P3_6 Can an Ion Thruster Prevent ISS Orbital Decay?

Max Harvey, Ben Harding, Jack Acton, Ricky Kneebone


We propose the use of an ion thruster to counteract the effect of orbital decay on the International Space Station. Based on ISS altitude data, we calculate the drag force on the station to be 0.07 N. Consequentially, an ion thruster operating at 1 kW and consuming 9 kg of Xe fuel per month is sufficient to counteract this. The feasibility of such a method is considered.

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