Kitchenware in orbit

Published: Thursday 31 October 1996

An American engineer, Michael Micci of Pennsylvania State University, US, has used parts from a microwave oven to build a propulsion system that could revolutionise rocket launches. The system can be fuelled by water and it could lead to cheaper, larger and more reliable satellites with longer life spans. Microwaves can create a free-floating plasma -- superheated, electrically-charged gas -- inside an engine. When a cold 'fuel' gas is passed through the plasma, it gets hot and comes out through a nozzle, generating thrust. This microwave-powered thruster may halve the amount of fuel required by rockets.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.