The Ion Trial

The ion drive is perhaps the most colorful of the new in-space propulsion techniques, due to photons emitted from recombined ions and electrons in the exhaust of the acceleration craft, operation ion engines emit a science-fiction-like blue glow (see Figure 11.1). It is among the capable and versatile space propulsion systems ever devised, and, at least in its early incarnations, makes use of plentiful sunlight as its power source.


Deep Space Solar Array Electric Propulsion Thruster Efficiency Exhaust Velocity 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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