The AIS-VAT3 Vacuum Arc Thruster represents the next generation of electric propulsion developments at AIS, and is currently the biggest and most powerful thruster in the AIS-VAT Series. The VAT3 scales up the original AIS-VAT1-PQ Micro Vacuum Arc Thruster design, and brings the AIS-VAT Series into a whole new power class. At 50W power-class capacity, the VAT3 is sized for use with Cubesats, specifically allowing for integration up to 6U-class satellites. At only 0.75U in size, the VAT3 offers significant power capacity and thrust in a highly-compact and low-cost form factor.

Despite being a high-power 50W-class electric propulsion system, the VAT3 still leverages the same design principles as the original VAT1-PQ, allowing for unprecedented cost reduction at this size and power class. At only $15k for the expected first gen high-performance system, the VAT3 is more affordable and accessible than any other electric propulsion system in its class on the market by a significant margin, allowing anyone developing larger Cubesats to afford high-performance electric propulsion for their missions. The VAT3 can also be easily customizable, not only in fuel selection, which allows a wide combination of thrust and ISP, but in onboard stored energy, and can be made in different form factors with different bank capacities based on size and budget constraints, with reduced onboard stored energy capacity for lower costs.

The first V1 prototype has been officially constructed, and has already begun preliminary qualifications, with several successful firing from 4W up to 81W with Titanium fuel. The VAT3 is currently available for pre-order arrangements.


  • Type: High Power Vacuum Arc Thruster
  • Power: 55W
  • Thrust: 500-1000uN (EST.)
  • Shot Lifetime: TBD
  • Total Impulse: TBD
  • ISP: TBD
  • Orbital Movement: TBD
  • Rep Rate: TBD
  • Size: 92x92x75mm
  • Mass: TBD
  • Fuel: Titanium, Bismuth (or any metal based on user needs)
  • Inputs: 12V, GND, Logic Commands
  • PRICE (Entry Level): TBD
  • PRICE (High Performance): $15,000


AIS-VAT3 Vacuum Arc Thruster Gallery


AIS-VAT3 Vacuum Arc Thruster Development Playlist

  • Type: 50W-Class Vacuum Arc
  • Thrust: 1000uN (est)
  • ISP: TBD
  • Fuel: Any Metal