ISRO to test plasma thrusters on GSAT-4

RPK

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ISRO develops tech to boost satellite life by 5 years

Bangalore, Oct 1 (PTI) For the first time, India's space scientists have developed electric propulsion technology that is expected to boost the life of geostationary satellites by upto five years.

In other words, the satellites which today have a lifespan of ten years, could last upto 15 years.

The system - plasma thrusters - would be tested in GSAT-4 spacecraft slated to be launched on board GSLV later this year, ISRO chairman Madhavan Nair told PTI.

"Electric propulsion is going to be a unique thing. It will be used in GSAT-4. This is a concept we are going to prove in this (GSAT-4). Once proven, it can be adopted as standard for future geostationary orbits", he said.

So far, ISRO had been using chemical propulsion for station-keeping, altitude control, precision spacecraft control, stabilisation and orientation.
 

nitesh

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from praveen's post: some interesting tidbits

"Today, most of the geostationary satellites' life is controlled by fuel availability. If it's going to be sustained for two-three years by electric propulsion and the remaining using chemical propulsion again.....so that way 15 years of life what we are targeting can be easily achieved. Right now, the satellite's life is 10 years", Nair said. Plasma thrusters (using xenol gas as propellants) provide high specific impulse and operate with low fuel consumption, an Isro scientist said.
 

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Posted by vkthakur on Thursday, October 01, 2009 (EST)

ISRO is poised to test a plasma thruster on board GSAT- 4 which is slated for launch in late December 2009. Photo Credit: ISRO​

October 01, 2009, (Sawf News) - ISRO is poised to test a plasma thruster on board GSAT- 4 which is slated for launch in late December 2009.

A plasma engine generates thrust by ionizing a propellant using electrical power and ejecting it from a nozzle. Conventional rocket engines generate thrust from the explosive combustion of a propellant and oxidizer.

Plasma thrusters are characterized by lower thrust, higher efficiencies and sustained operation as compared to conventional rocket thrusters.

ISRO hopes to use plasma thrusters to increase the lifespan of its satellites from ten to fifteen years.

Plasma engines are also useful for long-distance Interplanetary space travel missions. The former Soviet Union first developed a plasma engine to propel its spacecraft to Mars in the early sixties.

More recently ESA's SMART lunar probe, launched on September 27, 2003, used an ion engine as its primary propulsion system, the second spacecraft to do so after NASA's Deep Space 1 probe launched in October 1998.

GSAT – 4 will be launched using GSLV-D3, a development version of GSLV Mark 2. The two-ton technology demonstrator satellite will feature a communication payload comprising multi-beam Ka-band pipe and regenerative transponder and navigation payload in C, L1 and L5 bands.

The satellite will also carry a scientific payload, Tauvex, consisting of three ultra violet (UV) band telescopes developed by Tel Aviv University and Israel space agency for surveying a large part of the sky in the 1,400-3,200 angstrom wavelengths.

Amidst the other new technologies to be tested on board GSAT – 4 are Bus Management Unit (BMU), miniaturized dynamically tuned gyros, 36 AH Lithium ion battery, 70 V bus for Ka-band and on board structural dynamic vibration beam accelerometer.

GSAT-4 spacecraft will have a power generation capability of 2,500 watts and will be positioned at 82 degrees east longitude in a geo-stationary orbit, about 36,000 km above the earth.
 

Rage

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ISRO to test plasma thrusters on GSAT-4




October 01, 2009, (Sawf News) - The ISRO is poised to test plasma thrusters on board the GSAT- 4 which is slated for launch in late December 2009.

A plasma engine generates thrust by ionizing a propellant using electrical power and ejecting it from a nozzle. Conventional rocket engines generate thrust from the explosive combustion of a propellant and oxidizer.

Plasma thrusters are characterized by lower thrust, higher efficiencies and sustained operation as compared to conventional rocket thrusters.

ISRO hopes to use plasma thrusters to increase the lifespan of its satellites from ten to fifteen years.

Plasma engines are also useful for long-distance Interplanetary space travel missions. The former Soviet Union first developed a plasma engine to propel its spacecraft to Mars in the early sixties.

More recently ESA's SMART lunar probe, launched on September 27, 2003, used an ion engine as its primary propulsion system, the second spacecraft to do so after NASA's Deep Space 1 probe launched in October 1998.

