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What is an iodine engine and what is its purpose?
Every year, more and more garbage accumulates in orbit around the planet,and every year there are more and more man-made objects in the near space. The problem is becoming more acute every year and it is not so easy to get away from the problem of littering what someone calls space.
The latest research shows that progress is being made in this direction and that the scientific community, at least on paper, is trying to deal with the problem somehow. It will not be possible to completely get rid of the constant littering of the orbital expanses, but you need to strive for this.
Here are the long attempts of engineers and astronomers led to the fact that there was a real breakthrough in terms of creating a certain iodine engine. According to the same scientists, this type of engine will significantly reduce the accumulation of debris in orbit.
Satellites that fly in low orbits periodically need to be raised a little to a higher orbit, since no matter how we would like, but in space there is not quite a vacuum and there are braking forces that eventually knock any satellite from the previously occupied orbit that it was assigned at launch.
While it is difficult to say how the new type of engine will affect the orbital piles of garbage, but if there is a topic and it is discussed, then apparently there is some benefit in this.
The invention, as it turns out, will probably solve the problem with garbage. The thing is that now, according to scientists, the satellites will be sent after the service life of a special engine to the torona of the dense layers of the atmosphere,so to speak, for disposal in the combustion process.
There is also an assumption that the iodine propulsion system in the future will significantly extend the operating time of small satellites in small orbits. Satellites can now be maintained in selected orbits for much longer than normal.
Such an unusual engine is being developed in the design office of the French company TrustMe.
Even at the development stage, the project received significant funding from the European Space Agency.
The iodine engine will use ordinary iodine in its operation. Iodine is significantly cheaper than all those analogues that were previously used in this concept as fuel. It is the fact that the engine will use non-expensive fuel components that became the starting point for the popularization of the project.
As it turns out, iodine is not as toxic as all other substances and at room temperature it is in a solid state. All the parameters of the substance allow you to use iodine as widely as possible and as safely as possible.
It is enough to heat up a little solid iodine, as it immediately passes the stage of the liquid state turns into a gas. In fact, this property can already be used as a fuel for jet propulsion. Iodine is more dense, it can be taken more on board in comparison with the fuel components previously used in such propulsion systems.
At this time, there is already one nano-satellite in orbit with a similar French propulsion system. The device is called SpaceTy Beihangkongshi-1, it was launched into space by a rocket last fall. Scientists have already tried to adjust the orbit by turning on the new engine and they all turned out great.
The simpler space systems are, the more practical they are and the less garbage they leave behind, one way or another, but the EU has already thought about the topic of garbage in orbit at the highest level.
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