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Sample records for plasma propulsion facility

  1. A tandem mirror hybrid plume plasma propulsion facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yang, T. F.; Krueger, W. A.; Peng, S.; Urbahn, J.; Chang-Diaz, F. R.

    1988-01-01

    This paper discusses a novel concept in electrodeless plasma propulsion, in which the materials problems are ameliorated by an electrodeless magnetic confinement scheme borrowed from the tandem mirror approach to controlled thermonuclear fusion. The concept also features a two-stage magnetic nozzle with an annular hypersonic coaxial gas injector near the throat. The nozzle produces hybrid plume by the coaxial injection of hypersonic neutral gas, and the gas layer thus formed protects the material walls from the hot plasma and, through increased collisions, helps detach it from the diverging magnetic field. The tandem mirror plasma propulsion facility is capable of delivering a variable I(sp). The results of numerical simulation of this concept are presented together with those from an experimental tandem-mirror plasma propulsion device.

  2. A tandem mirror hybrid plume plasma propulsion facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chang-Diaz, F. R.; Yang, T. F.; Krueger, W. A.; Peng, S.; Urbahn, J.; Yao, X.; Griffin, D.

    1988-01-01

    A concept in electrodeless plasma propulsion, which is also capable of delivering a variable Isp, is presented. The concept involves a three-stage system of plasma injection, heating, and subsequent ejection through a magnetic nozzle. The nozzle produces the hybrid plume by the coaxial injection of hypersonic neutral gas. The gas layer, thus formed, protects the material walls from the hot plasma and, through increased collisions, helps detach it from the diverging magnetic field. The physics of this concept is evaluated numerically through full spatial and temporal simulations; these explore the operating characteristics of such a device over a wide region of parameter space. An experimental facility to study the plasma dynamics in the hybrid plume was built. The device consists of a tandem mirror operating in an asymmetric mode. A later upgrade of this system will incorporate a cold plasma injector at one end of the machine. Initial experiments involve the full characterization of the operating envelope, as well as extensive measurements of plasma properties at the exhaust. The results of the numerical simulations are described.

  3. Plasmas for space propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ahedo, Eduardo

    2011-12-01

    Plasma thrusters are challenging the monopoly of chemical thrusters in space propulsion. The specific energy that can be deposited into a plasma beam is orders of magnitude larger than the specific chemical energy of known fuels. Plasma thrusters constitute a vast family of devices ranging from already commercial thrusters to incipient laboratory prototypes. Figures of merit in plasma propulsion are discussed. Plasma processes and conditions differ widely from one thruster to another, with the pre-eminence of magnetized, weakly collisional plasmas. Energy is imparted to the plasma via either energetic electron injection, biased electrodes or electromagnetic irradiation. Plasma acceleration can be electrothermal, electrostatic or electromagnetic. Plasma-wall interaction affects energy deposition and erosion of thruster elements, and thus is central for thruster efficiency and lifetime. Magnetic confinement and magnetic nozzles are present in several devices. Oscillations and turbulent transport are intrinsic to the performances of some thrusters. Several thrusters are selected in order to discuss these relevant plasma phenomena.

  4. Electromagnetic propulsion test facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gooder, S. T.

    1984-01-01

    A test facility for the exploration of electromagnetic propulsion concept is described. The facility is designed to accommodate electromagnetic rail accelerators of various lengths (1 to 10 meters) and to provide accelerating energies of up to 240 kiloJoules. This accelerating energy is supplied as a current pulse of hundreds of kiloAmps lasting as long as 1 millisecond. The design, installation, and operating characteristics of the pulsed energy system are discussed. The test chamber and its operation at pressures down to 1300 Pascals (10 mm of mercury) are described. Some aspects of safety (interlocking, personnel protection, and operating procedures) are included.

  5. Megawatt Electromagnetic Plasma Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gilland, James; Lapointe, Michael; Mikellides, Pavlos

