Game Changer: A Breath of Fresh Air: Air-Scooping Electric Propulsion in Very Low Earth Orbit

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Synopsis

Air-scooping electric propulsion (ASEP) is a game-changing concept that extends the lifetime of very low Earth orbit (VLEO) satellites by providing periodic reboosting to maintain orbital altitudes. The ASEP concept consists of a solar array-powered space vehicle augmented with electric propulsion (EP) while utilizing ambient air as a propellant. If air-scooping electric propulsion (ASEP) satellites can overcome a variety of technological challenges and survive the corrosive VLEO atmosphere, they will be bona fide game-changers, offering both economic and operational advantages certain to transform lower-altitude orbital slots into prime real estate to support a range of long duration missions.

Authors: Karen Jones, Rostislav Spektor