Spacecraft Propulsion

Spacecraft propulsion is any method used to accelerate spacecraft and artificial satellites. There are many different methods. Each method has drawbacks and advantages, and spacecraft propulsion is an active area of research. However, most spacecraft today are propelled by forcing a gas from the back/rear of the vehicle at very high speed through a supersonic de Laval nozzle. This sort of engine is called a rocket engine.

All current spacecraft use chemical rockets (bipropellant or solid-fuel) for launch, though some (such as the Pegasus rocket and SpaceShipOne) have used air-breathing engines on their first stage. Most satellites have simple reliable chemical thrusters (often monopropellant rockets) or resistojet rockets for orbital station-keeping and some use momentum wheels for attitude control. Soviet bloc satellites have used electric propulsion for decades, and newer Western geo-orbiting spacecraft are starting to use them for north-south stationkeeping and orbit raising. Interplanetary vehicles mostly use chemical rockets as well, although a few have used ion thrusters and Hall effect thrusters (two different types of electric propulsion) to great success.

Read more about Spacecraft PropulsionRequirements, Effectiveness, Methods, Hypothetical Methods, Table of Methods, Testing

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Electrically Powered Spacecraft Propulsion
... An electrically powered spacecraft propulsion system is any of a number of forms of electric motors which spacecraft can employ to gain mechanical energy in outer space ... Most of these kinds of spacecraft propulsion work by electrically powering propellant to high speed, but electrodynamic tethers work by interacting with a planet's magnetosphere ... Russian satellites have used electric propulsion for decades, and newer Western geo-orbiting spacecraft are starting to use them for north-south stationkeeping ...
Hall Effect - Applications - Contemporary Applications - Spacecraft Propulsion
... (HET) is a relatively low power device that is used to propel some spacecraft, once they get into orbit or farther out into space ...
Spacecraft Propulsion - Testing
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