NASA Funds Solar Electric Propulsion Research

NASA Funds Solar Electric Propulsion Research

NASA just awarded a $67 million contract to Aerojet Rocketdyne to further development of Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP).  The technology converts sunlight into electricity, then use the electricity to accelerate ions out of a nozzle, thus generating electric thrust. While SEP engines are more efficient than chemical rockets, they also tend to produce less thrust for their size. NASA hopes this research can lead to SEP engines that can rival modern fuel-based rockets.

About the Author

avatar KALE: A geek who works in the IT Security field and lives in Dallas, TX. He is also a music geek who has played in several local bands. Previous to his IT career, Kale worked as a photojournalist. He brings technical advice and artistic counterpoint to the podcast.