View Full Version : SMART-1 Fires its Ion Engine

2005-Sep-21, 03:13 PM
SUMMARY: The European Space Agency's SMART-1 spacecraft passed an important test on Tuesday when it started up its ion engine - the propulsion system that will take it to the Moon. Engineers at the ESA's control centre sent the spacecraft the command to test fire its engine for an hour, and they didn't encounter any problems. SMART-1 will use the ion engine to make bigger and bigger orbits around the Earth until it's caught by the gravity of the Moon. Then it will use the engine to make smaller orbits around the Moon until it's close enough to begin gathering science data about the surface.

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