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Latest Ion thruster Stories

2013-02-13 17:45:20

Electric rocket engines known as Hall thrusters, which use a super high-velocity stream of ions to propel a spacecraft in space, have been used successfully onboard many missions for half a century. Erosion of the discharge channels walls, however, has limited their application to the inner solar system. A research team at Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., has found a way to effectively control this erosion by shaping the engine's magnetic field in a way that shields...

GOCE’s Second Mission To Improve Gravity Map
2012-11-16 12:22:31

ESA ESA´s GOCE gravity satellite has already delivered the most accurate gravity map of Earth, but its orbit is now being lowered in order to obtain even better results. The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) has been orbiting Earth since March 2009, reaching its ambitious objective to map our planet´s gravity with unrivalled precision. Although the planned mission has been completed, the fuel consumption was much lower than anticipated because...

NASA Releases Last Images Of Dawn Spacecraft Visit With Vesta Asteroid
2012-09-12 14:31:54

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online As NASA's Dawn mission spacecraft speeds away from the giant asteroid Vesta, mission control has released two parting views using images that were among the last taken by Dawn. One set of images is a color-coded relief map of Vesta's northern hemisphere, from the pole to the equator. It incorporates images taken as Dawn began to creep over the high northern latitudes of Vesta. These were dark when Dawn arrived in June 2011. The...

Vesta Gets Ready For Journey To Ceres
2012-08-31 09:33:59

Watch the Video: Dawn Spacecraft's Farewell Portrait of Giant Asteroid Vesta Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online The Dawn spacecraft will be departing from asteroid Vesta on September 4 and will head out on a two-and-a-half-year journey towards the dwarf planet Ceres. The spacecraft arrived at Vesta in July 2011 after launching in 2007 on a 3-billion-mile journey towards the asteroid belt. NASA said Dawn will be reaching Ceres in early 2014. Dawn will spiral away...

Gravity Satellite Will Benefit Future Missions
2012-07-20 15:21:31

ESA´s GOCE satellite is not only mapping Earth´s gravity with unrivalled precision, but is also revealing new insight into air density and wind in space. This additional information is expected to improve the design and operation of future Earth observation missions. Most satellites orbit Earth higher than 400 km. Lower than that and atmospheric drag causes them to slow down quickly and reenter the atmosphere prematurely. This posed a problem for the designers of the GOCE...

2011-07-18 13:58:00

PASADENA, Calif., July 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's Dawn spacecraft has returned the first close-up image after beginning its orbit around the giant asteroid Vesta. On Friday, July 15, Dawn became the first probe to enter orbit around an object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) The image taken for navigation purposes shows Vesta in greater detail than ever before. When Vesta captured Dawn into...

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2011-06-24 07:40:00

NASA's Dawn spacecraft is on track to begin the first extended visit to a large asteroid. The mission expects to go into orbit around Vesta on July 16 and begin gathering science data in early August. Vesta resides in the main asteroid belt and is thought to be the source of a large number of meteorites that fall to Earth. "The spacecraft is right on target," said Robert Mase, Dawn project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. "We look forward to exploring this...

2011-06-21 15:30:00

PARIS, Le Bourget and SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, QinetiQ, (LSE: QQ.L) and EADS Astrium Crisa, an EADS (PAR:EAD) company, announced today that the companies have entered into a joint agreement to supply the XENITH(TM) (Xenon Ion Thruster) ion propulsion system to the worldwide commercial spacecraft market. The agreement will enable customers to benefit from the combined expertise of independent market leaders in design,...


Word of the Day
maffling
  • To stammer.
  • Present participle of maffle, to stammer.
  • A simpleton.
The word 'maffle' may come from a Dutch word meaning 'to move the jaws' or a French word meaning 'having large cheeks'.