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Questions tagged [electric-propulsion]

Questions concerning the use, design, and operation of electrically powered thrusters, such as ion, Hall Effect, magnetoplasmadynamic, and VASIMR thrusters, which use electrical power and electric or magnetic fields to accelerate reaction mass, typically with low thrust and high specific impulse.

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Would that asteroid transport be possible?

I did the mistake of watching an episode of the Science Fiction series "For All Mankind". There they are trying to catch an asteroid in order to bring it back to Mars. I know this series is ...
Tobias Reich's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
183 views

Optimal Propulsion Strategy for a Mars Mission

I am designing a mission to Mars for a class project aimed at studying Mars' space weather. The mission is constrained to use a single Vega-C launch. I need to determine whether using a propulsion ...
Mario Pastore's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
123 views

Are there any upcoming space exploration missions that will utilize solar electric propulsion systems?

Solar electric propulsion systems had been successfully used in several space exploration missions and were well-suited for deep space missions where long-duration operation and high specific impulse ...
Arunabh Bhattacharya's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
148 views

In a gridded-ion thruster, why are the ions accelerated away from the thruster and do not just stay close to the negatively charged grid?

Basically, if the ions are accelerated due to their attraction to a negatively charged gird at the back end of the thruster, why don't the ions just stay by the grid? How are they ejected out of the ...
lewellyn's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
4k views

How is the Quantum Drive performing on board the BARRY-1 cubesat?

Since 2001 there has been chatter about reactionless “quantum drives” such as the EmDrive developed by Satellite Propulsion Research Ltd. These drives supposedly produce thrust without consuming ...
Woody's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
3k views

Would electrically powered thrusters on JWST have made it last for decades longer?

Since the lifespan of the James Webb Space Telescope is determined by the amount of fuel it can carry for its thrusters, used to decelerate the reaction wheels used to orient the telescope, and since ...
Ryan Christiansen's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
163 views

Deep space mission propellant

For an interplanetary mission that has a duration of 40 years cam we use hydrogen peroxide monopropellants? Can we use arcjets?
RemyJ's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
292 views

Can electrodynamic tether propulsion use the solar magnetic field?

Electrodynamic tethers have been proposed for satellite propulsion in the magnetic fields of Earth and the Gas Giant planets. Is it realistic to consider using the Sun's magnetic field for ...
Woody's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
189 views

Circularization of an orbit on gmat

I'm using Gmat to turn to zero the eccentricity of an orbit around Mars with an electric thruster. I modeled the initial orbit, introduced the engine, the tank and the solar arrays and created the ...
Francesco's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
178 views

Minimal vacuum system requirements to test a scale model ion thruster for a student project?"

I am planning to make a small-scale ionic thruster, however, I am not planning to invest in a vacuum chamber so I am thinking of only achieving vacuum in the plasma chamber itself, by sealing the ...
yuzhe chong's user avatar
-12 votes
4 answers
286 views

When is the thrust produced in an ion thruster? [closed]

I have read many times that the thrust is produced when the ions leave the satellite, not while they are accelerating. I have asked the same question twice in openAI ChatGPT and it gave me two ...
Ricardo Casimiro's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
204 views

What is the reason Starlink satellites took 4 days to re-enter during the accident on February 2022?

I am reviewing the incident that knocked out 39 Starlink satellites earlier this year. As I explain in this thread, there was a modest magnetic storm on the 3rd of February, which increased ...
Playstation_waifu's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
68 views

Eutelsat 13G and Spacebus NEO's all-electric propulsion

Today, Eutelsat's Hotbird-13G was launched by a Falcon 9 to a "geosynchronous transfer orbit". Deployment was at an altitude of roughly 1100 km. The satellite must reach a geosynchronous ...
Peter - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
67 views

A hybrid micropropulsion system for CubeSats

I am curious about how much potential would a hybrid (electric & chemical) micropropulsion system have for CubeSats. The chosen propellant is water due to its non toxic nature, cheap cost and high ...
JD_PM's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
62 views

Solar powered spacecraft electrolyzing water as it goes; would ion drives or burning the H +O be more efficient?

I keep trying to think of ways that future asteroid mining might be facilitated, with cost effective in space transport a major challenge; I have been wondering about different ways that a spacecraft ...
Ken Fabian's user avatar
  • 1,042
2 votes
0 answers
190 views

Is electric propulsion feasible for human spaceflight?

I have been reading a lot about electric propulsion and was wondering if it would be feasible for human spaceflight. It is really efficient but it takes a while to get to the desired speed. Would it ...
The Rocket fan's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
354 views

What's this small source of glowing blue plasma next to Psyche's Hall effect thruster for? What does it do and why does the plasma curve and connect?

