Ion drive propulsion an overview

A second issue is that oxygen is not easily ionized, which means lower electrical efficiency. Some manage to trickle through anyway and keep the discharge running, but there is always a surplus of electrons hanging around outside the thrust chamber.

Ion Propulsion Interactives

The disc, or "Lightcraft," is an early prototype for Earth-friendly spacecraft of the future. Dawn[ edit ] Dawn launched on September 27,to explore the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres.

Xenon is the most popular propellant for ion drive today since it is a heavy gas high atomic mass that is easily ionized. DS1 is not a big spacecraft, and the whole scientific mission which includes studying an asteroid is being accomplished on a nearly record low budget.

A similar engine powered the Deep Space 1 spacecraft. Ion drive engines are also easier to work on, consisting of simple electrical components, in contrast to the high performance mechanical pumps bolted into chemical rocketry.

Nonetheless, electric vehicles are attractive for interorbital haulers in a large scale space industrialization scenario. At first, Marshall directed Hughes to design a laboratory model of an ion engine. PEPE incorporates a half-dozen new technologies that will make future space plasma instruments smaller and less expensive.

With that thought in mind, he approached Ernst Stuhlinger, a member of the original "Rocket Team" that had emigrated to Fort Bliss. However, some private communications satellites in geosynchronous orbit incorporated ion drive into their stationkeeping system once the satellite was delivered there by a chemical rocket and its solar cell array deployed to power the ion drive engine.

The socks stick together or push away from each other because they are electrostatically charged. XIPS needs only 5 kg of fuel per year for stationkeeping, a fraction of what bipropellant or arcjet systems consume.

This electric propulsion system, the scientists believed, could develop sufficient thrust in frictionless space to propel large spacecraft over vast distances. The Van Allen Belt exists in a middle-level Earth orbit located below geosynchronous Earth orbit and above low Earth orbit.

Hughes has boldly led the way without sacrificing reliability, and this is the case with ion drive as well.

Ion Propulsion -- 50 Years in the Making

Other technologies include high performance power supplies operating at up to 15, volts but weighing just over grams. Hughes demonstrated an ion engine on Sept. Basically, the mass driver has merit for lunar launch but not interorbital propulsion, compared to alternatives, in a near-term scenario.

There were two main problems that stood in the way of successfully demonstrating the ion propulsion systems. Downey said another challenge of electronic propulsion involved developing an efficient technique to produce ions.

They were sent to Fort Bliss, Texas, to develop rocket technology for U. The Van Allen Belt exists in a middle-level Earth orbit located below geosynchronous Earth orbit and above low Earth orbit. This means that PEPE has a good chance of providing the first plasma sensor detection of an asteroid and should give the first indication of the composition of asteroid surface materials that are constantly knocked off the asteroid surface by the solar wind.

Riding the Highways of Light - Science mimics science fiction as a Rensselaer Professor builds and tests a working model flying disc. The Russians have for at least 10 years been extensively using an electric propulsion technique called a "plasma thruster" which they have begun to market overseas.

Ion thruster

A chemically powered launch vehicle, however, can lift an upper stage that carried a spacecraft powered by a lightweight electric propulsion system.

The Jupiter-C launched Explorer 1, America's first satellite, in Less than two months after the demonstration, however, NASA announced the consolidation of its nuclear-electric propulsion programs at Lewis.

According to Downey, these uncertainties led to considerations for flight testing electric engines. Hughes claims that their latest model of the XIPS is 13 times more efficient than conventional fuel propellant. Continually spewing positively charged ions will leave a spacecraft with a negative charge so great that the ions are attracted back to the spacecraft.

Plus, these engines are up to 10 times more efficient than chemical rockets. The ionised gas drifts towards an extraction grid system two or three plates with many small holes in them, held at high voltage where they are accelerated out of the thruster, so producing thrust.

Post-test examination indicated the engine was not approaching failure. Advanced Space Propulsion Conference - Scientists meet to discuss the latest in space transportation. The DS1 ion drive thruster is a 2. This results in a xenon atom with a positive charge, or what is known as an ion.

Xenon and argon are inert gases which are not expected to be recoverable in useful quantities from the Moon and asteroids. Some thrusters can vary exhaust speed in operation, but all can be designed with different exhaust speeds. DS1 is a step in the right direction to gaining acceptance of electric propulsion in the west, by using ion drive to get from Earth to an asteroid.

A big part of the DS1 mission is simply to demonstrate and analyze the ion drive propulsion system in space. Overview. Welcome to the Ion Propulsion module. Learners of all ages explore the propulsion technology that that made the Dawn mission possible.

Ion Drive is the next step up from Hyperdrive. It enables ships to travel slightly faster through normal space, and unlike other attempted propulsion technologies, remains stable when traveling through the warped space created by the thesanfranista.comlogy Name: Ion Drive.

An ion thruster or ion drive is a form of electric propulsion used for spacecraft propulsion. It creates thrust by accelerating positive ions with electricity. The term refers strictly to gridded electrostatic ion thrusters, and is often incorrectly loosely applied to all electric propulsion systems including electromagnetic plasma.

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An ion drive was a type of propulsion that used an electric field to accelerate charged particles and eject them at high velocities (in some designs, the particles approached the speed of light).

This type of propulsion was used by many. The Incredible Ions of Space Propulsion June 16, -- In the not so distant past when spacecraft designers had to choose a means of propulsion for their ships, ion engines were not among the viable options for long-range space travel.

Ion Propulsion Interactives Ion drive propulsion an overview
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