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Latest Ion thruster Stories

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2010-05-05 06:35:00

"Standard orbit, Mr. Sulu." Captain Kirk barks out the order with such confidence. He knows the USS Enterprise can slip in and out of planetary orbits with ease. But it's only easy in the realm of science fiction. In the real world, such maneuvers have been impossible --until now. Enter Dawn, NASA's cutting edge mission to the asteroid belt. Powered with a futuristic sounding new technology called "ion propulsion," this spacecraft will perform space moves rivaling those of the Enterprise. At...

2010-04-19 16:05:00

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, successfully completed a second series of vibration and altitude hot-fire tests on its 160-pound thrust mono-propellant rocket engine planned for use on NASA's Orion spacecraft. Aerojet is providing all of the engines for Orion's crew and service modules for Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor to NASA for developing the Orion crew exploration vehicle as the nation's next generation spacecraft...

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2010-03-17 10:51:33

On the day running up to launch when a spacecraft is fuelled, ground personnel look more like astronauts than engineers, putting on spacesuit-like protective gear. This is an essential precaution when dealing with the current hydrazine fuel, but a new development could make satellite fuelling no more dangerous than filling up a car. First used in rocket engines by the German Luftwaffe during World War Two, hydrazine remains the main propellant of choice for a satellite's onboard...

2010-03-10 16:45:00

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, played a key role in the successful launch of United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., carrying the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites-P (GOES-P) satellite built by The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) for this NASA and NOAA cooperative mission. Aerojet provided reaction control thrusters for the Delta IV upper stage, as well as a bipropellant chemical propulsion...

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2010-03-04 07:59:28

Mini-thrusters or miniature, electric propulsion systems are being developed, which could make it easier for the Air Force's small satellites, including the latest CubeSats, to perform space maneuvers and undertake formidable tasks like searching for planets beyond our solar system. With Air Force Office of Scientific Research funding, researchers led by Dr. Paulo Lozano at Massachusetts Institute of Technology are considering the advantages of electric propulsion over more traditional...

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2009-10-16 08:45:00

Direct communication between Earth and Mars can be strongly disturbed and even blocked by the Sun for weeks at a time, cutting off any future human mission to the Red Planet. An ESA engineer working with engineers in the UK may have found a solution using a new type of orbit combined with continuous-thrust ion propulsion. The European researchers studied a possible solution to a crucial problem affecting future human missions to Mars: how to ensure reliable radio communication even when Mars...

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2009-10-14 08:48:04

The Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL's) Ion Tiger, a hydrogen-powered fuel cell unmanned air vehicle (UAV), has flown 23 hours and 17 minutes, setting an unofficial flight endurance record for a fuel-cell powered flight. The test flight took place on October 9th through 10th at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The Ion Tiger fuel cell development system team is led by NRL and includes Protonex Technology Corporation, the University of Hawaii, and HyperComp Engineering. The program is sponsored by the...

2009-06-09 08:48:21

The U.S. space agency says its Dawn spacecraft has re-ignited its ion propulsion system, continuing its eight-year mission to explore the asteroid belt. Mission controllers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said they received a transmission from the Dawn spacecraft confirming the re-ignition. During the eight years Dawn's three ion engines will accumulate 2,000 days of operation. The spacecraft's mission includes...

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2009-05-26 14:40:13

ESA's gravity mission GOCE has achieved a first in the history of satellite technology. The sophisticated electric propulsion system has shown that it is able to keep the satellite completely free from drag as it cuts through the remnants of Earth's atmosphere "“ paving the way for the best gravity data ever. Volker Liebig, ESA's Director of Earth Observation Programs commented, "I am very pleased to see another world premier by GOCE, after having already demonstrated the most sensitive...

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2009-04-06 10:15:00

GOCE's sophisticated electric ion propulsion system has been switched on and confirmed to be operating normally, marking another crucial milestone in the satellite's post-launch commissioning phase. The success of GOCE's ultra-sensitive gravity measurements depends on finely controlling the satellite's orbit and speed. The push from the thruster must be just enough to compensate for the tiny amount of drag generated by the few wisps of atmosphere at GOCE's orbital height. No normal jet engine...


Word of the Day
mallemaroking
  • Nautical, the visiting and carousing of sailors in the Greenland ships.
This word is apparently from a confusion of two similar Dutch words: 'mallemerok,' a foolish woman, and 'mallemok,' a name for some persons among the crew of a whaling vessel.