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NASA In-Space Propulsion Technology Program: Overview and UpdateNASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology Program is investing in technologies that have the potential to revolutionize the robotic exploration of deep space. For robotic exploration and science missions, increased efficiencies of future propulsion systems are critical to reduce overall life-cycle costs and, in some cases, enable missions previously considered impossible. Continued reliance on conventional chemical propulsion alone will not enable the robust exploration of deep space - the maximum theoretical efficiencies have almost been reached and they are insufficient to meet needs for many ambitious science missions currently being considered. The In-Space Propulsion Technology Program's technology portfolio includes many advanced propulsion systems. From the next-generation ion propulsion system operating in the 5- to 10-kW range to aerocapture and solar sails, substantial advances in - spacecraft propulsion performance are anticipated. Some of the most promising technologies for achieving these goals use the environment of space itself for energy and propulsion and are generically called 'propellantless' because they do not require onboard fuel to achieve thrust. Propellantless propulsion technologies include scientific innovations such as solar sails, electrodynamic and momentum transfer.tethers, aeroassist and aerocapture. This paper will provide an overview of both propellantless and propellant-based advanced propulsion technologies, as well as NASA's plans for advancing them as part of the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program.
Document ID
20050000112
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Authors
Johnson, Les (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Alexander, Leslie (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Baggett, Randy M. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Bonometti, Joseph A. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Herrmann, Melody (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
James, Bonnie F. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Montgomery, Sandy E. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
October 27, 2004
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Meeting Information
36th Annual Division for Planetary Science(Louisville, KY)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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