Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Air Force eyes mini-thrusters for use in satellite propulsion

Date:
March 3, 2010
Source:
Air Force Office of Scientific Research
Summary:
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.

A prototype of a miniature electrospray thruster with four rows of ion emitters is shown here. The thruster is contained within two black plates each measuring about one square inch.
Credit: Credit: Dr. Paulo Lozano, MIT

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 chemical rocketry. As a result, they have discovered "ionic liquid ion sources" which are the core elements of the mini-thruster.

In addition to the benefits anticipated for small satellites, the technology may have applicability in completely different areas.

"Fast-moving ions coming out from the mini-thrusters can be used to etch semiconductors to create patterns in the nanometer scale, to fabricate computer chips or small mechanical devices," said Lozano.

The team is interested in the properties that allow advances in travel between different orbits in space and the ability for spacecraft to self-destruct upon controlled re-entry, therefore preventing the creation of additional space debris.

Lozano predicts that he will have a mini-thruster prototype developed in about four or five months and he expects the technology to become a reality in the next two years. He plans to begin measuring the velocity of the ions and their energy as soon as the prototype is ready to determine the thrust and efficiency of the engine. Later this year, the team will begin looking at how to integrate mini-thrusters to flight hardware.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Air Force Office of Scientific Research. "Air Force eyes mini-thrusters for use in satellite propulsion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100303162902.htm>.
Air Force Office of Scientific Research. (2010, March 3). Air Force eyes mini-thrusters for use in satellite propulsion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100303162902.htm
Air Force Office of Scientific Research. "Air Force eyes mini-thrusters for use in satellite propulsion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100303162902.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station

Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) On it's second attempt this week, The Space X company launched Friday from Cape Canaveral to ferry supplies to the International Space Station. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unmanned Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida

Unmanned Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2014) The rocket, built and operated by Space Exploration Technologies, carries a Dragon cargo ship loaded with supplies and equipment destined for the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth's Near-Twin Found Orbiting Red Dwarf

Earth's Near-Twin Found Orbiting Red Dwarf

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The newly-discovered planet is roughly the size of Earth and could have liquid water on its surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A bump in the rings could be a half-mile-wide miniature moon. It was found by accident in Cassini probe images. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins