Plasma drive? Here you go! NASA is sending the first vehicle with such a propulsion into orbit – the NeeWS

NASA is very close to the start of its duo Orion and Space Launch System, which is part of the Deep Space Exploration Systems program. The first flight will be called Artemis I and will include, among others 13 tiny satellites – two of them are CubeSats designed for deep space exploration, one of which has a plasma drive that uses electromagnetic waves to move forward and, according to NASA, has a good chance of setting a new record in this regard. We also quickly remind you that CubeSat satellites are miniature units of standardized sizes, where the basic unit (1U) has a volume of one liter at the time of launch, with a cube size of 10x10x10 cm and a weight of up to 1.33 kg, but this size can be multiplied, typically up to 1 , 5, 2, 3, 6 and 12 U.

It is also worth emphasizing that these are units for the construction of which the most commonly used materials available on the market, so in fact, anyone can be the author of such a project. Just recall the recently presented Woodsat project, supported by the European Space Agency, which, as the name suggests, is made of wood. The author of the solution is the Finnish science journalist Jari Makinen, who also runs the Arctic Astronauts company, which sells CubeSat replicas for educational and hobby purposes. The satellites unveiled by NASA today, Team Miles CubeSat and JAXA EQUilibriUM Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft (EQUULEUS) CubeSat, are a bit more advanced, though, and will be placed in the adapter linking the rocket and spacecraft when the mission is ready.

Team Miles CubeSat was created by the Miles Space company founded in 2016 and is the winner of the NASA Cube Quest Challenge – it is he who will use a plasma drive to test this technology in deep space. The on-board computer will autonomously control the satellite, on which there will also be a place for radio communication with the Earth.

If the idea proves successful, it will allow it to travel much greater distances than any human-made spacecraft of its class – 59.6 million miles, or nearly twice the distance between Mars and Earth. The task of the second satellite, JAXA CubeSat, seems easier, because it will “spin” around the Earth and the Moon to take pictures of the Earth’s plasmosphere, which is a plasma-rich region inside the Earth’s magnetosphere.

Source: Photo. NASA

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