Iodine Propulsion Systems Take Flight in Space

Iodine-based ion propulsion could power small satellites and help solve our space junk problem.
(Inside Science) — Right now, there is a unique spacecraft orbiting our planet. Its secret is the iodine propellant it uses to maneuver in space.
The spacecraft, launched in 2020, is a type of miniaturized satellite called a CubeSat, weighing about 45 pounds (20 kilograms), and it’s the first satellite to use iodine to convert electrical energy to ion propulsion.
The mission could pave the way for a new generation of smaller, cheaper spacecraft, according to a paper published today in the journal Nature.
More importantly, iodine fuel may …