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Center Innovation Fund: MSFC CIF

Electric Sail Propulsion Test and Validation

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Electric Sail Propulsion Test and Validation
In order to determine the true capability of the E-Sail, the discrepancy in force per unit length of charged wires must be understood. This difference can only be resolved by plasma chamber testing. Therefore, the first objective of this CIF project will be to repeat the MSFC interaction experiment, but with a long thin cylindrical test body, which will be more representative of the biased E-Sail wires. This proposed effort will also validate the physics model that describes the theory that a positively charged wire can produce a useful amount of thrust from solar wind. A strand of conductive wire will be charged and subjected to a solar wind environment in the MSFC Solar Wind Test Facility. Data collected will be compared with theoretical models. More »

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