Quantcast
Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Latest Ion thruster Stories

ec88d0161fe191724f2aaa13a2adb9931
2009-03-17 09:40:00

ESA's Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) successfully launched on schedule Tuesday with plans to provide an unprecedented view of Earth's gravity field. GOCE launched via a Russian Rockot vehicle from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in Russia at 1421GMT on Tuesday. Mission managers must now wait for about 90 minutes after lift-off before GOCE separates from its rocket. GOCE was expected to launch on Monday, but technical problems forced mission managers to suspend the...

2009-03-12 15:19:18

U.S. space agency scientists say the Cassini spacecraft has successfully switched to a backup set of propulsion thrusters as it orbits Saturn. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the late Wednesday swap was performed because of degradation in the performance of the primary thrusters, which had been in use since Cassini's launch in 1997. The space agency said the switch marked only the second time in Cassini's 11 years of flight that its engineering teams have gone to a...

3c7afce1febe4ed89fda069dd956283d1
2009-03-12 12:47:23

Early this morning the Cassini spacecraft relayed information that it had successfully swapped to a backup set of propulsion thrusters late Wednesday. The swap was performed because of degradation in the performance of the primary thrusters, which had been in use since Cassini's launch in 1997. This is only the second time in Cassini's 11 years of flight that the engineering teams have gone to a backup system. The thrusters are used for making small corrections to the spacecraft's course, for...

f1a08e8ba6076da61b20d540669a953a1
2009-03-10 16:20:00

This month an ESA team is preparing to test the performance of the smallest yet most precisely controllable engine ever built for space, sensitive enough to counteract the force of incoming sunshine. Measuring only ten centimeters across and emitting a faint blue glow as it runs, the Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP) engine produces an average thrust equivalent to the force of a single falling hair. But despite its low power, FEEP's thrust range and controllability are far superior to...

2009-03-10 13:14:47

European Space Agency scientists say they are ready to test the smallest yet most precisely controllable engine ever built for space. Measuring only 10 centimeters across, the ESA said its Field Emission Electric Propulsion engine produces an average thrust equivalent to the force of a falling hair, but sensitive enough to counteract the force of incoming sunshine. Despite its low power, the ESA said FEEP's thrust range and controllability are far superior to more forceful thrusters. Most...

de032a885c5378efe19a9b0a65458a2f1
2009-03-13 06:00:00

ESA is about to launch the most sophisticated of Earth Observation satellites to investigate the Earth's gravitational field with unprecedented resolution and accuracy. GOCE data will be crucial for obtaining accurate measurements of ocean circulation and sea-level change, both of which are affected by climate change. The data will help to better understand processes occurring inside the Earth which are linked to volcanoes and earthquakes. The "Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation...

2009-02-24 12:20:44

U.S. scientists say they are developing a new type of rocket that runs on gases that are much less expensive than conventional propellants. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers say their new rocket -- called the Mini-Helicon Plasma Thruster -- is much smaller than other rockets of its kind and could consume just one-tenth the fuel used by conventional systems. Oleg Batishchev, who led the research, said propulsion systems currently used for maintaining a satellite's orbit rely on...

57e38d5a1cd4a67cdefa14713d19cf8a1
2009-01-29 14:40:32

Higher-quality coatings through "runaway" self-sputtering In the electronics industry, thin metal films are deposited on silicon wafers with a sputter gun, which uses energetic ions "“ atoms with a positive charge "“ to knock the metal atoms off a target. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have now developed a powerful new kind of sputter process that can deposit high-quality metal films in complex, three-dimensional nanoscale...

5220b7f263b29ab42979b25aaa95c7d01
2008-11-21 12:20:00

NASA's Dawn spacecraft shut down its ion propulsion system today as scheduled. The spacecraft is now gliding toward a Mars flyby in February of next year.  "Dawn has completed the thrusting it needs to use Mars for a gravity assist to help get us to Vesta," said Marc Rayman, Dawn's chief engineer, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Dawn will now coast in its orbit around the sun for the next half a year before we again fire up the ion propulsion system to continue...

ba3e9ee3dc2c823ec39e2596d31330341
2008-04-18 12:45:00

Researchers at Hampshire defense and security firm Qinetiq are currently testing ion thrusters, which they hope will one day bring spacecraft to the planets through solar energy.The ion engines create thrust by the acceleration if ions by electromagnetic forces. They make use of the fact that a current flowing across a magnetic field creates an electric field directed sideways to the current.This is used to accelerate a beam of ions of xenon away from the spacecraft, thereby providing...