Space Propulsion Research
Chemical rockets have limited application for space applications due to the fact that the fuel is slow (low specific impulse) relative to the speeds needed to move efficiently throught the solar system. As a result, chemical systems are massive and the trip times for missions are very long. Research at UW in this area is devoted to the development of faster propellants that can provide substantial reductions in cost and trip time. To achieve these efficiencies, plasma systems (i.e. charged particles) are accelerated by electric and magnetic fields to more than an order of magnitude faster than the exhaust speed of chemical rockets. The research section details our propulsion systems.
High Power Helicon
An electrodeless plasma thruster more →