Advanced Propulsion Comes Of Age
Date: Wednesday, July 31, 2002 @ 21:41:00 GMT
Topic: General

SMART Technology: Moon Mission to Test Solar Engine With No Limits

By Heather Sparks
Staff Writer
posted: 07:00 am ET
31 July 2002

Electric power and ion propulsion are about to combine for only the second time to propel a spacecraft beyond Earth orbit. Next April the European Space Agency's SMART-1 lunar satellite heads off to explore the Moon from an orbital position.
Electric propulsion has been used in low-Earth telecommunications satellites for years, and a high-tech ion engine powered NASA's Deep Space 1 test craft from 1998 until late last year. But before this technology is ready for prime-time missions to other planets and beyond, more tests are needed.
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