Archive for propulsion

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Superconducting Islands Amplify Photon Pressure

The ripple in space that we call a photon, or wave/particle of light, does have some mass, but it is so small that is almost zero. It normally takes millions of photons just to measure any impact at all. Joint research based in Finland shows that an island of superconductivity can amplify the ability to […]

Liquid Salt Space Thruster

Over the years, the design of space thrusters has struggled with problems like pressurized tanks and expensive propellants. Small satellites don’t need much thrust, but as atmospheric drag pulls them into a downward orbit spiral, they do need some adjustment to stay in orbit. A new thruster system about the size of a pack of […]

Refueling in Space Means Staying There

Our future lies in space, not pinned down on the surface of a planet at the bottom of a gravity well. Once we have managed to climb out of that dark hole, we will have little reason to go back down into it. Most of the fuel required for space travel is burned up in […]

Ionic Thrust Motor Doesn’t Burn Fuel

Getting to the Moon on Drops of Fuel – [epfl.ch] Imagine reaching the Moon using just a tenth of a liter of fuel. With their ionic motor, MicroThrust, EPFL scientists and their European partners are making this a reality and ushering in a new era of low-cost space exploration. The complete thruster weighs just a […]

Photonic Laser Thruster

Generating small amounts of thrust with photons is possible under the right conditions. The BAE Institute has demonstrated that it is possible to concentrate light and reflect it back and forth enough times to transfer some of the momentum to a target mirror. While this does not create a large amount of thrust, it can […]

Space Vehicles

Space vehicles that are designed primarily for space travel alone will be unlike craft that are designed for navigating in an atmosphere. There is no need to consider aerodynamics in space or stress related to strong gravitational fields. Instead, they need to have strong hull integrity and if they are designed to rotate to create […]

Propulsion

Space propulsion engines are very different from thrusting engines designed to boost an object out of a planetary gravity well. They must be more efficient, must not require large quanties of expendable supplies (either fuel or thrusting material) and must be able to operate continually. Thrusters: Chemical thrusters currently used in satellite spacecraft don’t offer […]

Atomic Rockets

Atomic Rockets

Atomic Rockets Please go visit this awesome site about space travel. The table of contents is displayed below. One of the highlights of the site is a page (Engine List) that includes a comprehensive list of engine/propulsion technologies with a technical table showing thrust, mass, efficiency and more … calculations. The “Common Misconceptions” page dispels […]