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ESA has test fired a radical electric thruster that draws its propellant from thin air.

The incredible ‘air-breathing’ thruster can pull molecules from the upper atmosphere, meaning satellites equipped with the technology could operate in very low orbits for long periods of time.

In a world-first, the team fired up the device in a vacuum chamber, simulating how it would perform at an altitude of 200 kilometers (124 miles).

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Category: Science