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 ...

Performance degradation mechanism of a helicon plasma thruster

A part of the performance degradation mechanism of the advanced, electrodeless, helicon plasma thruster with a magnetic nozzle, has been revealed by the research group of Dr. Kazunori Takahashi and Prof. Akira Ando at Tohoku ...

Could plasma jet thrusters 'kickstart' interplanetary travel?

A great offshoot from commercial space companies getting a foothold in real missions to orbit is that the old entrepreneurial space spirit seems to have been revived. People are attempting to develop and build what could ...

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