China has tested an ion engine in orbit

Китай испытал ионный двигатель на орбите

The new engine is capable of providing effective high-precision maneuvering of small satellites.

In China, engineers have created the ion engine, “pocket size”. It has already been tested in orbit, reports TASS with reference to the Chinese media on Tuesday, September 10.

Shunting a rocket engine developed by Beijing Institute No. 206 under Chinese Corporation aerospace science and technology (CASC). It was launched into orbit and tested using a Chinese small satellite “earlier this year”, the report said.

Provided that the engine is designed to extend the life of small satellites and prevent them from becoming dangerous space junk.

Ion thruster is an electric rocket engine in which thrust is generated based on the ejection of the ionized substances are accelerated in an electric field. This Chinese engine, refers to operating on liquid metals, usually cesium, India and mercury.

“Engine weight of 300 g represents the corresponding to the modern level of the development of technology the propulsion system for small satellites, which, in contrast to large satellites have small rocket engines driven by chemical fuels, – told reporters the chief designer of the Institute, the developer is Gao Hui. Without bigger fuel tanks, pumps, valves and toxic fuel, the new device is easy to carry and able to provide efficient, high-precision maneuvering of small satellites”.

Gao Hui said that the majority of the devices operate on low orbits in a static condition, gradually losing its orbit due to the lack of units able to maintain the desired height. In order to provide finding at the desired height of the apparatus small enough force.

In addition, the developed device will allow to extend the life of artificial satellites located at a high orbit. If they have done their task, not to turn into space debris they will also allow the use of a small engine.

Previously in China showed a spacecraft of new generation. He will be able to deliver the goods and up to six astronauts to the space station. The vehicle mass can reach 20 tons. Launch it into space will be a heavy rocket Changzheng-5.

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