Engine lowers cost of getting into space

May 24, 2007
Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a prototype satellite engine that uses less fuel to carry loads into space.

Engine lowers cost of getting into space


The trick is that, once in space, the engine uses solar cells, letting it take off with 40% less fuel, and the exhaust is fine-tuned to get more thrust. The last point means controllers on the ground can throttle the engine, so it needn't run at maximum thrust all the time, as do most rocket engines on satellites.

In the ion propulsion engine, xenon atoms are injected into a discharge chamber where they are stripped of their electrons and turned into ions. Light electrons are held back by a magnetic field, while heavier ones are accelerated out the back end by an electric field, generating thrust. The electric and magnetic fields generated are the mediating forces in controlling how much thrust the engine creates.

Sponsored Recommendations

MOVI-C Unleashed: Your One-Stop Shop for Automation Tasks

April 17, 2024
Discover the versatility of SEW-EURODRIVE's MOVI-C modular automation system, designed to streamline motion control challenges across diverse applications.

The Power of Automation Made Easy

April 17, 2024
Automation Made Easy is more than a slogan; it signifies a shift towards smarter, more efficient operations where technology takes on the heavy lifting.

Lubricants: Unlocking Peak Performance in your Gearmotor

April 17, 2024
Understanding the role of lubricants, how to select them, and the importance of maintenance can significantly impact your gearmotor's performance and lifespan.

From concept to consumption: Optimizing success in food and beverage

April 9, 2024
Identifying opportunities and solutions for plant floor optimization has never been easier. Download our visual guide to quickly and efficiently pinpoint areas for operational...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!