Impulse Space Reveals Design Specifications for Its New High-Performance Kick Stage

Impulse Space Reveals Design Specifications for Its New High-Performance Kick Stage

Impulse Space, an innovator of in-space transportation services for the inner solar system, has unveiled the design specifications for its latest vehicle: Helios, a high-performance kick stage. Using a medium-lift launch vehicle, Helios is designed to take payloads of over 5 tons directly from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Geostationary Orbit (GEO) in less than 24 hours. Paired with affordable launches to LEO, Helios aims to dramatically cut the costs of accessing MEO, GEO, and beyond by many tens of millions of dollars.

Compatible with medium-lift and super-heavy launchers and using standard payload interfaces, Helios is designed to serve customers in the communications, imaging, defense, and scientific communities. Today, the status quo for many satellites launched to LEO is to use electric propulsion to slowly arrive at their target orbit over a period of months; the alternatives are to either include extra propulsion in the satellite itself, complicating the design and increasing mass and cost, or to pay for a much more expensive launch directly to MEO or GEO.

“The work done by SpaceX and others to open access to LEO has transformed existing industries and created countless new opportunities for businesses, scientists, and governments,” said Impulse CEO and founder Tom Mueller. “We firmly believe that extending affordable and reliable access to orbits beyond LEO with Helios will have a similar impact and create new markets.”

“The Helios vehicle unlocks the capability to move from LEO to MEO or GEO in a matter of hours—not days or months, as is currently the norm using conventional orbit raising methods,” said Martin Halliwell, former CTO of SES Satellites. “This changes the mission value proposition significantly in several ways, including decreasing the time to reach operational status, limiting potential radiation exposure, and reducing the overall payload mass by decreasing the size of thrusters and amount of fuel required. Helios will open new opportunities for MEO and GEO operators beyond today's limited mission choice criteria."

Helios is powered by a new 15,000 lbf (67 kN) engine, Deneb, which would burn up to 14,000 kg of propellant across each mission. The design and development team includes many veterans of the SpaceX Merlin engine, the most reliable rocket engine in history. Using the non-toxic, high-performance propellant combination of liquid oxygen and liquid methane, the same as Starship and Relativity’s Terran R, Deneb is future-proofed for on-pad operations. Deneb's first engine test-fires are scheduled for mid-2024, and the first demo launch of Helios is targeted for early 2026.

Helios joins Mira as the second vehicle in Impulse’s fleet—the “long-haul” complement to Mira’s “last-mile delivery” services. Having recently taken Mira from a blank-sheet design to successful operations in space in just 15 months, Impulse has rapidly emerged as a reliable and trusted partner for in-space transportation.

Missions set to benefit from Helios’s high delta-v capabilities include the insertion of GPS satellites into MEO, transferring telecom satellites from LEO to GEO, and placing scientific satellites (like the James Webb Telescope) into solar orbits. Customers will be able to choose their altitude, inclination, and plane with confidence that Impulse will deliver the payload with precision and timeliness.

Click here to learn more about Impulse Space's Helios Kick Stage.

Publisher: SatNow

GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013