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 The new technology will significantly enhance energy harvest from PV modules
12.06.2019 | Estonian Research Council

nachricht NextGenBat: Basic research for mobile energy storage systems
12.06.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

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: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

Im Focus: Tiny light box opens new doors into the nanoworld

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.

Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Uncovering hidden protein structures

18.06.2019 | Life Sciences

Monitoring biodiversity with sound: how machines can enrich our knowledge

18.06.2019 | Life Sciences

Schizophrenia: Adolescence is the game-changer

18.06.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>