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Exploring Space for $1 million?

cubesat cubesat ambipolar thruster cat engine plasma propulsion

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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 04:53 PM

New Space Engine Could Turn Tiny CubeSats into Interplanetary Explorers


www.space.com said:

Researchers plan to launch a tiny spacecraft to Earth orbit and beyond within the next 18 months, in a key test of new propulsion technology that could help cut the cost of planetary exploration by a factor of 1,000.

The scientists and engineers are developing a new plasma propulsion system designed for ultrasmall CubeSats. If all goes well, they say, it may be possible to launch a life-detection mission to Jupiter's ocean-harboring moon Europa or other intriguing worlds for as little as $1 million in the not-too-distant future.


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"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#2    Dark_Grey

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 05:02 PM

Awesome - I want to see NASA's ion propulsion engine make it's debute appearance

"Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness."


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#3    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 05:50 PM

View PostDark_Grey, on 08 July 2013 - 05:02 PM, said:

Awesome - I want to see NASA's ion propulsion engine make it's debute appearance
You are a bit late for that. 49 years too late to be precise.

Dawn, the NASA mission which was launched in September 2007, explored the asteroid Vesta between July 2011 and September 2012 and is currently on it's way to the dwarf planet Ceres uses a ion propulsion. It is NASA's first exploration mission to use ion propulsion.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) had previously launched space probes which used ion propulsion.

JAXA's Hayabusa was launched to the asteroid 25143 Itokawa in May 2003, returning samples to the Earth in June 2010.

ESA's Smart-1 mission was launched in September 2003 and explored the Moon until it was deliberately crashed into the surface in Spetember 2003.

Although Dawn is NASA's first exploration mission to utilise ion propulsion, NASA had already tested earlier versions of ion engines in space.

The Deep Space 1 (DS-1) mission, launched in 1998 tested advanced technology including ion propulsion.

Even earlier than DS-1 were the SERT-I and SERT-II missions in 1964 and 1970 respectively.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#4    Dark_Grey

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 07:18 PM

View PostWaspie_Dwarf, on 08 July 2013 - 05:50 PM, said:

You are a bit late for that. 49 years too late to be precise.

Dawn, the NASA mission which was launched in September 2007, explored the asteroid Vesta between July 2011 and September 2012 and is currently on it's way to the dwarf planet Ceres uses a ion propulsion. It is NASA's first exploration mission to use ion propulsion.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) had previously launched space probes which used ion propulsion.

JAXA's Hayabusa was launched to the asteroid 25143 Itokawa in May 2003, returning samples to the Earth in June 2010.

ESA's Smart-1 mission was launched in September 2003 and explored the Moon until it was deliberately crashed into the surface in Spetember 2003.

Although Dawn is NASA's first exploration mission to utilise ion propulsion, NASA had already tested earlier versions of ion engines in space.

The Deep Space 1 (DS-1) mission, launched in 1998 tested advanced technology including ion propulsion.

Even earlier than DS-1 were the SERT-I and SERT-II missions in 1964 and 1970 respectively.

Holy crap I had no idea it was being used from so far back! I was refering more to their recent claim of having an ion engine running problem-free for over 5 years in one of their labs. I never thought to look up if they had used that technology previously... :yes:

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#5    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 07:36 PM

View PostDark_Grey, on 08 July 2013 - 07:18 PM, said:

Holy crap I had no idea it was being used from so far back!
You can't have read my reply to you in that thread then (HERE). I must admit when I did a bit of research I was shocked at how old the idea was (1911) and when experiments started on it (1916-1917).

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#6    Dark_Grey

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 07:40 PM

View PostWaspie_Dwarf, on 08 July 2013 - 07:36 PM, said:

You can't have read my reply to you in that thread then (HERE). I must admit when I did a bit of research I was shocked at how old the idea was (1911) and when experiments started on it (1916-1917).

No, I didn't see that reply...

It is quite shocking that the concept was around from the turn of the 19th century. Thanks for all the info - I will have to look into this further

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#7    shrooma

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 08:31 AM

$1m to get to Europa??
it'd cost more than that in a taxi!!
i hope they manage to pull it off.....

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#8    WoIverine

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 02:29 PM

View PostDark_Grey, on 08 July 2013 - 05:02 PM, said:

Awesome - I want to see NASA's ion propulsion engine make it's debute appearance

Agreed, that sounds really cool


#9    highdesert50

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 05:24 PM

Going small could really encourage nano engineering and the potential to eventually explore on a grander scale perhaps using baseball sized craft that might be more easily accelerated to near light speeds.





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