    2003-01-01

    The NASA Glenn Research Center program in megawatt level electric propulsion is centered on electromagnetic acceleration of quasi-neutral plasmas. Specific concepts currently being examined are the Magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster and the Pulsed Inductive Thruster (PIT). In the case of the MPD thruster, a multifaceted approach of experiments, computational modeling, and systems-level models of self field MPD thrusters is underway. The MPD thruster experimental research consists of a 1-10 MWe, 2 ms pulse-forming-network, a vacuum chamber with two 32 diffusion pumps, and voltage, current, mass flow rate, and thrust stand diagnostics. Current focus is on obtaining repeatable thrust measurements of a Princeton Benchmark type self field thruster operating at 0.5-1 gls of argon. Operation with hydrogen is the ultimate goal to realize the increased efficiency anticipated using the lighter gas. Computational modeling is done using the MACH2 MHD code, which can include real gas effects for propellants of interest to MPD operation. The MACH2 code has been benchmarked against other MPD thruster data, and has been used to create a point design for a 3000 second specific impulse (Isp) MPD thruster. This design is awaiting testing in the experimental facility. For the PIT, a computational investigation using MACH2 has been initiated, with experiments awaiting further funding. Although the calculated results have been found to be sensitive to the initial ionization assumptions, recent results have agreed well with experimental data. Finally, a systems level self-field MPD thruster model has been developed that allows for a mission planner or system designer to input Isp and power level into the model equations and obtain values for efficiency, mass flow rate, and input current and voltage. This model emphasizes algebraic simplicity to allow its incorporation into larger trajectory or system optimization codes. The systems level approach will be extended to the pulsed inductive

  6. Solar Thermal Propulsion Test Facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    Researchers at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) have designed, fabricated and tested the first solar thermal engine, a non-chemical rocket engine that produces lower thrust but has better thrust efficiency than a chemical combustion engine. MSFC turned to solar thermal propulsion in the early 1990s due to its simplicity, safety, low cost, and commonality with other propulsion systems. Solar thermal propulsion works by acquiring and redirecting solar energy to heat a propellant. This photograph, taken at MSFC's Solar Thermal Propulsion Test Facility, shows a concentrator mirror, a combination of 144 mirrors forming this 18-ft diameter concentrator, and a vacuum chamber that houses the focal point. The 20- by 24-ft heliostat mirror (not shown in this photograph) has a dual-axis control that keeps a reflection of the sunlight on the 18-foot diameter concentrator mirror, which then focuses the sunlight to a 4-in focal point inside the vacuum chamber. The focal point has 10 kilowatts of intense solar power. As part of MSFC's Space Transportation Directorate, the Propulsion Research Center serves as a national resource for research of advanced, revolutionary propulsion technologies. The mission is to move the Nation's capabilities beyond the confines of conventional chemical propulsion into an era of aircraft-like access to Earth-orbit, rapid travel throughout the solar system, and exploration of interstellar space.

  7. Theory for Plasma Rocket Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grabbe, Crockett

    2009-11-01

    Electrical propulsion of rockets is developing potentially into the use of 3 different thrusters for future long-distance space missions that primarily involve plasma dynamics. These are the Magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) Thruster, the Plasma Induction Thruster (PID), and the VASIMIR Thruster. The history of the development of electrical propulsion into these prospects and the current research of particularly the VASIMIR Thruster are reviewed. Theoretical questions that need to be addressed in that development are explored.

  8. Solar Thermal Propulsion Test Facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    Researchers at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) have designed, fabricated, and tested the first solar thermal engine, a non-chemical rocket engine that produces lower thrust but has better thrust efficiency than a chemical combustion engine. MSFC turned to solar thermal propulsion in the early 1990s due to its simplicity, safety, low cost, and commonality with other propulsion systems. Solar thermal propulsion works by acquiring and redirecting solar energy to heat a propellant. This photograph shows a fully assembled solar thermal engine placed inside the vacuum chamber at the test facility prior to testing. The 20- by 24-ft heliostat mirror (not shown in this photograph) has a dual-axis control that keeps a reflection of the sunlight on the 18-ft diameter concentrator mirror, which then focuses the sunlight to a 4-in focal point inside the vacuum chamber. The focal point has 10 kilowatts of intense solar power. As part of MSFC's Space Transportation Directorate, the Propulsion Research Center serves as a national resource for research of advanced, revolutionary propulsion technologies. The mission is to move theNation's capabilities beyond the confines of conventional chemical propulsion into an era of aircraft-like access to Earth orbit, rapid travel throughout the solar system, and exploration of interstellar space.

  9. Test facilities for high power electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sovey, James S.; Vetrone, Robert H.; Grisnik, Stanley P.; Myers, Roger M.; Parkes, James E.

    1991-01-01

    Electric propulsion has applications for orbit raising, maneuvering of large space systems, and interplanetary missions. These missions involve propulsion power levels from tenths to tens of megawatts, depending upon the application. General facility requirements for testing high power electric propulsion at the component and thrust systems level are defined. The characteristics and pumping capabilities of many large vacuum chambers in the United States are reviewed and compared with the requirements for high power electric propulsion testing.

  10. A fusion based plasma propulsion system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    George, J. A.; Anderson, B.; Bryant, D.; Creese, C.; Djordjevic, V.; Peddicord, K. L.

