Sending a ship into space is very expensive, especially for all the fuel it takes to power the rocket boosters.
One of the most common elements used in the aerospace industry is xenon, which is very expensive, about $ 3,000 per kilogram.
Considering the large number of satellites and spacecraft to be launched in the next decade, the scientific community is looking for a component that will help reduce the high costs of space launches.
Several universities and companies have studied how iodine could be used as a revolutionary propulsion alternative.
“Iodine is significantly more abundant and cheaper than xenon, and it has the additional advantage that it can be stored without pressure as a solid,” says in a statement Dmytro Rafalskyi, co-founder of the company ThrustMe.
This company has already tested the system and published the test results in the magazine Nature.
The Beihangkongshi-1 satellite, launched on a Long March 6 rocket in November 2020, was able to use ThrustMe’s iodine propellant to alter its altitude between 200 and 400 meters during each of the 11 test shots.
“This successful demonstration means that we can move to the next step in the development of iodine propulsion,” adds Rafalskyi.
“In parallel with our tests in space, we have developed new solutions that enable higher performance and have begun an extensive campaign of endurance tests on the ground to further expand the limits of this new system.”
The researchers hope that iodine-based propulsion technology could become the future of the aerospace industry.