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Ionic Liquid Thrusters fabricated in MTL featured in cover of MRS Bulletin

December 3, 2015

ILTs hold the promise of propulsion in small satellites and eventually large space vehicles

MRSbulletin_oct2015.jpgMEMS-based Ionic Liquid Thrusters (ILT) are a promising technology that could replace bulky and expensive space propulsion systems used in satellites today. Significant advances have been made at MIT in recent years towards the implementation of this technology in very small satellites. A future, more general use of ILTs in large space vehicles, possibly including crewed exploration spacecraft, would require novel ways of manufacturing and further miniaturization of the technology. New developments will require the use of task-specific, nanostructured materials capable of handling precise propellant delivery under extreme electrical conditions.

Advances on ILTs at MIT were featured in October's cover page of the MRS Bulletin, under the general theme of materials science in aerospace engineering applications. This research takes place under the direction of Prof. Paulo Lozano of MIT's Aeronautics and Astronautics Department. MIT's MTL and SPL (Space Propulsion Lab) will play a pivotal role in the fabrication of the next generation of highly-capable ILTs.

Visit the October 2015 issue of the MRS Bulletin here.

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