Test Launch Satellite That Powered By Iodine and Returns to Orbit

by Olha Povaliaieva
Thursday, November 18, 2021
2 MIN

On November 6, there was a test of a unique satellite that runs on clean fuel and returns to Earth without polluting the orbit of space

The satellite belongs to Ukrainian engineer and businessman Dmytro Rafalsky. He was directly involved in the development of this satellite's engine system. Rafalsky graduated from the Karazin Kharkiv University and is now actively engaged in aerospace development.

“A satellite has been successfully powered by iodine for the first time. Iodine performed better than the traditional fuel of choice, xenon highlighting iodine’s potential utility for future space missions.”

The research and launch of the satellite were carried out by the French company ThrustMe. The iodine propulsion system was placed in a small satellite, CubeSat, and placed in orbit 480 kilometers from Earth. A feature of this satellite is the presence of engines that help maneuver from potential collisions and return the object itself to Earth.

“If we want to explore space responsibly and not create as much 'space debris' as we do today, we must install a similar propulsion system on all satellites, even the smallest ones. This will allow the satellite to return to Earth rather than stay in orbit for the rest of its life. Probably, iodine is one of the ways how to achieve this goal,” Rafalskiy commented on his invention.

The emergence of this type of engine is significant since it will make it possible to launch satellites cheaper and not pollute the orbit with them.

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