19 August 2013
ISS astronauts are testing a Resonant Inductive Near-field Generation System (RINGS) propulsion system inside the space station. It uses magnetic fields instead of propellants to move spacecraft as a way to increase service life and make satellite formation flying more practical. The system uses magnets and reaction wheels to allow spacecraft in formation to move, change attitude, and spin. While electromagnetic formation flight has many potential benefits, it also will require superconducting wires, high-velocity reaction wheels, cryogenic cooling, and other critical technologies to be developed before they become practical. (Image Credit: NASA)
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