Small water powered space engine

Small water powered space engine

Researchers at Imperial College in the UK have created an innovative micro-motor that could change the way small satellites are maneuvered in the future.

What’s new is a device the size of a fingernail, which does not require large storage facilities, and is called the ICE-Cube Thruster – “ICE” is short for “Iridium catalytic electrolysis“, or iridium catalyzed electrolysis in Portuguese.

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What does a small space rocket look like?

  • As the name suggests, the thruster is based on electrolysis and is designed to maneuver small satellites in space.
  • To move, an attached electrolyzer moves a 20-watt current through the water and produces hydrogen and oxygen to generate thrust.
  • To give you an idea of ​​the minimum size, the ICE-Cube is so small that the combustion chamber and nozzle together are only 1mm long.
  • Due to its dimensions, the small space rocket can only be assembled using a special microelectronics-based approach called MEMS (or “Micro-electromechanical systems“In English). Information from the portal

How powerful is the ICE-Cube Thruster?

In tests, the ICE-Cube has so far reached the 1.25 mN mark of thrust sustainably for 185 seconds (about 3 minutes).

The first experiments were conducted in the laboratory to prove the real-world viability of the propellant. Data collected during the activity will guide the next steps in the development of the innovative micromotor.

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About the Author: Camelia Kirk

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