The tests were successful, which is very happy scientists.
The European space Agency (ESA) had tested the world’s first electric motor, a working body which is common air. This technology is called Air-Breathing Electric Propulsion, or Atmosphere-Breathing Electric Propulsion (.) and can be used for low earth orbit satellites.
From satellites in low orbits there are 2 problems: the friction of the air, although sparse, should be compensated. For this purpose, ion engines, but they have a limited supply of the working fluid.
Because of this, the GOCE spacecraft with ion engine to map earth’s gravity 56 months working at an altitude of 260 km. After he ran out of xenon and Sputnik burned in the atmosphere. The new engine will allow the satellites to work indefinitely. Decay is possible in the event of a component failure or failure in the program.
It is noted that such engines can operate on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Mars or Venus or in the atmosphere of giant planets.
In principle, this is a very simple engine that creates propulsion through ionization of the gas. This makes it reliable and simple, because it only needs the working fluid and electricity. Version ESA-engine added air intakes to capture oxygen molecules in the concentration in which they are at an altitude of 200 km at a speed of 7 km/s.
Of course, the density of the atmosphere depends on altitude and solar activity and time of year. It is required to hold the device in orbit, but not burn it in the dense layers of the atmosphere.
Directly engine put together by the Italian company Sitael. It has two stages, which improves the performance of ionization and acceleration of particles than conventional engines. Pre-design was tested in a computer simulation, then it’s time for real tests.
While the tests were on the planet’s surface in a vacuum chamber, where stimulirovanie conditions at an altitude of 200 km. First engine launched the xenon is then transferred to a nitrogen-oxygen mixture. The tests also show that the engine can be repeatedly started and stopped.
In 2019, the company intends to launch a Eutelsat satellite Eutelsat Quantum, which can change the configuration directly into orbit. This will give you the flexibility to set it up. For example, the satellite can change the frequency of the radiated signal or aim for another piece of Land.
This approach will allow you to implement, including, orbital Internet, because the satellites can be redeployed, improving the coverage and transmission speed. The prototype Eutelsat Quantum is designed for 15 years of operation.