XST Development & Qualification - Xenon Storage Tank Design Development and Qualification for a 600+ LEO Constellation


Photo credit: Stelia Aerospace Composites

The objective of this project is the design and qualification of the low-cost Xenon Storage Tank (XST) that equips the platform of a 600+ LEO Constellation, plus all the associated serial manufacturing tools and processes. The role of the XST is to provide leak tight and contamination-free storage of pressurised Xenon, which is used to feed the Hall-Effect Thruster (HET). 

The XST is jointly developed by Airbus DS and Stelia Aerospace Composites. Airbus DS brings the experience to design and qualify systems and equipment suitable for the space environment; Stelia brings the technological experience for composites and the industrial capability to produce at high rates. 


The main challenges of this project are a very short development cycle and the adaptation of COTS parts to space quality standards.


The benefits of this product are the low recurring price and the capability to produce at high rates in order to meet the project schedule constraints


The XST is composed of a composite overwrapped pressure vessel supported by two composite mold mounting feet and a fluidic port which serves as the interface for the propulsion system pipework.


Following a Kick-off Design Review, the equipment and serial manufacturing processes are under qualification according to the space rules. A civil qualification enabling the tank to be transported pressurized is also covered by the project activities, together with the safety related assessments.

Current status

The equipment is currently undergoing qualification tests.


ESA Contacts

Status date

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 11:53