- These are designed for long term missions, and would supply low-thrust for long periods of time with highly efficient use of fuel.These engines include:Plasma-Jet This engine allows an extremely hot ionized gas to escape at high velocity from the rear of the engine. An electromagnetic field may be used to accelerate the ionized gas.Ion Engine Ionized atoms, such as cesium atoms, are accelerated to high velocity in an electrostatic field, and allowed to escape from the rear of the engine. This type of engine can reach high velocity. In 1998 a satellite using an Ion Engine was launched. It used xenon gas instead of cesium atoms. Also called a Solar Electric Engine.Photon Engine This engine would eject photons (light particles) from the rear of the engine, at the speed of light. Since a photon has almost no energy, a tremendous amount of photons would need to be ejected to produce sufficient thrust. The photons could be used to push a Solar Sail.Solar Electric Engine Ionized atoms, such as cesium atoms, are accelerated to high velocity in an electrostatic field, and allowed to escape from the rear of the engine. This type of engine can reach high velocity. In 1998 a satellite using an Ion Engine was launched. It used xenon gas instead of cesium atoms. Also called an Ion Engine.See Propulsion.
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