SPACE: NASA AND THE ION THRUSTER

This blog began when Ms. M.W. sent the following article to me, about NASA's recent test of the ion-Hall thruster, which has now demonstrated a thrust in excess of five newtons, far surpassing that of NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which indeed does use an ion thruster, but one only generating 90 micronewtons of thrust:

NASA Breaks Record With Ion Thruster That Could Take Humans To Mars

The author of this article, Jonathan O'Callaghan, provides a link to NASA's "other ongoing projects," and while I originally intended to comment in this blog more on the article itself, after clicking on the link contained in it, my initial reaction was "whoa! something is up!", and that, of course, brings us to today's high octane speculation.

For when I clicked on Mr. O'Callaghan's provided link, it led me here:

Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Projects

At the top of this link, the reader will note the following contract awards:

NASA’s journey to deep space will include key partnerships with commercial industry for the development of advanced exploration systems. In an effort to stimulate deep space capability development across the aerospace industry, NASA released the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Broad Agency Announcement and selected 12 projects to advance the development of necessary exploration capabilities. Through these public-private partnerships, NextSTEP partners will provide advance concept studies and technology development projects in the areas of advanced propulsion, habitation systems and small satellites.

Advanced Propulsion

Advanced propulsion technology will be necessary to power exploration into deeper space. Selected partners will further the development of high power electric propulsion (EP) systems in order to lay the ground work for future lifetime testing and eventual technology demonstration missions of the EP systems. Current electric propulsion technology can generate 5 kilowatts of power, and NASA hopes to eventually achieve 300 kilowatts or greater. Partners will demonstrate an electric propulsion systems with higher specific impulse, higher efficiency, and higher power for long duration deep space transportation systems and look at capabilities that are beyond those previously considered.

Ad Astra Rocket Company of Webster, Texas will use the NextSTEP award to develop and test an advanced version of its Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) engine, an advanced plasma space propulsion system. Plasma is an electrically charged gas that can be heated to extreme temperatures by radio waves and controlled and guided by strong magnetic fields. The magnetic field also insulates nearby structures so exhaust temperatures well beyond the melting point of materials can be achieved. In rocket propulsion, the higher the temperature of the exhaust gases, the higher their velocity and the higher the fuel efficiency. The engine will be equipped with technological advances for a longer test to demonstrate the engine’s new proprietary core design and thermal control subsystem and to better estimate component lifetime

Aeroject Rocketdyne Inc. of Redmond, Washington will use the award to complete the development on a Power Processing Unit that will convert the electrical power generated by a spacecraft’s solar arrays into the power needed for its patented 250kW multi-channel Nested Hall Thruster.

MSNW LLC of Redmond, Washington plans to develop a thruster for high-power, exploration class missions. MSNW LLC will also partner with the University of Washington to develop and test a propulsion system capable of operation from 100 to 300 kW power on both traditional propellants and propellants manufactured using resources available during a deep space mission to the moon or Mars, minimizing the materials carried from Earth.
(Italicized emphasis added)

If one scrolls further down the page, one finds various contracts for habitat studies, environmental studies, CO2 scrubbing, and a brief mention of NASA's "Orion" chemical rocket booster. In other words, NASA is getting serious about further manned Lunar and Mars missions.

What intrigued me, however, is the curious lack of mention of rockets in connection with long term deep space exploration, and that is significant, for it means that the old 1950's "cartoon" version of deep space exploration by rockets is finally being abandoned. It's a tacit admission that they are simply inadequate to the job. And from the contracts being awarded for ion thrusters, it appears that NASA may have tacitly settled on the ion thruster as the best prospect for further development and study in this regard. Indeed, it looks as if the recent test of the Hall ion thruster has impressed them enough that they want to start testing various arrays of such thrusters at even greater power.