PV Magazine's NASA’s 1.5 billion-mile Psyche asteroid mission will be solar-powered includes the image below which is PIA24030 and the relevent part of the NASA caption is: The photo on the left ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
3 votes
1 answer
401 views

Why was SERT-1 put in a suborbital trajectory (4000 km apogee) while SERT-2 (1970-009A) was put in a 1000 km circular polar orbit?

Wikipedia's SERT-1 says SERT-1 (Space Electric Rocket Test) was a NASA probe used to test electrostatic ion thruster design and was built by NASA's Lewis Research Center (now NASA Glenn). SERT-1 was ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
0 answers
53 views

Which spacecraft have entered lunar orbit through L1?

I'm examining entering lunar orbit through the Earth-Moon L1 point with low-thrust propulsion. As part of this, I'm interested in all examples of spacecraft (both actually flown and ones that didn't ...
NeutronStar's user avatar
  • 1,049
2 votes
0 answers
113 views

Are VASIMR + Arcjet engines feasible for orbital transfers on Mars?

The VASIMR engine is an electric propulsion system that has been lauded for its ability to cut down on interplanetary transfers. While it requires a high power source (in the range of 200kW), it is a ...
FontFamily's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
168 views

"Hohmann-Like" and Chemical / Electric Thrust Comparison

Part of the work I have to do for my degree is to perform a "Hohmann-like" transfer between Earth and Mercury, of which I believe I have accomplished. I have attempted numerous times to ...
Andrew Blair's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
243 views

Do operational Starlink satellites run their ion engines at night on batteries? And if so, do they have hi/low settings?

Discussion below What is the maximum thrust of the Starlink satellites? raise the question of the Starlink communications satellites' power budget and use of their ion thruster in daylight when the ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

Has ion propulsion ever been used in a deep space trajectory correction maneuver proper?

Answer(s) to What types of propulsion are used to adjust an orbit? lead me to wonder if electric propulsion has ever been used for a proper TCM or "trajectory correction maneuver" in deep ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
3 votes
1 answer
422 views

How exactly does a magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster generate thrust?

So, I have some trouble to intuitively imagine what exactly is going on in MPDs. As I understand it, you draw a current from a cathode in the radial direction to the anode (channel wall). You ignite a ...
Rognor's user avatar
  • 31
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Where to send invention ideas?

I invented a new type of thruster for satellites. I would like to know where can I send the report I made. The report was reviewed by several physicists and engineers in my environment, but I would ...
mylifeforaiur's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
259 views

Was the Isp = 11,000 seconds Neumann Drive tested on the ISS? Did it work? How well did it perform?

In 2018 answers were posted to What is Australia's Bartolomeo platform? When does it arrive at the ISS; when and where will it be attached? Will the Neumann drive start testing aboard the ISS ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
5 votes
1 answer
142 views

What "unique control system" modulated GOCE's thrust to compensate for variable atmospheric drag? How did it know how to modulate it?

This answer to How much time did the longest maneuver last? says: The GOCE satellite mission (Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer) lasted 55 months (4.6 years) of largely ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
3 votes
1 answer
336 views

Are the (relatively) new "all electric" satellite buses like the Boeing 702SP really all-electric? Are RCS and momentum unloading done with ions?

This answer to Can ion Thrusters be used for Reaction Control System? got me thinking about the new "all-electric" class of commercial satellite buses. Question: Are the (relatively) new &...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
1 answer
473 views

Can ion Thrusters be used for Reaction Control System?

As RCS (Reaction Control System) mainly required less thrust than regular rocket engine can ion Thrusters be used for attitude determination in spacecraft(Orion, Dragon), satellites or even during ...
Mukul Hatekar's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

How much of the world's xenon has been used in spaceflight altogether? Is it a lot? Did it cost a lot?

This answer to Why will Starlink satellites use krypton instead of xenon for electric propulsion? says: I expect they did the math, and found that overall cost was less, even with reduced thrust/watt ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
0 votes
1 answer
112 views

Simple Ionic Drive Problem

I am having trouble with my calculated values for part B of the problem. In part A I used the formula F=qE, where F is the force, q is the charge = 1.6 * 10^-19 coulombs and E is the electric field = ...
AstroNOT98's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
297 views

What are all the kinds of electric propulsion that don't qualify as ion propulsion in standard spaceflight lingo?

Comments on the meta question We have both electric-propulsion and ion-thruster tags, are they distinct? What would be good usage guidance for electric-propulsion? indicate that the term "...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
5 votes
2 answers
176 views

Has anyone suggested using an electrically powered sling or centrifuge mass thrower as a form of electrically powered spacecraft propulsion?

Has anyone suggested using an electrically powered sling as a form of electric propulsion for a space craft? It might be a centrifuge type arrangement with a way to release part of or all of the ...
Matthew Christopher Bartsh's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
217 views

GMAT: LEO to GEO with Electrical Thruster simulation?

