Overview of ion thruster operation. In an ion thruster, ions are accelerated by electrostatic forces. The electric fields used for acceleration are generated by electrodes positioned at the downstream end of the thruster.
Print Your Own Working Ion Thruster Spacecraft Engine
ESA test-fires radical 'air-breathing' electric ion thruster
ESA test-fires radical ‘air-breathing’ ion thruster that could keep satellites in low orbit for YEARS without propellant - ESA's incredible ‘air-breathing’ thruster can pull molecules from the upper atmosphere, meaning satellites equipped with the technology could operate in very low orbits for long periods of time.
On Monday, NASA announced that its advanced ion propulsion engine operated for hours, or five and a half years, giving it the record for the longest test duration of any type of space propulsion system.
This Futuristic Ion Thruster Will Take a Mission to Mercury