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Project Title2012-013 Micro/nano Electrokinetic Thruster Array for Space Propulsion and Vehicle Maneuverability and Controls
Track Code2012-013
Short Description

Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a novel propulsion system based on the principles of electrokinetics. The thrust in this propulsion system design is achieved by the electroosmotic effect in nanochannels by transforming input electrical power to total kinetic power. The technology is inherently mass efficient, a key requirement for minimizing fuel weight, and can accelerate the exhaust, producing thrust, at very high speeds. Operating these thrusters in a vacuum provides an efficiency approaching 100%.

Abstract

Space missions must meet the key objective of providing the required performance while minimizing weight and power consumption. To achieve this, there is frequently a tradeoff between weight, cost, and lifespan of the craft. A recent trend in the industry is the miniaturization of components to reduce the weight and cost. This trend has led to the use of a new breed of satellites that fall into the micro and nano-satellite class. These systems rely on limited power use and generation requirements, in addition to scaled down propulsions systems. Despite their smaller size, the propulsion systems still need to be able to maintain the space vehicle's orbit and perform attitude control maneuvers. Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a novel propulsion system based on the principles of electrokinetics. The thrust in this propulsion system design is achieved by the electroosmotic effect in nanochannels by transforming input electrical power to total kinetic power. The technology is inherently mass efficient, a key requirement for minimizing fuel weight, and can accelerate the exhaust, producing thrust, at very high speeds. Operating these thrusters in a vacuum provides an efficiency approaching 100%. Thrust to power ratios are comparable or higher to those of current systems including ion thrusters, NSTAR, XIPS, HiPEP, and FEEP. Furthermore, by developing an array composed of thousands of emitters, the electrokinetic thruster has the potential to be easily a scalable and flexible propulsion system that will provide a wide range of thrusts for different mission scenarios. In addition, the thruster array will have very high efficiencies and very high thrust control by simply varying the number of emitters in use at any one time.

 
TagsOrbital Correction of Small Satellite, Precise Control of Spacecraft Performing Combined Measurements, (Maintaining OrbitAttitude Control Maneuvers), Precision Control of Spacecraft
 
Posted DateJun 26, 2012 10:48 AM

Researcher

Name
Francisco Diez Garias

Manager

Name
Rick Smith

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