A NASA ion engine has successfully completed more than five and a half years of continuous operation.


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A NASA ion engine has successfully completed more than five and a half years of continuous operation.

During the endurance test performed in a high vacuum test chamber at Glenn, the engine consumed about 1,918 pounds (870 kilograms) of xenon propellant, providing an amount of total impulse that would take more than 22,000 (10,000 kilograms) of conventional rocket propellant for comparable applications.

So, now what? Will this engineering achievement be filed away, like so many other past NASA engineering projects, or will it be used for something?

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