    1987-01-01

    The Fusion Plasma Propulsion System scoping study was performed to investigate the possibilities of a fusion powered plasma propulsion system for space applications. Specifically, it was to be compared against existing electric propulsion concepts for a manned Mars mission. Design parameters consist of 1000 N thrust for 500 days, and the minimum mass possible. This investigation is briefly presented and conclusions drawn.

  11. Plasma propulsion for space applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fruchtman, Amnon

    2000-04-01

    The various mechanisms for plasma acceleration employed in electric propulsion of space vehicles will be described. Special attention will be given to the Hall thruster. Electric propulsion utilizes electric and magnetic fields to accelerate a propellant to a much higher velocity than chemical propulsion does, and, as a result, the required propellant mass is reduced. Because of limitations on electric power density, electric thrusters will be low thrust engines compared with chemical rockets. The large jet velocity and small thrust of electric thrusters make them most suitable for space applications such as station keeping of GEO communication satellites, low orbit drag compensation, orbit raising and interplanetary missions. The acceleration in the thruster is either thermal, electrostatic or electromagnetic. The arcjet is an electrothermal device in which the propellant is heated by an electric arc and accelerated while passing through a supersonic nozzle to a relatively low velocity. In the Pulsed Plasma Thruster a solid propellant is accelerated by a magnetic field pressure in a way that is similar in principle to pulsed acceleration of plasmas in other, very different devices, such as the railgun or the plasma opening switch. Magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters also employ magnetic field pressure for the acceleration but with a reasonable efficiency at high power only. In an ion thruster ions are extracted from a plasma through a double grid structure. Ion thrusters provide a high jet velocity but the thrust density is low due to space-charge limitations. The Hall thruster, which in recent years has enjoyed impressive progress, employs a quasi-neutral plasma, and therefore is not subject to a space-charge limit on the current. An applied radial magnetic field impedes the mobility of the electrons so that the applied potential drops across a large region inside the plasma. Methods for separately controlling the profiles of the electric and the magnetic fields will

  12. High Energy Plasma Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wu, S. T.

    2000-01-01

    In order to meet NASA's challenge on advanced concept activity in the propulsion area, we initiated a new program entitled "High Energy Plasma Space Propulsion Studies" within the current cooperative agreement in 1998. The goals of this work are to gain further understanding of the engine of the AIMStar spacecraft, a concept which was developed at Penn State University, and to develop a prototype concept for the engine. The AIMStar engine concept was developed at Penn State University several years ago as a hybrid between antimatter and fusion technologies. Because of limited amounts of antimatter available, and concurrently the demonstrated ability for antiprotons to efficiently ignite nuclear fusion reactions, it was felt that this was a very good match. Investigations have been made concerning the performance of the reaction trap. This is a small Penning-like electromagnetic trap, which is used to simultaneously confine antiprotons and fusion fuels. Small DHe3 or DT droplets, containing a few percent molar of a fissile material, are injected into the trap, filled with antiprotons. We have found that it is important to separate the antiprotons into two adjacent wells, to inject he droplet between them and to simultaneously bring the antiprotons to the center of the trap, surrounding the droplet. Our previous concept had the droplet falling onto one cloud of antiprotons. This proved to be inefficient, as the droplet tended to evaporate away from the cloud as it interacted on its surface.

  13. Solar Thermal Propulsion Test Facility at MSFC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    This photograph shows an overall view of the Solar Thermal Propulsion Test Facility at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). The 20-by 24-ft heliostat mirror, shown at the left, has dual-axis control that keeps a reflection of the sunlight on an 18-ft diameter concentrator mirror (right). The concentrator mirror then focuses the sunlight to a 4-in focal point inside the vacuum chamber, shown at the front of concentrator mirror. Researchers at MSFC have designed, fabricated, and tested the first solar thermal engine, a non-chemical rocket engine that produces lower thrust but has better thrust efficiency than chemical a combustion engine. MSFC turned to solar thermal propulsion in the early 1990s due to its simplicity, safety, low cost, and commonality with other propulsion systems. Solar thermal propulsion works by acquiring and redirecting solar energy to heat a propell nt. As part of MSFC's Space Transportation Directorate, the Propulsion Research Center serves as a national resource for research of advanced, revolutionary propulsion technologies. The mission is to move the Nation's capabilities beyond the confines of conventional chemical propulsion into an era of aircraft-like access to Earth-orbit, rapid travel throughout the solar system, and exploration of interstellar space.

  14. Recent Advances in Plasma Propulsion for Spacecraft

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choueiri, E. Y.

