Page last updated at 22:33 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

Gravity satellite's cruise control

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Europe's Goce satellite will measure Earth's gravity field with unprecedented precision. To make its fine measurements, the spacecraft needs to be ultra-stable and uses a form of cruise control.

Its ion engine can throttle up and down in tiny steps. Qinetiq's Neil Wallace reveals how these remarkable propulsion systems are tested.

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