Questions tagged [electric-propulsion]

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6
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1answer
490 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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1answer
792 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
636 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} = \...
3
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1answer
228 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 ...
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2answers
16k 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 ...
4
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1answer
552 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 ...
6
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5answers
9k 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
155 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 ...
1
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1answer
87 views

How does a “hybrid orbital raising system” based on R-4D (N2O4/MMH) + SPT-100 (Hall effect) work exactly? (Intelsat 38 & 39)

Astronatix's Intelsat 39 lists the two engines SPT-100 Stechkin 1.35 kW Hall thruster. R-4D Marquardt N2O4/MMH rocket engine. 490 N. Question: Why is this combination on Intelsat 39 called "hybrid" ...
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0answers
75 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 ...
6
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0answers
136 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), $...
3
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1answer
187 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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1answer
202 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 ...
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0answers
61 views

Generating an electric field for a colloid thruster

I was wondering how the electric field in an electrospray thruster works to ionize particles and propel a micro spacecraft. I was thinking of possible circuits but I wasn't sure what it could look ...
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2answers
202 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 ...
5
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1answer
131 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
131 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 ...
3
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1answer
311 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
56 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 ...
10
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1answer
746 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
762 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 ...
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?
3
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1answer
108 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 ...
3
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1answer
254 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 ...
2
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1answer
72 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
83 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
247 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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2answers
215 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 ...
0
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1answer
115 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 ...
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1answer
102 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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1answer
85 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 ...