventing it from becoming space debris and a threat to other orbital assets.
  • India's state-run Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has signed up to have this technology onboard an Indian strategic satellite.
  • A French company is also in talks to utilise this system in the final stage of their rocket, for orbit correction and manoeuvres.

Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO)

  • DRDO works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence, Government of India.
  • It is working to establish a world class science and technology base for India and provides our Defence Services decisive edge by equipping them with internationally competitive systems and solutions.
  • To empower India with cutting-edge defence technologies and a mission to achieve self-reliance in critical defence technologies and systems, while equipping our armed forces with state-of-the-art weapon systems and equipment in accordance with requirements laid down by the three Services.

Exam Track

Prelims Takeaway

  • Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO)
  • Green fuel-powered satellite engine
  • Aerial-refuelling tankers
  • Green Propulsion Technology of ISRO
  • ISRO

Mains Track

Q. Indians have been acing the space innovations as highlighted by the present developments like the green fuel-powered satellite engine made by an Indian start-up 'Manastu'. Critically analyse.