GSAT – 4 will be launched using GSLV-D3, a development version of GSLV Mark 2. The two-ton technology demonstrator satellite will feature a communication payload comprising multi-beam Ka-band pipe and regenerative transponder and navigation payload in C, L1 and L5 bands.

The satellite will also carry a scientific payload, Tauvex, consisting of three ultra violet (UV) band telescopes developed by Tel Aviv University and Israel space agency for surveying a large part of the sky in the 1,400-3,200 angstrom wavelengths.

Amidst the other new technologies to be tested on board GSAT – 4 are Bus Management Unit (BMU), miniaturized dynamically tuned gyros, 36 AH Lithium ion battery, 70 V bus for Ka-band and on board structural dynamic vibration beam accelerometer.

GSAT-4 spacecraft will have a power generation capability of 2,500 watts and will be positioned at 82 degrees east longitude in a geo-stationary orbit, about 36,000 km above the earth.


ISRO to test plasma thrusters on GSAT-4
 

Rage

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Thread panned to evince further discussion.

I'd like any aeronautical engineers here to explain to us the mechanics behind plasma thrust.

And I also plan to put scientific articles related to this development here.
 
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Rage this is a great article plasma thrusters are being tested by USA for a future Mars mission, very cutting edge technology. Ion propulsion is also one of the future possibilities to open up the exploration of the solar system, currently used in deep space satellites.
 

Pintu

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Absolutely agree, LF , this is really a cutting age technology and also shows the prowess of ISRO, wishing them very best.

Regards
 

shiv

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where are the chinese on this?any chinese members,are you guys doing something like this?
 

roma

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where are the chinese on this?any chinese members,are you guys doing something like this?
Shiv-ji, when india does something great or even good , the chinese and also the BBC is suddenly absent
 
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ISRO develops tech to boost satellite life by five years | Deccan Chronicle

ISRO develops tech to boost satellite life by five years


For the first time, India's space scientists have developed electric propulsion technology that is expected to boost the life of geostationary satellites by upto five years.

In other words, the satellites which today have a lifespan of ten years, could last upto 15 years.

The system - plasma thrusters - would be tested in GSAT-4 spacecraft slated to be launched on board GSLV later this year, said Isro chairman Madhavan Nair.

"Electric propulsion is going to be a unique thing. It will be used in GSAT-4. This is a concept we are going to prove in this (GSAT-4). Once proven, it can be adopted as standard for future geostationary orbits", he said.

So far, Isro had been using chemical propulsion for station-keeping, altitude control, precision spacecraft control, stabilisation and orientation.

With the use of electric propulsion, the life of the spacecraft can be enhanced, Nair, also Secretary in the Department of Space, said.

"Today, most of the geostationary satellites' life is controlled by fuel availability. If it's going to be sustained for two-three years by electric propulsion and the remaining using chemical propulsion again.....so that way 15 years of life what we are targeting can be easily achieved. Right now, the satellite's life is 10 years", Nair said. Plasma thrusters (using xenol gas as propellants) provide high specific impulse and operate with low fuel consumption, an Isro scientist said.

Isro spokesperson S. Satish termed electric propulsion "more efficient", while another scientist said that plasma thrusters would be extremely useful for inter-planetary missions.
 

sandeepdg

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Yeah, seems the Chinese' chickened out, since this way above their league !! :india:
I think this technology will be very useful for our Mars mission in the near future.
 

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ISRO develops tech to boost satellite life by five years

Oct 01 2009
For the first time, India's space scientists have developed electric propulsion technology that is expected to boost the life of geostationary satellites by upto five years.

In other words, the satellites which today have a lifespan of ten years, could last upto 15 years.

The system - plasma thrusters - would be tested in GSAT-4 spacecraft slated to be launched on board GSLV later this year, said Isro chairman Madhavan Nair.

"Electric propulsion is going to be a unique thing. It will be used in GSAT-4. This is a concept we are going to prove in this (GSAT-4). Once proven, it can be adopted as standard for future geostationary orbits", he said.

So far, Isro had been using chemical propulsion for station-keeping, altitude control, precision spacecraft control, stabilisation and orientation.

With the use of electric propulsion, the life of the spacecraft can be enhanced, Nair, also Secretary in the Department of Space, said.

"Today, most of the geostationary satellites' life is controlled by fuel availability. If it's going to be sustained for two-three years by electric propulsion and the remaining using chemical propulsion again.....so that way 15 years of life what we are targeting can be easily achieved. Right now, the satellite's life is 10 years", Nair said. Plasma thrusters (using xenol gas as propellants) provide high specific impulse and operate with low fuel consumption, an Isro scientist said.

