French engineers launched an iodine-powered satellite into space The Europulse website notes that xenon is usually used as fuel for ion engines. But xenon needs large tanks, a pressure control system and other equipment, which increases its weight and the cost of its production and use. And iodine, a substance that is cheap and easy to store.
According to experts, iodine is economical by 50 percent compared to xenon. Because the engine can hold more fuel, the satellite could theoretically return to Earth after its service life (now left in orbit), which means there will be less space debris.
At the moment, scientists have already conducted 11 tests at an altitude of 480 kilometers. They were all successful.