Electric Blue Thrusters Propelling BepiColombo to Mercury

Twin ion thrusters firing (Credit: QinetiQ)

PARIS (ESA PR) — In mid-December, twin discs will begin glowing blue on the underside of a minibus-sized spacecraft in deep space. At that moment Europe and Japan’s BepiColombo mission will have just come a crucial step closer to Mercury.

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First Iodine Fueled Ion Engines Pass Major Milestone

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3 thruster and neutralizer firing on xenon (top) and iodine (bottom). (Credit: Busek Co.)

NATICK, MA, JULY 31, 2017 (Busek PR) – Space propulsion firm Busek Co. Inc. confirms its ‘BIT-3’ ion thruster system completed two separate Critical D esign Reviews (CDR) for upcoming CubeSat space flight programs. CDRs are major milestones prior to manufacturing flight hardware, the initial set of BIT-3 flight systems being scheduled for delivery Q1 2018. The iodine fueled solar electric propulsion systems are the first of their kind which enable an entirely new range of small spacecraft missions.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Wins NASA Contract to Complete Ion Thruster System

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SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 6, 2015 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) – Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, has been awarded a contract worth approximately $18 million from NASA Glenn Research Center to complete the development of NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial (NEXT-C) Gridded Ion Thruster System. The NEXT-C Gridded Ion Thruster System is designed to power government and commercial spacecraft to deep-space destinations faster, farther and more fuel efficiently than any other propulsion technology currently available.

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