"Researchers Successfully Used Iodine to Power a Satellite in Space" - Interesting Engineering
November 29, 2021
Infinite Composites discusses Iodine to Power Satellites in Interesting Engineering.
Traditionally, chemicals have been used as propellants for space vehicles. According to the European Space Agency, electric propulsion, where electrical power is used to accelerate the propellant is a much more efficient way of propulsion since it uses a lesser mass of propellant and can eject it up to twenty times faster. This can acutely reduce the mass of propellant spacecraft carry for orbit raising and other such maneuvers, further reducing the cost of launch price of these vehicles.
This method of propulsion is largely used for satellites used for applications such as Earth observation, navigation, and telecommunications. However, the current propellant of choice is xenon, an inert gas found in trace amounts on the planet. At times, krypton has also been used.
Michael Tate, Co-Founder & COO of Infinite Composites, a company engaged in making pressure vessels for holding propellants said, "Krypton and Xenon have very high density. Their pressure ranges typically from 3000 psi (200 bar) to 5000 psi (350 bar) which is ideal for electric propulsion systems because it’s all about “throwing” as much mass behind you as possible."