MiniRIT thruster being tested

MiniRIT thruster being tested


11/06/2013 11:09 am


ESA-Anneke Le Floc'h


The faint purple glow comes from one of ESA’s very smallest space thrusters, being tested in a vacuum chamber in the Agency’s propulsion laboratory. This espresso-cup-sized Radio-frequency Ion Thruster, or miniRIT, delivers steady thrust in the range 10–100 micronewtons, equivalent to the force exerted by a few grains of sand. The engine was tested during the second half of May in the Propulsion Lab of ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. It was developed by Astrium in Germany, Selex Galileo in Italy and Nanospace in Sweden.

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