Aviation news analysis
50 SKY SHADES - World aviation news

NASA pours $67 million into solar electric spacecraft engines

Download: Printable PDF Date: 07 May 2016 14:17 category:
NASA pours $67 million into solar electric spacecraft engines - Manufacturer publisher
Krista Kuznecova
Country: United States
Source: 3Tags

It wants super-efficient power for missions headed to asteroids and Mars.

In an effort to design more efficient spacecraft engines, NASA granted rocket manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne a three-year contract to develop advanced “solar electric propulsion” engines that could assist in deep space travel. The engines have the potential to be ten times more efficient than chemical engines, and have twice the thrust of the electric engines that are utilized now. They’ll help us travel further in our solar system and could even help send humans to Mars.

Solar electric engines aren’t a new idea. Electric engines have been in the works since the 1950’s, and since then NASA has pursued efficiency, working towards progressive solar electric technology.

Solar electric presently powers crafts exploring deep space as well as the International Space Station. NASA recently sent the record-breaking Dawn spacecraft to orbit both asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres between 2011 and 2015, and the probe was powered by a solar array. The International Space Station is currently powered by solar arrays that supply even more energy than the station requires at once.

My Image

As we probe deeper into our solar system, solar electric engines can help us get farther for less money since they provide thrust over a lengthy period of time. The recent contract signals NASA’s commitment to the efficient engines beneficial for deep space travel.

Depending on how well the new research goes, Aerojet Rocketdyne could deliver four of the super efficient units to fly in space. NASA has stated they’re working to snare an asteroid to orbit the moon during the next decade, and they would use the solar electric engines to do so.

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate associate administrator Steve Jurczyk said, “Development of this technology will advance our future in-space transportation capability for a variety of NASA deep space human and robotic exploration missions, as well as private commercial space missions.”


Loading comments for NASA pours $67 million into solar electric spacecraft engines...


Delegation on air traffic network management in Europe got acquainted with Azerbaijani civil aviation’s achievements

A delegation of the Network Manager Operations Centre - NMOC, headed by Joe Sultana, Director of the Centre, paid a working visit to Baku today. During  the visit, the guests go...

A-Group: Meet us in Geneva and Moscow!

A-Group, the owner of FBOs at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo and St Petersburg’s Pulkovo international airports, will participate in European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE &l...

SpaceDataHighway: 10,000 successful laser connections - Reliability of 99.8 per cent

The SpaceDataHighway system – the world’s first ‘optical fibre in the sky’ based on cutting-edge laser technology – has achieved 10,000 successful laser connections. The...

Bombardier and Lufthansa Technik to Unveil Dialed Up Flight Experience Onboard Global 7000 Aircraft in Geneva

The industry-leading nice Touch cabin management system (CMS) will make its worldwide debut at the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition on May 29, 2018 The innovative system was d...