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X3 ion thruster achieves record 102 kilowatts of power and 5.4 newtons of thrust

•, brian wang

It is a Hall thruster — a system that propels spacecraft by accelerating a stream of electrically charged atoms, known as ions. In the recent demonstration conducted at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Ohio, the X3 broke records for the maximum power output, thrust and operating current achieved by a Hall thruster to date, according to the research team at the University of Michigan and representatives from NASA.

* X3 can operate at over 100 kW of power
* operated at a huge range of power from 5 kW to 102 kW, with electrical current of up to 260 amperes.
* It generated 5.4 Newtons of thrust, which is the highest level of thrust achieved by any plasma thruster to date. The previous record was 3.3 Newtons

The maximum velocity that can be achieved by a chemical rocket is about 5 kilometers per second, a Hall thruster could get a craft up to 40 kilometers per second.

It has ten times the ISP (fuel efficiency for space) of a chemical rocket.

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