The Space Technology Mission Directorate thrust GO is tasked to develop rapid, safe, and efficient space transportation.

In this thrust, you will learn about the technologies that will take us back to the moon and on to Mars. The go thrust includes nuclear systems, cryogenic fluid management, and advanced propulsion.

Chemical and Electric Propulsion provides the thrusts to move vehicles through space. There are two broad categories of propulsion systems – electric and chemical. Dr. Joshua Rovey explains these two types of propulsion in this video.

More information on Chemical and Electric Propulsion can be found here from the Glenn Research Center.

Learn more about Dr. Rovey here.

Rocket Propulsion chart.

“Chemical Propulsion Systems – Glenn Research Center.” NASA, NASA, 1 June 2021, https://www1.grc.nasa.gov/research-and-engineering/chemical-propulsion-systems/.

Cryogenic Fluid Management is a cross-cutting technology suite that supports multiple forms of propulsion systems.

More information on Cryogenic Fluid Management.

Learn more about John Dankavich here.

Advanced Propulsion technologies are important to support future NASA missions. Review the video for an overview of propulsion technology for future space exploration from Dr. Ronald Litchford.

Nuclear Propulsion is a technology that can provide high thrust for crewed missions to Mars. Find out more information on Nuclear Thermal Propulsion from the Glenn Research Center.

Read more about how Nuclear Propulsion Could Help Get Humans to Mars Faster here.

Propellantless Propulsion: Solar and Drag Sail Technologies

David Carroll from CU Aerospace discusses propellantless propulsion and drag sail technologies.

Future of Propulsion (Advanced Energetic Propulsion) This first video is a brief overview of Limitless Space Institute.

Dr. Sonny White from the Limitless Space Institute discusses the future of propulsion and human exploration beyond our solar system.

Learn more about Dr. White here.

Please Note: Transcripts are only available on the Illinois Space Tech Academy videos. These videos also have closed captioning available in English and Spanish.

Check Your Understanding

Q1 : True/False All of the challenges for in-space transportation are addressed in the Advanced Propulsion plan and the Cryogenic Fluid management plan.
Q2 : How might the use of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion benefit Mars missions?
Q3 : Which type of mission is ideal for using Chemical Propulsion?
Q4 : Which is not a current propulsion option for crewed Mars Transport?
Q5 : How large are the blades on an Ultrasail?

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