SETI Ion propulsion system wins award

Larry Klaes (
Tue, 22 Jun 1999 13:49:04 -0400

>Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 10:05:21 -0700 (PDT) >From: >Subject: Ion propulsion system wins award >Reply-To: >To: undisclosed-recipients:; > >MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE >JET PROPULSION LABORATORY >CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY >NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION >PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 > > >Contacts: John G. Watson, JPL (818) 354-5011 > Pamelia Caswell, Glenn Research Center (216) 433-5795 > >FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 22, 1999 > >ION PROPULSION SYSTEM WINS DISCOVER MAGAZINE AWARD > > The futuristic ion propulsion system on NASA's Deep Space 1 >spacecraft is the winner of Discover Magazine's Award for >Technological Innovation in the exploration category. > > Discover magazine's annual awards, now in their 10th year, >honor teams whose innovations improve the quality of everyday >life. Twenty-seven technologies were selected as finalists. Nine >winners, featured in Discover's July issue, were announced at a >recent ceremony in Florida. > > The award went to NASA's Solar Electric Propulsion >Technology Application Readiness (NSTAR) program team, which >developed and delivered Deep Space 1's ion propulsion system. >Accepting on behalf of the team was former NSTAR manager Jack >Stocky of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. > > The ion drive combines a gas found in photo flash units with >some of the technologies that make television picture tubes work >to deliver a thrust only as powerful as the pressure of a sheet >of paper resting on the palm of a hand. Despite the almost >imperceptible level of thrust, this engine, for a given amount of >fuel, can increase a spacecraft's velocity 10 times more than can >a conventional liquid or solid fuel rocket. > > Deep Space 1, launched last October, has tested 12 new >technologies, including ion propulsion, so that they can be >confidently used on science missions of the 21st century. > > The NASA Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Application >Readiness program began in the early 1990s as a partnership >between JPL and NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, to >develop xenon ion engines for deep space missions. In June 1996, >a prototype engine built by the Glenn center began a long- >duration test in a vacuum chamber at JPL simulating the >conditions of outer space. The test concluded in September 1997 >after the engine successfully logged more than 8,000 hours of >operation. > > Results of the tests were used to define the design of >flight hardware that was built for Deep Space 1 by Hughes >Electron Dynamics Division, Torrance, CA, and Spectrum Astro >Inc., Gilbert, AZ. Other partners in the development of the >flight ion engine system included Moog Inc., East Aurora, NY, and >Physical Science Inc., Andover, MA. Development of the ion >propulsion system was supported by NASA's Office of Space Science >and the Office of Aeronautics and Space Transportation >Technology, Washington, DC. A portion of the program was >supported by the Advanced Space Transportation Program, managed >by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL. > > Deep Space 1 is managed by JPL, a division of the California >Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, for NASA's Office of Space >Science, Washington, DC. More information about the mission is >available on the web at . > > ##### >6-22-99 JGW >#99-054 >

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