Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Surrey successfully demonstrate steam micro-propulsion in-orbit

17.03.2004


Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) have demonstrated in-orbit the use of a steam propulsion system onboard the UK-DMC satellite, launched on 27th September 2003.



The novel micro-propulsion experiment used 2.06 grams of water as propellant. This ‘green’ propellant is non-toxic, non-hazardous to ground operators and results in improved specific impulse over conventional cold gas nitrogen, at a significantly lower cost.

During the first in-orbit firing, the thruster was pre-heated to 200 degrees. Pre-heating ensures that no liquid phase water is ejected, only steam. The spacecraft experienced 3.3 milliNewtons of thrust over a 30 second period.


Designed and built in-house at SSTL, the miniature resistojet, weighing 13 grams, uses just 3 Watts of power to heat the propellant, emitting steam through a conventional rocket nozzle to generate thrust. The hotter the propellant, the higher specific impulse performance achieved.

The thruster is mounted in such a way that it produces a yaw torque around the spacecraft’s gravity gradient boom. After the firing, the spacecraft’s Attitude Control System detected a yaw disturbance of 55 degrees. The yaw disturbance was corrected by actuating the yaw reaction wheel and the change in speed of the wheel enabled the thruster’s firing parameters to be calculated.

The experiment has demonstrated that:
  • Water can be used as a spacecraft propellant giving a safe, low cost solution, without performance loss over conventional cold gas nitrogen systems.

  • Low thrust micro-propulsion can achieve milliNewton thrust levels - a useful range for nanosatellites (< 10 kg mass) and low cost CubeSats.

  • A low cost micropropulsion system has been developed and flown in just 8 months.

Audrey Nice | alfa

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Perovskite-silicon solar cell research collaboration hits 25.2% efficiency
15.06.2018 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH

nachricht Second heat source optimises heat pump system
12.06.2018 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Carbon nanotube optics provide optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries

19.06.2018 | Life Sciences

New material for splitting water

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>