Now, that previous paragraph may have appeared to be today's high octane speculation, but it isn't, it's merely prologue to it, for it makes me wonder what is being hidden, and if, perhaps, this is a kind of limited hangout position. Why do I think that? For reasons beyond the usual "breakaway civilization-secret space program" reasoning that with "enough money and time" and the "they've been researching this since the end of World War Two" sort of explanation. Don't get me wrong: I still view that argument as being valid and having some teeth. But my suspicions here arise from more specific reasons that were advanced by Dr. Paul LaViolette in his study Secrets of Antigravity Propulsion. If you've not read that book and are interested in such matters, put it at the top of your list, for in it, he details various patents - from the 195os - in conjunction with anecdotal information, including his own suggestions to NASA in the 1990s when it solicited "ideas" for a number of advanced propulsion projects, for propulsion systems of an "electrical" nature. Between then and now is a gap of some years, and now we have this very explicit admission of actual contracts being awarded for study of various "arrays" and equipment-life studies. In short, I think we're looking at a limited hangout position, and that indeed is high octane speculation. Notably absent from these recent releases are any news of Dr. Harold "Sonny" White's ongoing studies of warp drive, or any mention of DARPA's century-project of warp capability. (And of course, there's that little Gary McKinnon-hacking/Ronald Reagan-memoirs problem...)

But limited hangout or not, these contractual awards are telling enough in themselves:

The age of the rocket for deep space missions is over.

See you on the flip side...

 

21 thoughts on “SPACE: NASA AND THE ION THRUSTER”

  1. Hi Joseph!

    VERY Interesting news- TOM DELONGE just transpired on the huge Joe Rogan show that his high level sources told him that ROSWELL was a Nazi ship from Argentina, and that the Alien/Waterbaloon stories were just cover ups.

    Joe Rogan Experience #1029 – Tom DeLonge
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5n_3mnJfHzY

    It is a must-see.

    You were right.

    Cheers,
    S

  2. You have to look at the Bigger Picture: The breakaway civilization does not want ordinary humanity in space. The same for the alphabet agencies. Who wants uncontrolled-as sets going anywhere and doing anything they want? When you look at our space program from this perspective, everything makes sense…

    First, have lots of expensive, grandiose plans. Decades-long plans. Plans that get reset-to-zero every second or third election. The appearance of progress, without the actual progress.

    Second, make lots of small contract awards. This gives the technology groupies the sense of advancement, while actually providing so little cash that most of the startups eventually go bust. You can churn your wheels quite a while in this fashion.

    And always, always dangle the hope that there might be some breakthrough, just over the horizon…

  3. Private Public Partnerships should have a little “r” circled next to it – a patented trade mark symbolizing
    their ever-ready battery of slogans
    rolled into one modus operandi:
    “socialize the cost; privatize the profits”.

    1. The “real” science and discoveries
      will be as hidden as their finance.
      Sharing is not in their vocabulary.
      It’s all about me[PRIVATE] taking from you[public].
      A Breakaway Civilization that takes from all of humanity’s civilizations [past , present & future
      and uses what it takes against humanity
      and their living Earth habitat.

  4. I can still remember video of the moon lander taking off; it did not appear to use “rocket” engines to do so at the time. Many have speculated on this and whether it indicated “fake” footage in the “we didn’t go to the moon” meme. It is likely that we did go, but didn’t use the advertised technology to do so. This has lead to the “secret space program” and “advanced craft space fleet” hypothesis.
    Apparently, the use of these type of crafts aren’t very profitable, hence the continued use of chemical rockets, which are very costly in hardware, rare resources, and human lives. Use for military applications of advanced technology not shared with the public is quite common.
    If you have advanced craft and collateralize space, you have an endless supply of capital and resources, something often discussed on this site. The fact that this only benefits the “elite” is quite depressing. Imagine where we would be if we could end our warlike habits and spent that money on the benefit of mankind. We would already be on Mars and beyond, I would think. Who knows, maybe we already are.

    1. You know, I too used to think that Apollo got there using hidden black ops tech, but I no longer do. Either they faked literally EVERYTHING we “saw” and still went — in which case what was the point of all the fakery, seriously? Just wow the world with REAL advanced technology and be done with it — or much more likely, even inevitably, they just faked it the whole way.

      You mention those tracking shots of the LEM blasting off from the lunar surface… Well, right there you’ve got so many physical impossibilities going on that the whole Apollo program must be stamped a hoax. First of all, where is the noise of the engine firing, either on ascent or descent? Then, how in the heck did the upper portion of the LEM actually survive the blast-off supposedly filmed remotely and shared by NASA? Look at all the crazy flying bits of metal that are blasted about at thousands of MPH when the engine is ignited. In five lunar blast-offs, not once did one fleck of that wild spray of projectiles happen to pierce the LEM itself, which had only a few millimeters of aluminum hull and some scotch-taped gold Mylar protecting the astronauts from the vacuum of space? Uhm, no.

