QinetiQ is based in the UK but is a global business, with an established US footprint and growing presence in targeted international markets. It is a people-based business, where service offerings account for the majority of sales, although its products division now provides technology-based solutions on a global scale. Through their technical expertise, domain know-how and rigorous independent thinking, its engineers and scientists are uniquely placed to help customers meet challenges that define the modern world. QinetiQ works across four key markets: defence, security and aerospace being the principal ones but with a growing position in select commercial markets. Its customers are predominantly government organisations, including defence departments, as well as international customers in specific targeted sectors. QinetiQ operates from a large number of different sites in the UK but this entry concentrates on its space electric propulsion facilities at Farnborough. QinetiQ is very active in the field of electric propulsion and has developed a number of gridded ion engine electric propulsion systems. QinetiQ’s thrusters are deployed in several high-profile space projects including ESA’s GOCE mission (Gravity and Steady State Ocean Circulation Explorer), and the ESA/JAXA Bepi Colombo Mission.
QinetiQ has a number of EP test chambers at its Farnborough facility, available for use by external Customers on commercial terms. These include the LEEPs (Large European Electric Propulsion) chambers and a range of smaller vacuum chambers that together provide the capability to conduct a comprehensive range of qualification and acceptance tests for EP propulsion systems. Test capabilities include Direct Thrust Measurement, Thermal/Vacuum and EMC testing of EP thrusters and EP systems, as well as development, test and diagnostic systems for grids and cathodes. QinetiQ is currently investigating options for installing a Xenon recovery system to reduce EP testing costs.