Questions tagged [electric-propulsion]

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2
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1answer
72 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 ...
6
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1answer
671 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 ...
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1answer
86 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 ...
2
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1answer
77 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, ...
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2answers
98 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 ...
2
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1answer
68 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 ...
3
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1answer
101 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 ...
2
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1answer
115 views

Could a carbon arc lamp help to propel a spacecraft through interstellar space?

I would like to know, on a theoretical basis, if the electron flow entering into the anode of a carbon arc lamp would impart enough kinetic energy to the anode, and thus to the spacecraft, to help ...
0
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1answer
96 views

Was DAWN's power-limited propulsion really limited by power used to accelerate the ions?

The discussion here uses the DAWN mission as a reference for the argument that the power used to accelerate the ions is what's important. I'm curious how many watts were actually used to accelerate ...
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2answers
306 views

Have light gases like hydrogen or helium been explored for ion propulsion?

This answer and discussion in comments below this answer mention that for an ion of mass $m$ and charge $q$ accelerated by a voltage $V$ the momentum it receives (impulse) is $$p = \sqrt{2mqV} = \...
2
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1answer
99 views

Using recent technology, how much electrical power could a nuclear reactor launchable by a low-level heavy-lift vehicle be developed to produce?

The main purpose behind asking this question is to ascertain the potential power-to-weight ratio of reactors built using modern-derivative technology (i.e. either Generation III derivatives or ...
2
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1answer
78 views

Going to Eros; what to consider choosing between ion and chemical propulsion?

When planning a mission to a close approach to the asteroid Eros and to remain nearby, what are the factors that one would need to consider when choosing between ion propulsion and chemical propulsion?...
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1answer
678 views

What's the final word; does the EmDrive drive work or not?

I'd like to know the final verdict on the EmDrive (or EM Drive); does it work or not? Some say yes, others say no, some say the measured effect was not propulsion, but just the energy radiated by the ...
3
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1answer
229 views

Is the BBC's explanation of nuclear thermal electric propulsion wrong?

The new BBC News item New engine tech that could get us to Mars faster says: Once Orion has been connected to the transfer vehicle, a nuclear electric rocket would be used to get the crew capsule and ...
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0answers
30 views

Do colloid thrusters generate thrust by using only droplets or pure ions as well? If they only use droplets, how are they the same as electrospray?

In all of the research literature I have read so far, I've seen colloid thrusters explained as devices that gain thrust by releasing only charged droplets from ionic liquids as the exhaust mass. ...
6
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1answer
145 views

Mass ratio of solar-electric versus radioisotope thermo-electric power for propulsion; beyond how many AU do RTGs win?

Solar-electric propulsion has been used several times now in deep space missions. This question explores the scalability in comparison to Radioisotope thermoelectric generation or other nuclear-based ...
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2answers
191 views

When did ion propulsion first see some serious development efforts?

In the video below at about 01:35 Dr. Marc D. Rayman, Chief Propulsion Engineer, NASA JPL mentions that the first time he had heard about ion propulsion was on the ...
3
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1answer
144 views

What are the advantages of solid iodine propellant and how is it used for ion propulsion?

I was reading about different sources of propellant for ion thrusters, Xenon being the most common. However, in more recent articles I've found more and more mentions of Solid Iodine being used as ion ...
2
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1answer
136 views

What exactly has “changed” about the way that NASA will procure technology for the Artemis program?

A video in the Space.com article NASA Taps Maxar to Build Lunar Gateway Power Module for Artemis Moon Plan shows the NASA director explaining the series Artemis 1, 2, 3... and announcing that the ...
4
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2answers
945 views

Who built Starlink's electric propulsion systems?

Wondering who actually built the Starlink propulsion systems? Did SpaceX develop this technology in-house, outsource or acquire a company that had the IP and bring this back in-house? Very curious ...
4
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1answer
102 views

Can a Mars orbiter mass only 50 kg?

A press release by the SatRevolution consortium says that it plans to send cubesats "as small as 50 kg" to Mars to "conduct a variety of valuable science." So that means orbiting, not just a flyby ...
3
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1answer
98 views

Why do the optimal thrust vectors point so far away from the velocity vector for the Psyche mission?

The question Psyche 16 - What will be learned in 2026? got me reading Wikipedia's Psyche (spacecraft) which links to the 35th International Electric Propulsion Conference paper Development of the ...
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2answers
12k views

Why will Starlink satellites use krypton instead of xenon for electric propulsion?

The press kit for the first Falcon 9 Starlink launch and deployment of the first 60 satllites scheduled for May 15, 2019 says: With a flat-panel design featuring multiple high-throughput antennas ...
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1answer
242 views

Super Capacitor Stages

Could this super capacitor be up scaled to be of use in the lower stages of a rocket? Here is the only information I found online on this? Related: Could rockets ...
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1answer
106 views

What are ways to store hydrogen for electric propulsion without a heavy pressure vessel?

This comment points out that any advantages of using low-mass ionized atomic hydrogen (i.e. protons) for electric propulsion if you had a fixed acceleration voltage and plenty of electrical power ...
3
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1answer
144 views

What's the lowest altitude that an ion engine has been used for a significant orbital maneuver?

