Sciency stuff-Rocket engine runs for 5 years....

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  • ..and counting. The actual thrust geneerated is fairly low, but it lasts for a long, long time.

    NASA rocket engine runs 5+ years – still not out of ions
    By JAKE ELLISON, SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF
    Updated 4:54 pm, Wednesday, June 26, 2013

    Image
    The NEXT ion thruster has been operated for over 48,000 hours, which for rocket scientists means that the thruster
    has processed over 770 kilograms of xenon propellant and can provide 30 million-newton-seconds of total impulse
    to the spacecraft. This demonstrated performance permits future science spacecraft to travel to varied destinations,
    such as extended tours of multi-asteroids, comets, and outer planets and their moons. Photo: NASA


    It's been blasting away since early 2008, a constant thrust for over 48,000 hours, and it's still ready for more, NASA says of its advance ion propulsion engine.

    "We will voluntarily terminate this test at the end of this month, with the thruster fully operational. Life and performance have exceeded the requirements for any anticipated science mission," said Michael J. Patterson, principal investigator for NEXT at Glenn, in a press release.
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    sutz
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  • Since the engine would probably be for in-space maneuvering this is awesome.
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    SonicHawk
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  • SonicHawk wrote:Since the engine would probably be for in-space maneuvering this is awesome.

    Yeah, it would be invaluable for interplanetary stuff.

    Didn't the Pluto mission have one of these on it? I haven't heard anything about that probe (forget the name) in quite a while. I assume it's still on the way.
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  • sutz wrote:
    SonicHawk wrote:Since the engine would probably be for in-space maneuvering this is awesome.

    Yeah, it would be invaluable for interplanetary stuff.

    Didn't the Pluto mission have one of these on it? I haven't heard anything about that probe (forget the name) in quite a while. I assume it's still on the way.


    Yes, New Horizons is equipped with the Ion Drive.

    I got so excited when this was announced. Wish I could be alive in 200 years to see how our space exploration will progress.
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  • Oof wrote:
    sutz wrote:
    SonicHawk wrote:Since the engine would probably be for in-space maneuvering this is awesome.

    Yeah, it would be invaluable for interplanetary stuff.

    Didn't the Pluto mission have one of these on it? I haven't heard anything about that probe (forget the name) in quite a while. I assume it's still on the way.


    Yes, New Horizons is equipped with the Ion Drive.

    I got so excited when this was announced. Wish I could be alive in 200 years to see how our space exploration will progress.

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