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Thread: The ESA Just Fired Up The First-Ever Rocket Thruster That Uses Air as Fuel

  1. #1
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    Default The ESA Just Fired Up The First-Ever Rocket Thruster That Uses Air as Fuel

    The ESA Just Fired Up The First-Ever Rocket Thruster That Uses Air as Fuel (ARTICLE LINK)

    Excerpt
    The world now has a rocket thruster that uses air instead of fuel - and it could change how satellites fly in the lowest orbits around Earth.

    The new thruster can collect, compress, electrically charge and then release air molecules, removing the need for chemical fuel. All that's needed is some electricity, which can usually be harvested from the Sun.

    According to the lab tests run on the ground by the team from the European Space Agency (ESA) behind the project, the new thruster could power "a new class of satellites", operating for years around planets such as Earth or Mars.
    #include [std-disclaimer]

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    Default Re: The ESA Just Fired Up The First-Ever Rocket Thruster That Uses Air as Fuel

    Am I missing something? It appears to be reaction mass, not fuel.

    The energy comes from electricity via solar cells, which uses the air molecules as reaction mass by putting them in a state of charge, then accelerating them out of the chamber.

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    Default Re: The ESA Just Fired Up The First-Ever Rocket Thruster That Uses Air as Fuel

    That's how I'd read it. I've noticed that even science sites (I frequent sciencedaily.com among others) often have misleading headlines--it's almost as if the headlines aren't written by scientists!

    What are you doing about it?




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    Default Re: The ESA Just Fired Up The First-Ever Rocket Thruster That Uses Air as Fuel

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Am I missing something? It appears to be reaction mass, not fuel.

    The energy comes from electricity via solar cells, which uses the air molecules as reaction mass by putting them in a state of charge, then accelerating them out of the chamber.
    That sounds right to me.

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    Default Re: The ESA Just Fired Up The First-Ever Rocket Thruster That Uses Air as Fuel

    It seems like this would work quite well as an ion thruster working continuously to maintain the orbit. Such satellites can be kept in lower orbits. When these satellites reach the end of their lives they could be disposed of by switching the the thruster off and the orbit would decay quickly and not contribute to the space junk problem.
    Will

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    Default Re: The ESA Just Fired Up The First-Ever Rocket Thruster That Uses Air as Fuel

    Electrodynamic tether might be more efficient for station-keeping and de-orbiting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrodynamic_tether

    What are you doing about it?




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    Default Re: The ESA Just Fired Up The First-Ever Rocket Thruster That Uses Air as Fuel

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Am I missing something? It appears to be reaction mass, not fuel.

    The energy comes from electricity via solar cells, which uses the air molecules as reaction mass by putting them in a state of charge, then accelerating them out of the chamber.
    The world now has a rocket thruster that uses air instead of fuel - and it could change how satellites fly in the lowest orbits around Earth.

    The new thruster can collect, compress, electrically charge and then release air molecules, removing the need for chemical fuel.
    Yep.
    Sorry, folks, I don't write them, I just C& P them. Sometimes I am tempted to edit/rewrite part of an article or title. Writing well, proofreading and knowledgeable editing seem to lost arts.

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
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    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
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    Default Re: The ESA Just Fired Up The First-Ever Rocket Thruster That Uses Air as Fuel

    Um- that's seem to BE lost arts So, what's the advantage of a low orbit that requires power to maintain it? Are we talking very low power output? So lower orbit and it wouldn't fly, higher orbit and there's no air? Splain it to the old farmer. JayInOz

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    Default Re: The ESA Just Fired Up The First-Ever Rocket Thruster That Uses Air as Fuel

    Don't be sorry.

    Yours is the best science feed I get.

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    Default Re: The ESA Just Fired Up The First-Ever Rocket Thruster That Uses Air as Fuel

    Quote Originally Posted by JayInOz View Post
    Um- that's seem to BE lost arts So, what's the advantage of a low orbit that requires power to maintain it? Are we talking very low power output? So lower orbit and it wouldn't fly, higher orbit and there's no air? Splain it to the old farmer. JayInOz
    Oops!

    ... outer reaches of the atmosphere gradually slow down orbiting satellites and pull them back to Earth, which is why such boosts are required.
    Extended life for expensive satellites.

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
    (Keeley - Sherrard translation)

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