Encyclopedia Astronautica
Sert-I Mercury


NASA Cleveland electric/mercury rocket engine. 28 mN. Developed 1962-1964. Isp=4900s. 10 cm diameter mercury electron bombardment ion engine used on the first successful flight test of ion propulsion on a Scout X-4 launch vehicle.

The engine provided flow control via a boiler and a porous stainless steel plug. A hot tantalum wire was used as the discharge cathode. Beam and accelerator power supply voltages were 2500 V and 2000 V, respectively. The engine had a 1.4 kW power level with 28 mN of thrust at a specific impulse of about 4900 s. Ion beam neutralization was provided by a heated tantalum filament

Electrical Input Power: 1.40 kW.

Status: In Development, 1962-1964..
Thrust: 0.0280 N (0.0060 lbf).
Specific impulse: 4,900 s.
First Launch: 1964.

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Associated Countries
See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Scout X-4 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 2A + 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x Altair 2 More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
Associated Propellants
  • Electric/Mercury 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. Proposed as propellant for some ion motors. More...

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