Questions tagged [electric-propulsion]

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20
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2answers
17k 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
759 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 ...
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8answers
4k 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?
7
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1answer
790 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 ...
7
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3answers
859 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} = \...
7
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1answer
604 views

What is Australia's Bartolomeo platform? When does it arrive at the ISS; when and where will it be attached?

In this answer to Will the Neumann drive start testing aboard the ISS some time in 2018? I first heard about Australia's upcoming Bartolomeo platform, which will be used for testing things such as the ...
6
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5answers
10k 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 ...
6
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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?
6
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1answer
819 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 ...
6
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1answer
188 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 ...
6
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1answer
163 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 ...
6
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1answer
246 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 ...
6
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1answer
503 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 ...
6
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0answers
137 views

Relationship between part dimensions and performance of ion electrospray thruster

I got the relationship between power, thrust and specific impulse for an ion electrospray thruster as follows: $$P/T= 1/2 \times g_o \times I_{\mathrm{sp}}$$ Where: $P$ = power required (in Watts), $...
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2answers
628 views

Will the Neumann drive start testing aboard the ISS some time in 2018?

The 2016 Daily Mail article Radical ion rocket engine that could 'get to Mars and back on one tank of fuel' set to be tested on the ISS says: Neumann Drive achieves more than 11,000 seconds of ...
5
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2answers
2k 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 ...
5
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1answer
112 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 ...
5
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1answer
150 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 ...
4
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1answer
597 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
133 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 ...
4
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1answer
175 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
127 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 ...
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3answers
880 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 ...
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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1answer
196 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 ...
3
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2answers
390 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 ...
3
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1answer
230 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 ...
3
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1answer
267 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 ...
3
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1answer
110 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
904 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 ...
3
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1answer
123 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 &...
3
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1answer
233 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 ...
3
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1answer
287 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 ...
3
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1answer
319 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 ...
3
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1answer
205 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'...
3
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0answers
40 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 ...
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5answers
954 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 ...
2
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1answer
249 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 ...
2
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2answers
483 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 ...
2
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1answer
62 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 ...
2
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1answer
80 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 ...
2
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1answer
140 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 ...
2
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1answer
108 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
79 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
149 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 ...
2
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1answer
87 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 ...
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1answer
84 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 ...
2
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1answer
159 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 ...
2
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1answer
123 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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1answer
93 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 ...