ion engine


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Related to ion engine: plasma engine

ion engine

A device consisting of a source for producing ions and an electromagnetic field for accelerating the ions in a particular direction. In practice, an ion engine can be used in a low-pressure environment to produce propulsion by reaction forces associated with the rapidly moving ions. It is also necessary to expel oppositely charged particles to the ions from the engine to ensure charge neutrality. Ion engines have been investigated as possible power sources for spacecraft.

ion engine

[′ī‚än ‚en·jən]
(aerospace engineering)
An engine which provides thrust by expelling accelerated or high-velocity ions; ion engines using energy provided by nuclear reactors are proposed for space vehicles.
References in periodicals archive ?
It took 16 months to get Hayabusa back under JAXAAAEs full control and to rev up the ion engines that would serve as the central power for the craft.
Space engines use electric and magnetic forces to eject plasma particles to attain reactive forward-propelling forces, as in current ion engines and Hall effect thrusters.
The fuel used in DS1's ion engine is xenon, a chemically inert, colorless, odorless and tasteless gas.
In the test model, an ion exhaust plume was produced that traveled more than four times faster than state-of-the-art ion engine designs achieve.
EUROPE'S first mission to the moon will be powered by a new generation of Star Trek-style ion engines, it was revealed yesterday.
In the Deep Space 1 ion engine, electrons are emitted from a hollow tube cathode and enter a magnetic-ringed chamber, where they strike xenon atoms.
A small tweak with the ion engine three weeks later adjusted Dawn's track for a flyby of Mars in February 2009, which will send the craft into an orbit that stretches out to 1.
The NSTAR program was initiated in 1993, with JPL managing the effort and NASA Lewis developing the 30-centimeter-diameter ion engine.
During the approach phase, the spacecraft's main activity will be thrusting with a special, hyper-efficient ion engine that uses electricity to ionize and accelerate xenon to generate thrust.
The spacecraft used an ion engine to slip into a lunar polar orbit.
Technical problems have cropped up with the xenon fuel tank and the high-voltage power units in the ion engine, and officials were concerned that extra money might be required to fix things.