Author Topic: Cold Gas Satellite Thruster  (Read 141 times)

Offline Patrick

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Cold Gas Satellite Thruster
« on: January 20, 2021, 02:02:40 AM »
ok so I have a thought experiment for a satellite cold thruster, of course the only advantage cold-gas has is simplicity and being small but,

Would a light gas such as N2 pressurized to 5000 psi in a 1 liter volume be less effective than a dense Xenon gas at 5000 psi, 1 liter volume ?
What about SF6 under the same conditions ?

-TY

Offline klugesmith

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Re: Cold Gas Satellite Thruster
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2021, 02:53:23 AM »
[edit] So it's not about specific impulse, it's about impulse for a given volume of high pressure fuel tank?

I think the maneuvering system tested by some untethered NASA astronauts used high pressure nitrogen.  Safe, reliable, won't freeze up, etc.  System mass is dominated by the pressure tank, not its contents, so the better specific impulse from low-MW gas (helium?) doesn't buy much.

SF6 (very high MW) at room temperature is vapor over liquid at about 300 psi, limiting the rocket chamber pressure.   For mass flows that aren't extremely small, you'd need a heat source.

Xenon critical temperature isn't far above room temperature, so vapor is exceptionally compressible. You might get a propellant mass greater than tank mass, but the high MW would be bad for specific impulse.  And xenon is hella expensive.

High MW of xenon is good in ion thrusters, 'cause of high ratio of ion momentum / ion energy.  Also easy to store, manage, and ionize.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 05:13:02 AM by klugesmith »

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Re: Cold Gas Satellite Thruster
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2021, 02:53:23 AM »

 


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