      Anyway, that said, NASA is for show and only gets DoD hand-me-down tech once they’ve moved on to the next gen. And I do know that there is real, functioning anti-gravitic tech out there, as I’ve seen it in action and it sure didn’t look alien to me as it went skipping silently by at ~5k mph.

      1. Where’s a camera when you need on, eh. Never actually seen one myself, however, my wife did last year while we were seining shrimp on Jekyll Island at night. My attention was focused on something else at the time and she just happened to be looking up. Such is life.

        1. What a wonderful setting for a UFO encounter! Mine was more prosaic, I simply looked up (as I often do) while walking down my street.

          Apparently you can see gobs of this stuff with night vision binoculars; perhaps someone here has used them and can confirm or rebut that?

    2. Thoughts:

      That footage of the LEM taking off always looked strange to me. It was quick and smooth. No fire, flames, dust from the engine, acceleration of any kind. There were a few bits and bobs flying off around the area (dust, rocks, other?), and the camera (fairly) smoothly tracked up following the LEM(on)’s trajectory off the moon. Huh … who was doing the operating of the camera? Must have been someone with great reflexes. That was always strange to me.

      So what was happening on the moon. There are three possible scenarios in my mind.

      (1) They used other technology to get there and back … or back off the moon, at least, and didn’t want people to know … so they faked some of it.
      (2) They didn’t have the technology at the time so faked it for political reasons (to pull the eyes over people, siphon off money, and beat them darned Russkies at the same time).
      (3) A bit of all three (??) in various proportions.

      Myself, I’m on the fence still. I know that a lot of the footage was fake. But whether they went there or not, I cannot say. Only those who are in the know can say for certain. But I wouldn’t trust NASA to tell the truth … as far as I could throw them (which is about 2.6 mm, if you want to know). So I lean towards we didn’t go … for whatever reason.

      I always see chemical rockets taking off, and think, “What a waste of energy. Surely there must be a way of doing this better.” And, of course, as we all know, there may be after reading the stories of Townsend Brown, the Scottish engineer Sandy Kidd (who threw a couple of gyroscopes together, and discovered he could reduce an object’s weight), Searle … etc etc etc. The stories go on and on.

      Interesting addendum to this. I saw a youtube video a couple of days ago purporting to prove that the Earth is flat (yeah, I know). But I was curious … and watched it. It purported to prove once and for all that the Earth we see is a projection … or something or other (I always zone out when Flat Earthers start jabbering on). The video was from NASA’s own website, and showed footage taken from the ISS. The jist of the video was that if you looked closely you could see an insect of some kind flying around casting a shadow on the face of the earth. And, lo, and behold, indeed there was something flying around, and a shadow was cast on the face of the earth. Huh … I thought. Another one of those little things that make you stop and go … huh. Anyway, the footage didn’t show that the earth is flat, of course. It just showed that whatever we were seeing (flying insect, bubble etc casting shadow on earth) was not in space, and was probably just footage taken in one of their large water tanks with an earth projected on a screen ie … fake, fake, fakity fake space footage

      A lot of what we see is smoke and mirrors. Is there a secret space program? Probably. Will we get to see amazing footage from other planets in our life time. Probably not. I’ve been waiting for a decent space program all my life (I’m nearly 50) … and it’s really not getting any more exciting. All very sad, really since I’ve been interested in space, propulsion systems, and all sorts of assorted topics ever since I was a kid. Maybe one day a Bezos or whoever will fund research into anti-grav, non-inertial space propulsion and we’ll get to the stars in my lifetime. I don’t think I will hold my breath on that one though.

      ps they were talking about ion drives before the Moon landing. But they put it on hold for some reason (at least that’s my memory of it). Still don’t know why …

      1. paraschtick, you think you’re frustrated? I’m almost 70, and I walked-around under the engine bells of a pre-launch Saturn IB on the pad at Cape Kennedy (in more naïve security days). I expected humanity – even with chemical rocket technology – to be colonizing planets by now. Grrr. (See my above comment.)

