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.

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 ?
The only drawback with these ion-thrusters, according to the International Business Times UK report, is that chemical propulsion systems, currently, can generate many million kilowatts of power but ion thrusters can only generate 3 to 4 kilowatts.
The high performance of the NEXT-C Gridded Ion Thruster System will enable dramatically expanded planetary science and commercial missions as never seen before," said Julie Van Kleeck, vice president of Advanced Space and Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne.
The Topaz has Hall effect ion thrusters with a specific thrust of 2,000 sec.
com/chinese-space-program-china-brings-electric-propulsion-satellites-ion-thruster-2526020) China Brings Electronic Propulsion To Satellite With Ion Thrusters
The 12-inch-wide ion thrusters provide less power than conventional engines, but can maintain thrust for months at a time.
Dawn has three ion thrusters with 937 pounds (425 kg) of xenon propellant for interplanetary travel and asteroid orbit insertion.
The 12-inch-wide ion thrusters provide less thrust than conventional engines, but will provide propulsion for years during the mission and provide far greater capability to change velocity.
The ion thrusters, powered by solar electricity and using tiny amounts of xenon gas as propellant, would hold the satellites in a B-orbit in full view of both Mars and Earth.
It shall also cater for the testing of ion thrusters which emit high energy beams of ions and thus fire into a graphite beam target in order to limit sputtering by the high energy beam.