Spacecraft/Satellite thrusters, proplusion systems and retro thrusters etc.

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For anyone wondering what kind of things I'm posting, so these are power systems on aircraft.
Off any purpose like
  • Thrusters pushing satellites into MEO from LEO, GEO from GTO, EPO to Lunar, Venusian or Martian orbits or de-orbiting satellites to be destroyed on purpose.
  • Retro thrusters of landing spacecrafts like landers and rovers.
  • Engines within aircrafts with fuel to work as power source.
Thread will summarise will be updated on all conventional, ion thrusters, systems on landers and rovers and power sources like conventional and nuclear batteries (RTEG) etc. being developed and used in India.
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Malfunction of retro thrusters being used to put "brakes" on spacecraft and lower the falling speed was what did not let Vikram lander soft land on the surface of Moon.
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And hence, Chandrayaan-3 had been modified to have only 4 instead of 5 retro-thrusters to maintain easier stability.
 

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ISRO plans new propulsion for deep space missions
MUMBAI: Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is exploring the possibility of developing a new propulsion technology to fuel spacecraft for its future deep space missions.
On January 28, Isro’s UR Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru issued an invitation for ‘expression of interest’ for “design and modelling; simulation and analysis; testing and qualification of 100W Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTEG) without radio isotope.’’ Isro calls it alpha source thermoelectric propulsion technology.
RTEG will have less mass than solar cells of equivalent power and allow more compact spacecraft that can navigate easier in space. Many missions of Nasa and Russia, Besides China’s 2013 Chang’e 3 mission to the moon and its rover Yutu had used RTG.
Former Isro chairman AS Kiran Kumar said RTEG is futuristic. “It will be useful for long duration missions where alternative energy is not available,” he said. After another Mars mission, Isro could be eyeing Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus.
According to the Isro document, “the development of RTEG is taken up as it is envisaged that it will be a part of Isro’s deep space missions for power generation and thermal management.”
According to the document, the system should be capable of operating in vaccum conditions of deep space, dusty, carbon dioxide-rich and corrosive environments. Isro says the RTG’s weight should be 20 kgs or less, with a life span of 20 years or more and survive indefinitely without damage when stored in the atmosphere at temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius.
Emphasising on safety standards, the document says, “It should be safe for human handling in close vicinity under all conditions even with nuclear fuel concealed inside … the unit should be resilient to any pre-launch or post-launch explosion so as to not cause any nuclear contamination in the environment.
 

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I think that ion thruster is currently used plasma based thruster is under development.

Meanwhile isro was going to test plasma thruster developed by start up.
 

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I think that ion thruster is currently used plasma based thruster is under development.

Meanwhile isro was going to test plasma thruster developed by start up.
ISRO already has its own plasma thrusters on GSAT-9, those being developed by private sector may be of different type or being reinvented.
 

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About TDS-01 electric thrusters from Reddit (1 year old post from Ohsin).
Upcoming Technology Demonstration Satellite 01 (TDS-01) will be on PSLV-C54. Launch aiming for end of March 2022.

