CubeSat Rocket Thruster Is So Small It Has To Be Made Like Microchips

An anonymous reader quotes a report from New Atlas: Imperial College is developing a rocket thruster called the Iridium Catalysed Electrolysis CubeSat Thruster (ICE-Cube Thruster) that is so small that it can only be fabricated using techniques originally designed for making silicon chips. The entire thruster chip is about the length of a fingernail, with the combustion chamber and nozzle only measuring 1 mm long. It also requires only 20 watts of electric current to operate and in a test campaign generated 1.25 millinewtons of thrust at a specific impulse of 185 seconds on a sustained basis. To put that into perspective, that’s half a billion times less thrust than the engines used on the Space Shuttle.

However, the party trick of the ICE-Cube Thruster is that it uses ordinary water as its propellant, which is about as non-explosive and non-flammable as…

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