Company Tests Iodine Thruster in Space for the First Time

Ion thrusters have played second fiddle to chemical rockets for most of the history of space exploration.  Part of that is because of their inability to launch payloads into orbit.  But in space, their high thrust-to-weight ratio has plenty of appeal.  Other features have held the technology back, including the difficulty of working with the thruster’s fuel source – xenon.  Now, a team of engineers and scientists from ThrustMe, a French start-up that focuses on developing advanced propulsions systems, have developed an ion thruster that works on an entirely new and much easier to use material – iodine.

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Aircraft Could fly at Mach 17 on Shockwaves From Continuous Detonations

Ever felt the need to get somewhere really, really quickly?  Would Mach 17 work?  That’s the speed a new prototype engine from researchers at the University of Central Florida (UCF) could potentially hurl an aircraft through the skies, making a trip from New York to Los Angeles in under half an hour.  At the heart of this new technology is a new propulsion technology that stabilizes detonations and then uses their shockwaves to provide hypersonic propulsion to an aircraft.

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