NASA seeks ideas for small in-space propulsion systems

  • 22-Feb-2013 09:23 EST

NASA's Space Technology Program is calling for proposals to develop miniaturized electrospray propulsion technologies that could revolutionize small satellite propulsion systems. Electrospray thrusters use electricity to energize material and then disperse a resulting liquid or aerosol through an emitter to create thrust. The development of low-mass, lightweight micro thruster technologies has the potential to radically change propulsion capabilities of small satellites by allowing variable thrust propulsion, stabilization, and precision pinpointing. Such micro thrusters also might be of use for very fine pointing aboard future large space-based observatories. U.S. organizations, including NASA centers and other government agencies; federally funded research and development centers; educa-tional institutions; industry and nonprofit organizations can submit their ideas for miniaturized electrospray propulsion technologies that could help provide an efficient means of providing thrust for spacecraft.

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