NASA's Record-Breaking Ion Thruster Engine Could Take Us to Mars

October 19, 2017

The buzz is building around NASA’s new X3 thruster, and with very good reason.

 

The X3 thruster performed very well in a recent round of testing and broke three records simultaneously: in terms of thrust, it generated 5.4 Newtons and both previously existing maximum power output and operating current levels were exceeded. All this while operating at a new threshold of power.

 

Project leader Alec Gallimore, who is also dean of engineering at the University of Michigan, expressed his optimism about the impressive results: "We have shown that X3 can operate at over 100 kW of power."