NASA Successfully Tests Ion Engine
Glenn Research Center, Cleveland - NASA's Project Prometheus recently reached an important milestone with the first successful test of an engine that could lead to revolutionary propulsion capabilities for space exploration missions throughout the solar system and beyond.
The test involved a High Power Electric Propulsion (HiPEP) ion engine using commercial utility electrical power. The event marked the first in a series of performance tests to demonstrate new high-velocity and high-power thrust needed for use in nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) applications.
"The initial test went extremely well," said Dr. John Foster, the primary investigator of the HiPEP ion engine at NASA's Glenn Research Center (GRC), Cleveland. "The test involved the largest microwave ion thruster ever built. The use of microwaves for ionization would enable very long-life thrusters for probing the universe," he said.