NASA Thruster Achieves World-Record Five-Plus Years of Operation
It follows a note published on the day (06/26), in the site "www.space-travel.com", stating that NASA Thruster achieves World-Record Five-Plus years of operation.
NASA Thruster Achieves World-Record
Five-Plus Years of Operation
by Staff Writers
Cleveland OH (SPX) Jun 26, 2013
A NASA advanced ion propulsion engine has successfully operated for more than 48,000 hours, or 5 and a half years, making it the longest test duration of any type of space propulsion system demonstration project ever.
The thruster was developed under NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) Project at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Glenn manufactured the test engine's core ionization chamber. Aerojet Rocketdyne of Sacramento, Calif., designed and built the ion acceleration assembly.
The 7-kilowatt class thruster could be used in a wide range of science missions, including deep space missions identified in NASA's Planetary Science Decadal Survey.
"The NEXT thruster operated for more than 48,000 hours," said Michael J. Patterson, principal investigator for NEXT at Glenn. "We will voluntarily terminate this test at the end of this month, with the thruster fully operational. Life and performance have exceeded the requirements for any anticipated science mission."
The NEXT engine is a type of solar electric propulsion in which thruster systems use the electricity generated by the spacecraft's solar panel to accelerate the xenon propellant to speeds of up to 90,000 mph. This provides a dramatic improvement in performance compared to conventional chemical rocket engines.
During the endurance test performed in a high vacuum test chamber at Glenn, the engine consumed about 1,918 pounds (870 kilograms) of xenon propellant, providing an amount of total impulse that would take more than 22,000 (10,000 kilograms) of conventional rocket propellant for comparable applications.
"Aerojet Rocketdyne fully supports NASA's vision to develop high power solar electric propulsion for future exploration," said Julie Van Kleeck, Aerojet Rocketdyne's vice president for space advanced programs. "NASA-developed next generation high power solar electric propulsion systems will enhance our nation's ability to perform future science and human exploration missions."
The NEXT project is a technology development effort led by Glenn to develop a next generation electric propulsion system, including power processing, propellant management and other components. The project, conducted under the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program at Glenn, is managed by NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
Fonte: Site www.space-travel.com
Comentário: Pois é leitor, é como temos divulgado, a Propulsão Iônica é uma das mais promissoras tecnologias para substituir a Propulsão Química, tanto em missões robóticas através do sistema solar, como também em missões tripuladas, e creio que essa notícia seja do interesse do grupo liderado pelo Dr. Gilberto Marrega Sandonato, do Laboratório Associado de Plasma (LAP) do INPE, como também para o grupo liderado pelo Prof. Dr. José Leonardo Ferreira, do Laboratório de Plasma do Instituto de Física da Universidade de Brasília (UnB), grupos que trabalham com a Propulsão Iônica no Brasil.