Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: MicroThrust prototype released

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    39,715

    MicroThrust prototype released

    From R&D magazine on-line
    Imagine reaching the Moon using just a fraction of a liter of fuel. With their ionic motor, MicroThrust, scientists the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) and their European partners are making this a reality and ushering in a new era of low-cost space exploration.

    The complete thruster weighs just a few hundred grams and is specifically designed to propel small (1-100 kg) satellites, which it enables to change orbit around the Earth and even voyage to more distant destinations—functions typically possible only for large, expensive spacecraft. The just-released prototype is to be employed on CleanSpace One, a satellite under development at EPFL that is designed to clean up space debris, and on OLFAR, a swarm of Dutch nanosatellites that will record ultra-low radio-frequency signals on the far side of the Moon.

    The motor, designed to be mounted on satellites as small as 10x10x10 cm3, is extremely compact but highly efficient. The prototype weighs only about 200 g, including the fuel and control electronics.

    “At the moment, nanosatellites are stuck in their orbits. Our goal is to set them free,” explains Herbert Shea, coordinator of the European MicroThrust project and director of EPFL’s Microsystems for Space Technologies Laboratory.
    Very cool
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    405
    yey,
    we can start on beagle 3 now then

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    R.I. USA
    Posts
    7,690
    Beware if press release is dated 1 April,2012

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    5,249
    Awesome! I can't overstate how excited I am about this. I have a bunch of concepts revolving around cube-sat scale hypervelocity kinetic impactor drones, but have been struggling with the current non-existence of suitable electric thrusters for them. This is EXACTLY what I've been needing.

    From the video, it looks like this thruster uses the FEEP principle. I had the impression that FEEP thrust levels were generally suitable for stationkeeping, but this is the first I've heard of them used for main propulsion. Cool!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    14,078
    Imagine reaching the Moon using just a fraction of a liter of fuel.
    The prototype weighs only about 200 g, including the fuel and control electronics.
    The SMART-1 moon mission, which weighed 367 kg, contained 82kg of fuel for its ion engine. So this few grams of fuel will be applicable to the tiniest satellites only. You won't get a 100kg sat to the moon on less than 1 kg of fuel, at least not if you look at SMART-1's performance. And I assume that a Swiss ESA ion effort will use the results of a previous Swedish ESA ion effort, and there won't be extreme performance gains. Scaling down from SMART-1, a 1kg spacecraft would need about 200g of fuel (ignoring differences in inertia, just simply scaling down fuel with mass for the moment). So that figure would apply to <=1kg satellites.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    3,767
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    So this few grams of fuel will be applicable to the tiniest satellites only. You won't get a 100kg sat to the moon on less than 1 kg of fuel.
    That much is self evident - even more so when you read the article and see "The motor, designed to be mounted on satellites as small as 10x10x10 cm3"

    It's for cubesats.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    14,078
    You can drop the "when you read the article" routine, thank you. Because the article also says:

    The complete thruster weighs just a few hundred grams and is specifically designed to propel small (1-100 kg) satellites
    Note that 100kg figure. The prototype and the catch phrase of the article is only applicable to the very lower limit of what the article defines as "small satellites".

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,686
    There is a group at Boise State (Idaho) which does something similar: http://news.boisestate.edu/update/fi...wningPaper.pdf

    I met their leader at a conference, this is how I know

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    N.E.Ohio
    Posts
    20,108
    10x10x10 cm3
    Is that a valid specification or is it considered redundant?

Similar Threads

  1. Chariot: first lunar truck prototype
    By 01101001 in forum Space Exploration
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 2008-Mar-11, 08:54 PM
  2. ATHLETE: lunar robot prototype
    By 01101001 in forum Space Exploration
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 2007-Nov-23, 07:39 AM
  3. Discussion: Scramjet Prototype Has a ...
    By Fraser in forum Universe Today
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 2006-Jan-10, 04:44 PM
  4. Shuttle prototype for sale on Ebay
    By ToSeek in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 2005-Jul-21, 05:23 PM
  5. Discussion: Russians Launch Prototype ...
    By Fraser in forum Universe Today
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 2003-Jul-08, 10:58 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
here
The forum is sponsored in-part by: