In this edition of The Space Show Randa Relich Milliron CEO of Interorbital Systems talks about the latest developments at the company which is developing a low-cost satellite launch capability using the Neptune rocket. She indicated the first launches will be sub-orbital.
A number of amateur radio CubeSats and TubeSats are planning to be launched by Interorbital. A launch manifest can be seen at http://www.interorbital.com/Launch%20Manifest%20Page%20_1.htm
Wes Faler also appears on the show. He has been building an Ion powered TubeSat for an Interorbital launch. Wes plans to use a closed cell foam filled with pressurized nitrogen, vaporizing the supporting plastic and releasing the enclosed nitrogen using a spark system similar to that used by Pulsed Plasma Thrusters (PPTs). PPTs create an arc across the face of a solid Teflon bar, turning a few micrograms of Teflon into plasma. The plasma moves along the PPT’s cathode and anode by Lorentz forces, much the same way that a rail gun accelerates its conducting projectile.
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Building An Ion Engine http://www.science20.com/satellite_diaries/building_ion_engine-81149
FRETS1 TubeSat http://frets1.wordpress.com/
Interorbital Systems http://www.interorbital.com/