ion engine

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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.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006

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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The noncontact method of the space debris deorbiting by an active spacecraft with ion thrusters was considered in this paper.
The team hopes that tweaks and breakthroughs in ion thrusters can better the power output over the next decade, when they hope these thrusters will be ready to propel us into deep-space.
The ion thruster was indigenously developed by Chinese researchers, who spent about five years on it, Chinese daily (http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1042401.shtml) Global Times reported.
In contrast, ion thrusters on real NASA spacecraft use a high voltage to accelerate ionized gas.
Three ion thrusters use electricity generated by the solar panels to accelerate ionized xenon atoms through a rocket nozzle.
Qinetiq's solar-electric propulsion system comprises four T6 ion thrusters which are claimed to be 10 times more efficient than traditional chemical thrusters.
The craft will be powered by QinetiQ's solar-electric propulsion system, which is formed by four T6 ion thrusters. It has been selected because they are about ten times more efficient than the chemical thrusters that have traditionally been used to power spacecraft.
The group introduces the technical side of nuclear propulsion and addresses nuclear thermal rocket propulsion systems, applications of ion thrusters to nuclear electric missions, high power and high-thrust-density electric propulsion for space transportation, metric configurations, and the legal issues and policies that need to be developed about the safety of nuclear propulsion systems and applications.
Ion thrusters emit beams of positive ions and have high [I.sub.sp] values.