[amsat-bb] Water as Primary Method of Spacecraft Propulsion

John Toscano tosca005 at umn.edu
Sun Jun 25 20:47:24 UTC 2017

Thanks for the links to two articles. They were both interesting, and the
33-year-old magazine issue was also fascinating in its entirety.
Unfortunately, neither one was sufficiently detailed to allow one to build
a water-propulsion system by "following a blueprint". I wonder if the
Cornell Cube Quest Challenge (CQC) submission is in the public domain and
accessible through the Internet? That would also make for fascinating

I guess I have an ulterior motive, as I am a member of the AMSAT ASCENT
program who is struggling to make some meaningful contributions to the
Ragnarok/AMSAT entry in the CQC. Our satellite had been planning to use a
donated thruster but the donation promise was just rescinded because the
vendor found an earlier flight on which they could put their design to the
test to get flight history that would help them sell copies of the thruster
to future customers.

In case anyone is wondering why we still care, since our submission didn't
win one of the top three positions with a guaranteed launch as part of the
CQC competition, we are still hoping to get an affordable launch by other
means, and get into a HEO if not into a full lunar orbit for the CQC
competition. And if one of the top 3 CQC winners is unable to get their
satellite ready in time and we have a viable satellite ready to go, we
could still get a ride on the CQC launch. And in any case, we want to
continue to innovate for whatever satellite opportunities evolve in the

John P. Toscano, W0JT/5
AMSAT-NA Life Member

On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 9:25 AM, Davidoff, Martin R. <MDAVIDOFF at ccbcmd.edu>

> NASA has just awarded a launch and a construction grant to Cornell
> University for a CubeSat designed to orbit the moon.  Launch is scheduled
> for 2019.  The core spacecraft technology involves a water electrolysis
> propulsion thruster which Cornell has been working on since 2009.
> http://cornellsun.com/2017/06/22/nasa-to-send-cornell-
> groups-satellite-into-space/
> Makes me recall an article I read many years ago ...
> J. King, "Using Water as a Primary Method of Propulsion for Spacecraft
> Modifying Standard STS Orbits," Orbit, no. 19, Nov/Dec 1984, pp 5-8.
> This article is available at
> http://www.ka9q.net/AMSAT-ORBIT-19.pdf
> (Thank you Phil!)
> Martin Davidoff, K2UBC
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