Scope and Subject Category Guide logo

Subject Category Browse

Category Scope

20 Spacecraft Propulsion and Power

Includes main propulsion systems and components, e.g., rocket engines; and spacecraft auxiliary power sources. For related information see also 07 Aircraft Propulsion and Power; 28 Propellants and Fuels; 15 Launch Vehicles and Launch Operations; and 44 Energy Production and Conversion.


Spacecraft Propulsion – The action or process of imparting motion to a spacecraft by means of a force such as a thrust of air or energy released by burning fuel. NASA Thesaurus, Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Spacecraft Power Supplies – Sources of electrical energy, including batteries, generators, and energy conversion devices, that support the normal operation of spacecraft. NASA Thesaurus, Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

NASA Interest

Exhaustive Interest : All chemical, electric, magnetohydrodynamic, hybrid, or other types of energy conversion suitable for propulsion or stationkeeping of spacecraft, satellites, space probes, planetary probes, space stations, and lunar probes; and for use as auxiliary power sources for spacecraft; including liquid rocket engines, solid rocket engines, ion engines, plasma rocket engines, electric rocket engines, etc., including their components.

Selective Interest : Propulsion and mobile or stationary power sources for earthbound use or transportation, e.g., ship, locomotive, automobile, aircraft, and truck propulsion; mobile or stationary electric power plants, unless directly applicable to spacecraft use.


Input Subjects of Specific Interest

  • aerospike engines
  • arcjet rocket engines
  • attitude thrusters
  • auxiliary power systems (spacecraft)
  • auxiliary power units (APU) (spacecraft)
  • boosters (spacecraft)
  • chemical power sources (spacecraft)
  • chemical propulsion engines (spacecraft)
  • clustered rockets
  • combustion chambers (spacecraft)
  • combustors (spacecraft)
  • ejectors (spacecraft)
  • electric power systems (spacecraft)
  • electric power units (spacecraft)
  • electric propulsion systems (spacecraft)
  • electric rocket engines
  • electromagnetic propulsion (spacecraft)
  • electrostatic rocket engines
  • electrothermal rocket engines
  • fuel distribution pumps (spacecraft)
  • fuel distribution systems (spacecraft)
  • fuel injection systems (spacecraft)
  • fuel system components (spacecraft)
  • fuel systems (spacecraft)
  • fuel tanks (spacecraft)
  • hybrid propellant rocket engines
  • igniters (rocket engines)
  • ion engines
  • ion propulsion
  • ion rocket engines
  • laser propulsion
  • liquid propellant rocket engines
  • low thrust engines
  • magnetic sails
  • magnetohydrodynamic (MHO) power sources
  • magnetohydrodynamic (MHO) thrusters
  • main propulsion system components (spacecraft)
  • main propulsion systems (spacecraft)
  • multistage rockets
  • nozzles (spacecraft)
  • nuclear engines (spacecraft application)
  • nuclear power sources (spacecraft application)
  • nuclear propulsion systems (spacecraft application)
  • nuclear rocket engines
  • onboard solar arrays
  • onboard solar generators
  • plasma propulsion (spacecraft applications)
  • pneumatic systems (spacecraft propulsion and power)
  • propellant flow systems (spacecraft)
  • propellant injectors, pumps, and tanks (spacecraft)
  • propulsion system components (spacecraft)
  • propulsion systems (spacecraft)
  • pulsed plasma thrusters
  • pumps (spacecraft)
  • refueling in orbit
  • resistojet rocket engines
  • retrorockets
  • rocket engine design
  • rocket engine exhaust plumes
  • rocket engine noise
  • rocket engines (spacecraft)
  • rocket throttling systems
  • solar electric ion propulsion
  • solar electric propulsion
  • solar sails
  • solid propellant rocket engines
  • space power reactors (application)
  • spacecraft auxiliary power sources
  • spacecraft engine design
  • spacecraft hydraulic systems (power)
  • spacecraft pneumatic systems (power)
  • spacecraft power systems
  • spacecraft propulsion
  • spacecraft vehicle booster engines
  • systems for energy conversion (spacecraft)
  • thrust chambers (rocket engines)
  • thrust vector control devices (spacecraft)
  • turborocket engines (spacecraft)
  • vector control engines (spacecraft)
  • vernier engines (spacecraft)