Paris: A small iodine-fueled engine has been successfully tested in space. During the test, the orbit of a planet was changed by the power of this engine.
Note that at normal temperatures iodine is solid but when heated it rapidly converts to direct gas.
Due to this property of iodine, efforts have been made for the last several years to develop an engine in which iodine can be used as fuel.
Experts are well aware that the use of iodine does not make a powerful engine capable of lifting a planet from Earth to space, so they were already working on a small iodine engine, the “thruster” aimed at The orbits of satellites in space have to change.
Conventional thrusters are heavier and heavier when mounted on small satellites.
The French company Thrust Me has developed a lightweight, short iodine thruster for small asteroids that has been tested on Earth before.
Last year, it was installed on a small communications satellite, Behankonshi 1, and sent into space on a trial basis, where it successfully orbited the planet several times, sending it back to the desired orbit.
Unlike conventional thrusters, the iodine thruster made of “Thrust Me” is very short and lightweight which heats up the iodine and emits it in the form of gas and produces a force (thrust) equal to 0.8 ml Newton.
This force, although very small, is very suitable for orbiting a small planet orbiting in space.
The engine has to be heated for ten minutes before “starting”, after which it starts its work by converting iodine into gas.
This also means that the iodine thruster cannot be used immediately in emergencies but potential dangers in the general atmosphere of space are detected much earlier so it started too early and changed the orbit of the planet. can go.
During the new trials, the iodine thruster was tested by running it for about an hour each time, which proved its usefulness.
With this success, the prospects for regular use of iodine thrusters in future small asteroids have become very bright as they are short and lightweight as well as low cost.
Note: Full details of these trials and iodine thrusters have been published in the latest issue of the research journal Nature.