Encyclopedia Astronautica
ATS 5 cm


EOS electric/cesium rocket engine. 0.089 mN. Flown in 1968-1969. Isp=6700s. Thruster for the ATS-4 and ATS-5 tests; consisted of two contact ionization engines using cesium propellant.

The thruster anode diameter was 5 cm, and an Yttrium-doped tungsten neutralizer was used. Beam power supply voltage was 3000 V, and the power per thruster was 0.02 kW, producing 0.089 mN thrust at a specific impulse of 6700 seconds. About 0.05 kg of propellant was carried. The longest ground test prior to launch was 2245 hours, and on ATS-4 the thruster operated for about 10 hours (however the test was terminated early because the satellite was put in a useless short-life parking orbit). This was the first successful orbital test of an ion engine, and no electromagnetic interference with satellite subsystems was detected. The second attempted test, on ATS-5, could not be conducted because of a 4G spacecraft spin which could not be damped.

Electrical Input Power: 0.0200 kW.

Status: Flown in 1968-1969..
Thrust: 0.0089 N (0.0020 lbf).
Specific impulse: 6,700 s.
First Launch: 1966-1969.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • EOS Electro-Optical Systems, Queanbeyan, NSW, Australia. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Electric/Cesium The many versions of electric engines use electric or magnetic fields to accelerate ionized elements to high velocity, creating thrust. The power source can be a nuclear reactor or thermal-electric generator, or solar panels. More...

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