36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 10 Advanced Propulsion
Special Session, Tuesday, November 9, 2004, 10:30am-12:00noon, Lewis

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[10.01] NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology Program

L. Johnson, J. Robinson (NASA MSFC)

NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology Program is investing in technologies that have the potential to revolutionize the robotic exploration of deep space. For robotic exploration and science missions, increased efficiencies of future propulsion systems are critical to reduce overall life-cycle costs and, in some cases, enable missions previously considered impossible. Continued reliance on conventional chemical propulsion alone will not enable the robust exploration of deep space - the maximum theoretical efficiencies have almost been reached and they are insufficient to meet needs for many ambitious science missions currently being considered.

The In-Space Propulsion Technology Program's technology portfolio includes many advanced propulsion systems. From the next generation ion propulsion system operating in the 5 - 10 kW range, to advanced cryogenic propulsion, substantial advances in spacecraft propulsion performance are anticipated. Some of the most promising technologies for achieving these goals use the environment of space itself for energy and propulsion and are generically called, ``propellantless" because they do not require on-board fuel to achieve thrust. Propellantless propulsion technologies include scientific innovations such as solar sails, electrodynamic and momentum transfer tethers, aeroassist, and aerocapture. This paper will provide an overview of both propellantless and propellant-based advanced propulsion technologies, and NASA's plans for advancing them as part of the $60M per year In-Space Propulsion Technology Program. Solar sails and aerocapture are candidates for flight validation as early as 2008 in partnership with NASA's New Millennium Program.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to www.inspacepropulsion.com. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: C.Les.Johnson@nasa.gov

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.