If you had a small pressure vessel and a matte black external boiler that could utilize the heat of the sun, would pressurized steam be feasible for maneuvering a small satellite?

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    $\begingroup$ Steam rocket questions have been asked here before, but more about boosters IIRC. Here's one space.stackexchange.com/q/14975/6944 $\endgroup$ Sep 3, 2020 at 12:34
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    $\begingroup$ this is largely what cold gas thrusters do, except they use liquids other than water $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Sep 3, 2020 at 12:36
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    $\begingroup$ Cold gas thrusters are used sometimes, usually with high-pressure nitrogen bottles. For example Europian GAIA astrometric mission uses them for very gentle attitude corrections without disturbance to the observation. GAIA also uses conventional (hydrasine) thrusters for trajectory correction, but rarely. Downside - gas thrusters has several times less delta V. $\endgroup$
    – Heopps
    Sep 3, 2020 at 12:42
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    $\begingroup$ I mean, LH2/LOX engines use pressurized steam as a propellant. It's just that both the steam and the pressure are created on demand. $\endgroup$
    – Tristan
    Sep 3, 2020 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Tristan and it's on fire $\endgroup$ Sep 3, 2020 at 15:55


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