Image: Plasma propulsion for small satellites

A test firing of Europe's Helicon Plasma Thruster, developed with ESA by SENER and the Universidad Carlos III's Plasma & Space Propulsion Team (EP2-UC3M) in Spain. This compact, electrodeless and low voltage design is ideal ...

Electric solid propellant: Can it take the heat?

Electric solid propellants are being explored as a safer option for pyrotechnics, mining, and in-space propulsion because they only ignite with an electric current. But because all of these applications require high heat, ...

Plasma thruster: New space debris removal technology

The Earth is currently surrounded by debris launched into space over several decades. This space junk can collide with satellites, causing damage and creating more debris. To preserve a secure space environment, the active ...

Image: CubeSat micro-pulsed plasma thruster

This micro-pulsed plasma thruster has been designed for propulsion of miniature CubeSats; its first firing is seen here. The thruster works by pulsing a lightning-like electric arc between two electrodes. This vaporizes ...

Traveling to Mars with immortal plasma rockets

Nearly 50 years after landing on the moon, mankind has now set its sights on sending the first humans to Mars. The moon trip took three days; a Mars trip will likely take most of a year. The difference is in more than just ...

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