Isro spokesperson S. Satish termed electric propulsion "more efficient", while another scientist said that plasma thrusters would be extremely useful for inter-planetary missions.
 

Daredevil

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Plasma thrusters make use of a technology called Ion Propulsion. Here are some FAQs on Ion propulsion from NASA website

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
ION PROPULSION

What is ion propulsion?

Ion propulsion is a technology that involves ionizing a gas to propel a craft. Instead of a spacecraft being propelled with standard chemicals, the gas xenon (which is like neon or helium, but heavier) is given an electrical charge, or ionized. It is then electrically accelerated to a speed of about 30 km/second. When xenon ions are emitted at such high speed as exhaust from a spacecraft, they push the spacecraft in the opposite direction.

What implications does this technology have for space exploration?

If DS1 shows that electric propulsion works as well as is expected, there will be many new missions that will take advantage of it. Deep Space 4 is expected to use four ion engines to fly alongside a comet in 2004 so that it can land. Ion propulsion is not of value for missions that require high acceleration, and it often will not be worthwhile for missions that can be done quickly using conventional propulsion systems (such as missions to the moon). But for a wide variety of missions with high energy requirements (such as missions to asteroids and comets, Mercury and the inner solar system, and some to the outer solar system), the low but steady acceleration of ion propulsion wins out over the less efficient bursts from chemical alternatives.

Why has NASA not used this technology before?

NASA's first ion engine was built by Glenn Research Center in 1960. Since then, there have been many tests of the technology in the laboratory and some limited tests in space. But no mission has really been willing to use the technology as a primary propulsion system because of the possibility that it might not work, which would mean the failure of an expensive mission and the loss of important scientific data. Managers of missions are usually not willing to take on this kind of risk, and tend to use the tried and true system of chemical propulsion. The whole purpose of the New Millennium program, of which DS1 is the first flight, is to test whether or not some very important but risky technologies, which can make a big difference in our ability to explore space less expensively and with more capable spacecraft, will work in deep space and around Earth. By taking on the risk, New Millennium flights will help lower the cost and risk to future missions that will use the technologies for the first time for scientific purposes.

How does ion propulsion compare with chemical propulsion? Does it make the spacecraft go any faster?

Under the circumstances for which ion propulsion is appropriate, it can push a spacecraft up to about ten times as fast as chemical propulsion. Because the ion propulsion system, although highly efficient, is very gentle in its thrust, it cannot be used for any application in which a rapid acceleration is required. With patience, the ion propulsion system on DS1 imparts about 3.6 km/s to the spacecraft. To undertake the same mission with a chemical propulsion system would require a more expensive launch vehicle and a larger spacecraft to accommodate a large tank for the chemical propellants.

How much time would a spacecraft using ion propulsion take to get to Mars? Can the technology be used for a manned mission to Mars?

Ion propulsion could be used for a manned mission to Mars. The decision on whether that would be the preferred approach would involve many questions such as which technique might get the crew there the fastest (independent of how fuel efficient the trip might be) in order to reduce the radiation exposure and effects of long periods of near weightlessness.

How fast can DS1 go using ion propulsion and how long will it take for it to reach maximum speed? How does the amount of fuel required by an ion engine compare with the amount required by a chemical engine?

The ultimate speed of a spacecraft using ion thrust depends upon how much propellant it carries; indeed, the same principle applies to chemical propulsion systems, although they are much less efficient. The ion propulsion system on Deep Space 1 carries about 81.5 kilograms of xenon propellant, and it takes about 20 months of thrusting to use it all. It increases the speed of the spacecraft by about 4.5 kilometers per second, or about 10,000 miles per hour. If we had the same amount of chemical propellant, it would provide only one tenth as much velocity increment. If DS1 carried a larger solar array, it certainly would have a slightly higher acceleration, and if it carried more Xe propellant it could reach a much higher final velocity by simply thrusting longer. But DS1 is testing ion propulsion solely to find out if it works as well as predicted. Future missions that use it likely will carry more propellant to achieve still higher speeds.

Deep Space 1: Advanced Technologies: Solar Electric Propulsion FAQ
A picture of ion propulsion mechanism



More about Ion Propulsion/ Ion Thrusters

Ion thruster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

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