Russian cosmonauts will conduct experiments on the research of electric propulsion engines on the ISS, which use iodine as the working medium, writes RIA Novosti . Such tests have never been conducted in a real space flight. According to the experts of TsNIImash, such engines can become the most popular among space propulsion systems in just three to five years.
Now in electric rocket engines xenon is used, which, possessing energy advantages, is expensive and is mined in small quantities – about 20 tons per year. In addition, the production technology of xenon engines is quite complicated and expensive.
“To develop the electric jet propulsion system of the megawatt level, the costs for the pumping system alone will exceed one billion rubles. Therefore, the use of ERD iodine as a working body is of great practical interest , ”noted in TsNIIMash.