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New Research Explores Helium-Propelled Microwave Thruster

A computational study on a microwave electrothermal thruster (MET) using helium as propellant shows promising results for space propulsion. This type of thruster heats helium using microwave energy, leading to higher speeds and efficiency compared to traditional methods. The study highlights the importance of carefully managing power and helium flow to achieve optimal performance, with the thruster showing a notable increase in thrust and efficiency when conditions are ideal. However, higher power settings can lead to losses due to heat escaping, emphasising the need for balance in power usage. Helium is used extensively in space launches for rocket engine purging and we believe that its usage will continue to increase in the coming decade with the growing number of space launches.

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