NASA Logo

NTRS

NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS)A recent six month investigation focused on: "Determining the benefits of propelling a scientific spacecraft by an 'Electric Sail' propulsion system to the edge of our solar system (the Heliopause), a distance of 100 to 120 AU, in ten years or less" has recently been completed by the Advance Concepts Office at NASA's MSFC. The concept investigated has been named the Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS) by the MSFC team. The HERTS is a revolutionary propellant-less propulsion concept that is ideal for deep space missions to the Outer Planets, Heliopause, and beyond. It is unique in that it uses momentum exchange from naturally occurring solar wind protons to propel a spacecraft within the heliosphere. The propulsion system consists of an array of electrically positively-biased wires that extend outward 20 km from a rotating (one revolution per hour) spacecraft. It was determined that the HERTS system can accelerate a spacecraft to velocities as much as two to three times that possible by any realistic extrapolation of current state-of-the-art propulsion technologies- including solar electric and solar sail propulsion systems. The data produced show that a scientific spacecraft could reach distances of 100AU in less than 10 years. Moreover, it can be reasonably expected that this system could be developed within a decade and provide meaningful Heliophysics Science and Outer Planetary Science returns in the 2025-2035 timeframe.
Document ID
20150016542
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Wiegmann, Bruce M. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 27, 2015
Publication Date
July 27, 2015
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Report/Patent Number
M15-4738
Meeting Information
AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition(Orlando, FL)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

NameType 20150016542.pdf STI