I'm thinking about trying to calculate something for Where do ion propulsion's ions go? Do they remain in the solar system or shoot out into interstellar space? Excluding low altitude tests of ion ...
4
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1answer
488 views

Ratio of low-thrust slow spiral to Hohmann transfer $\Delta V$?

Going from one circular orbit to another, there are tables out there and equations that give the total $\Delta V$ needed for a two or three impulse maneuver scenario. For a very low thrust propulsion ...
4
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1answer
124 views

How to calculate the kilowatt hours (kW-h) needed for a solar-electric engine to produce a given delta-v?

A spacecraft is in LEO and I would like to reach a certain point in space; let's say Mars. If I look at the diagram in this answer I see that the delta-v from low Earth orbit to low Mars orbit is ...
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1answer
170 views

Is it possible to protect a Cubesat's electronics from 100g of acceleration?

I am currently researching the feasibility of setting up a coilgun that launches Cubesats for a paper. 1 cubesat per launch total payload mass <100kg.
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2answers
387 views

Calculating thrust pressure from ion thruster for rocket thrust equation

So recently i have been very interested in the possibilities of using ion thrusters as power interstellar propulsion units, however when it comes to calculating ISP it have absolutely zero idea how ...
6
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1answer
225 views

Why is hydrazine used in arcjet thrusters?

Most arcjet thrusters seem to use hydrazine or ammonia, with some research being done on hydrogen and water arcjets. I know hydrazine is easily catalyzed into exothermic decomposition, and it and its ...
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5answers
768 views

What is the most energy efficient & inexpensive propulsion system other than chemical fuel oxidizer that could be used in rockets?

I have read ionic/plasma propulsion system don't provide enough thrust to even lift themselves in Earth's atmosphere & photonic beamed propulsion is not in application yet so there any other ...
3
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1answer
194 views

Are ion/plasma thrusters sufficient for propulsion from Earth? [closed]

I'm looking to make something like a jet pack and I'm looking for super cheap thrusters to carry humans than normal chemical oxidized ones that are used in spacecrafts. I read that ionic thrusters can'...
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2answers
206 views

What prevents the use of electric engines to assist with spacecraft launches? (Launch Booster Supplement)

Much fuel is used to get rocket off the platform on the initial launch. Could electric turbine engines be used like booster rockets? Could an electric engine like a rail gun work similar in the way ...
6
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1answer
462 views

What are the parameters of the new Iodine electrical rocket engine developed by RSC Energia?

Several news outlets are reporting Energia Rocket and Space Corporation is nearing completion of a new electrical rocket engine using iodine stored as a solid and vaporized as needed. The new ...
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8answers
3k views

Can we thrust a rocket from earth using electric power?

I wanted to know if we can thrust a rocket from earth using electric power? If yes, how and has anyone tried to do that?
3
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1answer
1k views

Cosmic rays can be new energy source [closed]

Space is filled with cosmic rays that are high-energy particles. If we could convert that energy into electric (or any other) energy, then we could use it to power a rocket anywhere in the universe. ...
3
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2answers
369 views

Does using electric propulsion increase the lifetime of satellites?

Lifetime of satellites is affected by orbital decay. By using electric propulsion which is more efficient than chemical propulsion, this means that we got more fuel correct the satellite from orbital ...
2
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1answer
285 views

Why are electrodynamic tethers not used to propel payloads beyond LEO?

Bringing spacecraft to higher orbits than LEO is quite expensive and as rocket reusability gains traction, it will probably get even more expensive when compared to a standard LEO deployment since the ...
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1answer
577 views

How do you calculate delta v and thrust for a given time? [closed]

Okay, so assume you have an electric propulsion (no Oberth effect) spacecraft leaving from Earth escape (for example) to Mars (for example). You want to get there much faster than a Hohmann transfer ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Why does the NASA NEXT engine use xenon? [duplicate]

Why does the NASA NEXT engine use xenon? Why not use argon or krypton? Does it have to do with the thrust to power ratio or the specific impulse or something else?
5
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5answers
8k views

What is total impulse?

I'm acquainting myself with space propulsion and I'd love a good definition of total impulse beyond just a derivation. Why is it important? How does it related to other key metrics for propulsion ...
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2answers
800 views

In an ion thruster, does the temperature of the plasma drop after acceleration?

In the last discussion on why ion thrusters are so energy hungry(Why are Ion Thrusters so energy hungry?), people said that the system is not only supposed to ionize the gas but also heat it to ...
5
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1answer
738 views

Will the ISS have electric propulsion to maintain altitude? Is there enough power for it?

In April 2014 this comment was made below the question What propulsion methods does the ISS use for station-keeping?: In November they said in three years, so perhaps late 2016. Since such claims ...
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3answers
856 views

Electrical Propulsion Thrust

Is there an ultimate limit to the thrust outputs of electric propulsion thrusters? Although they work best providing low amounts of thrust for long periods of time, could improvements in technology ...
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1answer
241 views

What “high-tech fission-powered mission” almost “killed” New Horizons?

When reading the Discover Magazine article How New Horizons Survived the 40-Year-Glitch and Made it to Pluto while writing this question I saw "...the new NASA administrator tried to kill New Horizons ...