        As far as whether NASA touched-down on the Moon, check-out the close-up reconnaissance-orbiter photographs of the Apollo 11-17 landing sites by Indian, Chinese, and NASA spacecraft at the url below. Amazing. For these to be fake, you would have to have a worldwide collusion between three semi-hostile powers. Apollo went to the Moon; with or without any advanced tech…
        http://82.221.129.208/indexbkfeb12016.html

  5. For What It’s Worth “NeXTSTEP” was also the name of a computer operating system, active in the late 80’s and early 90’s which was (I’ll let Wikipedia take over here):
    “the first commercial electronic software distribution catalog to collectively manage encryption and provide digital rights for application software and digital media, a forerunner of the modern “app store” concept. It was also the platform on which Tim Berners-Lee created the first web browser. After the purchase of NeXT by Apple, it became the source of the popular operating systems macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. Many bundled macOS applications, such as TextEdit, Mail and Chess, are descendants of NeXTSTEP applications.”

    Perhaps these two projects share some higher-order derivative where space travel and planet-wide communications occupy a common surface.

  6. IMHO,
    NASA, by embracing this road map for Ion thrusters, is de facto going full throttle on electro gravitics..
    Ion thrusters mean a negative electric field at the back of the vehicle with a necessary positive electric field at the front in the direction of travel.
    Shaping those fields into non-linear geometries with non null second derivatives is pretty straight forward, and presto, virtual charges arise per LaViolette’s sub-quantum kinetics. and we have electro-gravitic propulsion !

  7. Death is the great propulsion. The study of death is limited by cultural outlook. Original Christianity is based on overcoming death, and the fear it. Whereas imperial slave cultures infuse fear of death, to limit the mind into bondage.

    While reconstructing the original masonry system, we find that 33 degree position connects this life to the next. Death, seen as a force of nature, will automatically open the door to warp drive capability into deep space.

    Original symbol of 33 degree position is hakenkreuz. Pyramid.

      1. Why would you need water, deep space is a very cold place, I’m sure there are other liquids which would work just fine in a closed system.
        The nuclear fuel loop was closed long ago but the technology was “outlawed” by the President. Now why would you do that? What “agenda” would this serve?
        Now we have all that spent fuel causing problems in underground storage facilities polluting the Earth. The technology would have used the fuel completely after 20 iterations and left it inert. Probably not very practical for space applications, due to the requirement of two different types of reactors, but absolutely practical for terrestrial applications.

        1. WD, JS states that the outlawing was to ‘weaponize’ the spent-fuel ponds. At the start of the nuclear age, the ponds were designed to be fail-safe. There was to be ONLY an amount of spent-fuel rods in each pond such that no circulation of water was needed to keep them sufficiently cool. No evaporation; no boil-off. Fail-safe in case of power loss. Also, with few-enough rods, there would be no ‘interaction’ effects, with one dry rod heating-up another, in case of catastrophic breaching of the pond wall.

          Now, with the fuel-cycle unclosed, each spent-fuel pond holds several times the rods it was designed-for. Still safe if the circulation-pumps are on, but a ‘dirty bomb’ if the power is off for long-enough. Or if the containment casing is breached. Multiply this situation times a hundred, across the nation.

          JS theorizes that the cancellation of thorium-cycle reactors was a deliberate act to create a ‘blackmail’ situation. He links the outlawing-decision back to a certain tiny, rogue, Middle East nation. ‘Freeze’ rods in place over decades. Create incipient dirty bombs. Then just hint, “Do what we say, or there could be an accident…”

          1. JS has also postulated nukes planted in city centres posing as art, say the spiders from mars.
            I am watching the original Twilight Zone series for the first time… very well crafted but it majors in Feudian wishful thinking and minors in real science fiction. Einstein vs The Germans.
            https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Christopher+Jon+Bjerknes+-+Warnings+from+the+Past
            I’d bet in any case that NASA chose not to put “for training purposes only” on the terrestial sim videos just to keep us guessing (and allowed many of their films to be destroyed and not made backups).
            And if there was a gigawatt ion propulsion system, could that not backfire to earth, ummm,,, by accident or intentionally? I’ve seen that movie too…

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