Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Space Travel News  

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Scientists develop new plasma thruster

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Cambridge, Mass. (UPI) Feb 24, 2009
U.S. scientists say they are developing a new type of rocket that runs on gases that are much less expensive than conventional propellants.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers say their new rocket -- called the Mini-Helicon Plasma Thruster -- is much smaller than other rockets of its kind and could consume just one-tenth the fuel used by conventional systems.

Oleg Batishchev, who led the research, said propulsion systems currently used for maintaining a satellite's orbit rely on chemical reactions that occur within the fuel, releasing energy that ultimately propels the object. But such chemical rockets are expensive, due largely to the amount of fuel they use.

Now, he said, engineers are developing alternative, non-chemical rockets in which an external source of electrical energy is used to accelerate the propellant that provides thrust.

The scientists said the Mini-Helicon is the first rocket to run on nitrogen, the most abundant gas in Earth's atmosphere. Batishchev noted, however, it could be years before the technology can be used commercially.

This work was funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Related Links
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Segment Of Ares I-X Test Rocket Arrives At Kennedy
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Feb 23, 2009
The last newly manufactured section of the Ares I-X test rocket arrived at the Assembly and Refurbishment Facility of NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Friday.

  • NKorea under growing pressure to scrap rocket launch
  • Scientists develop new plasma thruster
  • MIT Rocket Aims For Cheaper Nudges In Space
  • India's Cryogenic Engine Set For Integration With Rocket

  • Goddard Deputy Director Named Chairman Of OCO Investigation
  • Kepler One Step Closer To Launch
  • DPRK To Test-Fire Satellite
  • South Korea Warns North Satellite Launch Would Breach UN Order

  • NASA Defers Setting Next Shuttle Launch Date
  • Shuttle Flight Readiness Review Still On Track For Feb 20
  • NASA again postpones Discovery launch
  • Discovery Facing More Delays

  • Second ATV Named After Johannes Kepler
  • Russian supply craft arrives at space station: agency
  • Satellite collision poses 'small' risk to ISS: NASA
  • Happy Birthday, Columbus!

  • Eye Specialist With An Unusual Clientele
  • Two Japanese Picked As Candidates For Astronauts
  • Sweet Potato Takes A Ride On Space Shuttle
  • Mosquito Survives In Outer Space

  • China Plans To Launch Third Ocean Survey Satellite In 2010
  • Satellite Collision Not To Delay China's Space Program
  • China plans own satellite navigation system by 2015: state media
  • Fengyun-3A Weather Satellite Begins Weather Monitoring

  • U.S., Chinese scientists build nanorobot
  • NASA And Caltech Test Steep-Terrain Rover
  • NASA And Caltech Test Steep-Terrain Rover
  • ASI Chaos Small Robot To Participate In Series Of Exercises

  • Fractured Lavas Suggest Floods On Mars
  • Phoenix Mars Lander Team Wins 2009 Swigert Award
  • Dawn Spacecraft View Of Mars
  • As Dawn Approaches Mars, PSI Scientists Gear Up For GRaND Tests

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright Space.TV Corporation. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. 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.TV Corp on any Web page published or hosted by Space.TV Corp. Privacy Statement