I would like to get a simulation from LEO to GEO with an electrical Kick-Stage. GMAT seems to be able to do it. Is there any Script/Scenario already written? The aim is to perform a parametric study ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 21
0 votes
1 answer
50 views

Powering pulsed Ion Thruster

The thrust of an Ion Thruster is directly proportional to the Input power. I've done some experimenting with DIY versions, and I was wondering: Since Power is simply Energy/Time, if I shot incredibly ...
Mat NX's user avatar
  • 237
3 votes
1 answer
729 views

What technologies enable or at least help satellite operation in Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO)?

This answer to How low is VLEO? (FCC's newest approval for SpaceX) suggests VLEO begins (or ends I guess) at 350 km. The two bad things I know about in VLEO are an enhanced rate of altitude loss due ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
1 vote
1 answer
170 views

How long can the dawn probe‘s ion thrusters burn?

The title pretty much summarizes the question. Weirdly, googling „dawn spaceprobe burn time“ and similar things didn‘t turn up anything useful (at least for me), so I was wondering if maybe someone ...
Jake's user avatar
  • 121
1 vote
0 answers
51 views

Are there now established classes of solar-electric powered spacecraft?

The NASA.gov press release NASA Awards Contract to Launch Initial Elements for Lunar Outpost says: NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, to provide ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
1 vote
0 answers
261 views

Technological challenges to sending a high altitude balloon to space and orbit from 50 km?

Below At what altitude would I have to go in a lighter than air balloon to be above all wind and just have the earth rotate underneath me? there is a comment: If you want to be above all winds, you ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
0 votes
1 answer
149 views

How much additional thrust could the electron gun produce for electric sail propulsion?

Suppose there is an electric sail in LEO, do the electrons coming out of the gun produce an additional thrust? to produce a net thrust the electrons should NOT return to the satellite (which is at a ...
Ricardo Casimiro's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
620 views

How much krypton do Starlink satellites carry when they are first deployed?

Starlink satellites use krypton as propellant. This answer roughly estimates 2.3 kg of Krypton based on a total delta-V of 190 m/s and an exhaust velocity of 20,000 m/s. But how close is that to ...
Joe Jobs's user avatar
  • 2,650
2 votes
1 answer
173 views

Combination of fuel cells and electric motors - whether it has been used as part of an electric pump-fed engines?

In electric-pump-fed engines fuel pumps are electrically powered and batteries are used as source of electricity. Yet there is another source of electrical energy which could be used in theory - fuel ...
WOW 6EQUJ5's user avatar
  • 2,321
2 votes
1 answer
112 views

Is the thrust provided by electrostatic engines low because thrust depends on particle mass of the exhaust in the case of electrostatic engines?

Based on the equations of mass flow rate and exit velocity provided here (https://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/rocket/rktthsum.html), we can see that thrust in the case of chemical engines does not ...
Xi Liu's user avatar
  • 229
2 votes
1 answer
108 views

Can I "tack" towards a laser beam from which I am powering my 100% efficient & massless ion engine?

As far as I know, for light and particles taking special relativity into account: \begin{align} E^2 &= (T + m_0c^2)^2\\ &= p^2 c^2 + m_0^2 c^4 &\text{ (particles)}\\[1.5em] E &= p ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is the propulsion for the Scorpion nuclear-thermal-electric ship concept viable and credible?

Recently I've come across the proposal for the "Scorpion" spacecraft -- I originally ran across it on Project Rho (ctrl-F for it) but it looks like the article was published in the journal ...
ikrase's user avatar
  • 8,874
1 vote
1 answer
130 views

Is an electric fuel tug from LEO to moon orbit economically feasible?

Does it make economical sense to use an electricaly powered fuel tug to supply a moon landing program with fuel? I am imagining an architecture of launching a 25t payload of mostly fuel into LEO which ...
lijat's user avatar
  • 1,798
2 votes
1 answer
274 views

Options for (high-thrust) RCS with Isp beyond that of chemical?

There are a number of potential options for high-performance engines in the future: nuclear pulse propulsion, NTR, gas-core NTR, nuclear electrothermal, and potentially even fusion rockets. However, ...
ikrase's user avatar
  • 8,874
-3 votes
2 answers
175 views

Fuel used for electric propulsion?

What kind of fuel do electric propulsion spacecraft and satellites use? Did any of them get electricity from bateries? An ion engine creates thrust by accelerating ions using electricity. How is that ...
Joe Jobs's user avatar
  • 2,650
5 votes
1 answer
719 views

Where can I learn to calculate the physics of an ion thruster?

I am trying to build an ion thruster, but I don’t know where to start learning the actual numbers behind one. I know how they work on a basic level, but not much more. Basically I want to be able to ...
saddlepiggy's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
494 views

Why might krypton have a lower utilization fraction than xenon for ion propulsion, and what can be done to improve it?

A comment below Why will Starlink satellites use krypton instead of xenon for electric propulsion? links to the 2011 preprint A Performance Comparison of Xenon and KryptonPropellant on an SPT-100 Hall ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k