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04/04/2012

Mini motors to power satellites

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    An ionic mini motor, weighing only 7 oz, will allow the new generation of nanosatellites to have autonomous capabilities and "set them free" from their current orbits.
    The tiny motor will include fuel and electronics and will be attached to satellites as small as a 4 inch cube. It will use an ionic liquid, the chemical compound EMI-BF4, from which ions with electrical charges will be extracted and then ejected to provide thrust.
    Although the motor will only provide a tiny amount of acceleration, the frictionless environment of space will allow for a steady increase in speed. Using the motor, 0.2 gallons of propellant will be enough for the satellite to reach the moon in only six months.
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