by Staff Writers
Cambridge, Mass. (UPI) Aug 17, 2012
Micro-thrust engines no larger than a penny could move future small satellites in space, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say.
The engine has none of the valves, pipes and heavy propellant tanks of typical bulky satellite engines, they said.
Instead the design, developed my MIT aeronautics and astronautics Professor Paulo Lozano, is a flat, compact square, looking something like a computer chip, with microscopic tips that when stimulated with voltage emit tiny beams of ions when an electrical voltage is applied, the university reported Friday.
The stream of charged particles emitted by the device could propel a small satellite through space, Lozano said.
The researchers found an array of 500 tips produces 50 micronewtons of force, which on Earth could only support a small shred of paper but which in the zero gravity of space would be enough to move a 2-pound satellite.
"They're so small that you can put several [thrusters] on a vehicle," Lozano said.
A small satellite equipped with several micro-thrusters could "not only move to change its orbit, but do other interesting things -- like turn and roll," he said.
With micro-thrusters and onboard solar panels to create voltage such a satellite could easily make changes in its position or orbit, the researchers said.
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
Ball Aerospace Incorporates Enhanced Data Communication for JPSS-1 Satellite
Boulder CO (SPX) Aug 16, 2012
Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. will incorporate essential data communication enhancements for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1), currently under development for an early 2017 launch. JPSS is the Nation's next generation polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system, procured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), through the National Aeron ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|