Two official communiqué from Institute of Plasma Research, Gandhinagar and CSIR-CEERI, Pilani suggest PSLV-C54 would carry Technology Demonstration Satellite 01 (TDS-01) which is supposed to host demonstrators for Electric Propulsion system, indigenous atomic clock and Travelling Wave Tube Amplifier (TWTA).
Following is an excerpt from newsletter of Institute of Plasma Research, Gandhinagar (Issue 103, Feb 2022) about 'hand over' event held on 27 Dec 2021 for delivering BN/SiO2 ceramic material developed for VSSC-ISRO to be used on 300 mN EPS thrusters.
[PDF] [Archived]
Handover Ceremony of Liner Material for Plasma Thruster for TDS-01 Satellite of ISRO
IPR has completed work under an MoU with Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) on "Plasma Erosion Characterization of Anode Liner Material". This study was initiated by VSSC to qualify indigenously-developed BN/SiO2 anode liner material for erosion studies used in Stationary Plasma Thrusters (SPT). For this purpose, IPR developed a low energy ion beam facility equipped with in-situ erosion measurement to test the ceramic material that was developed by VSSC, under thruster operating conditions. Based on a large number of erosion experiments performed by the IPR, feedback was given to VSSC to improve the material properties. The studies carried out at IPR showed 20% less erosion compared with the imported anode liner material, while maintaining all other required properties. Finally, the indigenously developed anode liner material for a 300 mN Stationary Plasma Thruster (SPT) cleared all quality tests and is approved for use in the upcoming TDS-01 mission in PSLV C54. A technology handover ceremony was arranged on 27 Dec, 2021 by VSSC, in the presence of Director VSSC, Director LPSC, Director CEERI and Dean (Admin) IPR. This work was carried out by a team consisting of Mr. Sooraj K. P., Dr. Basanta Parida and Dr. Mukesh Ranjan of FCIPT.
Second source is this press release from CSIR-CEERI, Pilani about virtual 'hand over' event held on 27 Dec 2021 for Thermionic Emitters cathode they developed for VSSC-ISRO to be used on electric propulsion thrusters.
[PDF] (Hindi) [Archived]
This translated report from Dainik Bhaskar summarises it. Press release again mentions PSLV-C54 and EPS but refers to spacecraft as "STS-1" which might be a typo and probably they meant TDS-01. Not yet sure if PSLV-C54 / TDS-1 would be GSO bound or not. Launch is close, it was supposed to be in Q4 2021 but per SANA registry now tentatively on 29 March 2022.
Those 300mN thrusters have been developed for a while and used to often get mentioned in various presentations like here and here. While we know GSAT-9 had 18mN thrusters (by Keldysh Research Centre), they were meant for North South Station Keeping (NSSK) operation and not for orbit raising manoeuvres which were done by conventional chemical propulsion (LAM engine). These new 300mN thruster will perhaps be used for orbit raising in future GSO bound 'all EPS' spacecrafts.
 

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Update on RTEGs.
ISRO, BARC join hands to develop nuclear engines for rockets
According to sources, ISRO-BARC are developing what are called Radio thermoelectric generators
India’s space agency, ISRO, is jointly developing a nuclear-powered engine along with Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC), it is reliably learnt.
Chemical engines, such as those that power the thrusters in satellites, are fine up to a point, but if you want to send a spacecraft deep into space, such as into inter-planetary missions, they will not do—neither can they carry that much fuel nor can they be solar powered because sunlight will not reach a solar panel at such long distances.
Hence, nuclear-powered engines.
According to sources, ISRO-BARC are developing what are called Radio thermoelectric generators (RTGs). “The work has already begun and has been identified as a major task that has to be completed soon,” the source said.
The nuclear engines are not to be thought of as nuclear fission reactors that generate electricity. The RTGs use radioactive materials, such as Plutonium-238 or Strontium-90, which release heat as they decay.
Essentially, the engine contains two parts—the radioisotope heater unit (RHU) which generates heat, and the RTG, which converts the heat into electricity.
This heat is transferred to a ‘thermocouple’--a material that develops a voltage if there is a heat gradient across it. To put it in simple terms, think of it as a rod—if one end is hot and the other end is not, there will be a voltage across the rod (‘Seeback Effect’). The voltage can be harnessed to charge batteries that can provide motive force to a satellite. ISRO is targeting a 5W RTG, it is learnt.
“RTGs are independent of solar proximity and planetary alignment. This characteristic would help in minimising constraints like the ‘launch windows’ that the scientists have to operate within,” says Nitansha Bansal, a cyber security specialist with the Columbia University, in an article for the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
RTGs, however, are not entirely new. US spacecrafts such as the Voyager, Cassini and Curiosity have been powered by RTGs.
 

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