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What is Spacecraft Thruster | What is Satellite Thruster, Functions

This page describes Spacecraft thruster or satellite thruster. It mentions functions of spacecraft thruster. It mentions mathematical equations and laws used in satellite thruster.

Thruster Definition:
The mechanism used in a spacecraft to produce thrust force with the help of various propulsion systems is known as spacecraft thruster. The principle is based on Newton's Law of Motion. This is depicted in the figure below with movement of spacecraft proportional to exhaust gas output.

Spacecraft thruster

The figure-1 is the example of Reaction Jets (Propulsion) which produces control force by the expenditure of mass.

Functions of Spacecraft Thruster

Following are the functions of spacecraft thruster device.
• It transfers the spacecraft into appropriate orbit or to other planets i.e. moon etc.
• It positions the spacecraft. Hence it is used for orbit control of the spacecraft.
• It orients the spacecraft and hence it is used for attitude control of spacecraft or satellite.

Mathematical equations and Laws used in Spacecraft Thruster

The working principle of satellite thruster is based on "Newton's Law of Motion". This is given in the equation-1 below.

Equation for thrust or force

The change in momentum of spacecraft equals change in momentum of expelled propellent. This is expressed in equation-2 below.

law of conservation of momentum

Thruster specific Impulse can be expressed in equation-3 below.

Thruster Specific Impulse

Above mathematical equations will help one understand principles of spacecraft thruster.

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