    1998-11-01

    Three decades of research on plasma propulsion for spacecraft have led to a level of maturity that has recently ushered in the era of application. Over the past few years, due to their ability to insure great mass savings over chemical propulsion, plasma propulsion devices (thrusters) have been used (or selected for use) on spacecraft for missions ranging from stationkeeping, drag compensation, attitude control and pointing, orbit raising and repositioning, to primary propulsion for interplanetary missions. Plasma thrusters have also been used as plasma sources in space for active space physics experiments and in the laboratory as plasma sources for reentry simulation, plasma processing and plasma injection in fusion devices. We will review research in the field, focusing on the plasma physics problems related to three classes of plasma thrusters: the Hall thruster (HT), the pulsed plasma thruster (PPT) and the magnetoplasmadynamic thruster (MPDT). The basic plasma acceleration and power loss mechanisms in each of these devices will be described along with the major plasma physics problems that control the thrust efficiency, stability and lifetime of these devices. We will review the recent advances and remaining questions relevant to the following important problems: macro and micro instabilities and turbulence, anomalous transport, ionization physics, plume divergence (HT and MPDT), current sheet dynamics and permeability (PPT).

  15. TOPICAL REVIEW: Plasmas for spacecraft propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Charles, C.

    2009-08-01

    This review presents the basics of plasma discharges applied to electric spacecraft propulsion. It briefly reports on the mature and flown technologies of gridded ion thrusters and Hall thrusters before exploring the recent yet immature technology of plasma thrusters based on expansion from low pressure high density inductively coupled and wave-excited plasma sources, e.g. the radiofrequency helicon source. Prototype development of plasma engines for future space travel is discussed using the example of the helicon double layer thruster. A summary of highlights in electric propulsion based space missions gives some insight into the challenges of future high power missions in more remote regions of space.

  16. Nuclear electric propulsion development and qualification facilities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dutt, D. S.; Thomassen, K.; Sovey, J.; Fontana, Mario

    1991-01-01

    This paper summarizes the findings of a Tri-Agency panel consisting of members from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) that were charged with reviewing the status and availability of facilities to test components and subsystems for megawatt-class nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems. The facilities required to support development of NEP are available in NASA centers, DOE laboratories, and industry. However, several key facilities require significant and near-term modification in order to perform the testing required to meet a 2014 launch date. For the higher powered Mars cargo and piloted missions, the priority established for facility preparation is: (1) a thruster developmental testing facility, (2) a thruster lifetime testing facility, (3) a dynamic energy conversion development and demonstration facility, and (4) an advanced reactor testing facility (if required to demonstrate an advanced multiwatt power system). Facilities to support development of the power conditioning and heat rejection subsystems are available in industry, federal laboratories, and universities. In addition to the development facilities, a new preflight qualifications and acceptance testing facility will be required to support the deployment of NEP systems for precursor, cargo, or piloted Mars missions. Because the deployment strategy for NEP involves early demonstration missions, the demonstration of the SP-100 power system is needed by the early 2000's.

  17. Nuclear electric propulsion development and qualification facilities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutt, D. S.; Thomassen, K.; Sovey, J.; Fontana, Mario

    1991-11-01

    This paper summarizes the findings of a Tri-Agency panel consisting of members from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) that were charged with reviewing the status and availability of facilities to test components and subsystems for megawatt-class nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems. The facilities required to support development of NEP are available in NASA centers, DOE laboratories, and industry. However, several key facilities require significant and near-term modification in order to perform the testing required to meet a 2014 launch date. For the higher powered Mars cargo and piloted missions, the priority established for facility preparation is: (1) a thruster developmental testing facility, (2) a thruster lifetime testing facility, (3) a dynamic energy conversion development and demonstration facility, and (4) an advanced reactor testing facility (if required to demonstrate an advanced multiwatt power system). Facilities to support development of the power conditioning and heat rejection subsystems are available in industry, federal laboratories, and universities. In addition to the development facilities, a new preflight qualifications and acceptance testing facility will be required to support the deployment of NEP systems for precursor, cargo, or piloted Mars missions. Because the deployment strategy for NEP involves early demonstration missions, the demonstration of the SP-100 power system is needed by the early 2000's.

  18. Nuclear electric propulsion development and qualification facilities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutt, Dale; Thomassen, Keith; Sovey, Jim; Fontana, Mario

    1992-01-01

    This paper summarizes the findings of a Tri-Agency panel; consisting of members from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); charged with reviewing the status and availability of facilities to test components and subsystems for megawatt-class nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems. The facilities required to support development of NEP are available in NASA centers, DOE laboratories, and industry. However, several key facilities require significant and near-term modification in order to perform the testing required to meet a 2014 launch date. For the higher powered Mars cargo and piloted missions, the priority established for facility preparation is: (1 thruster developmental testing facility, (2 thruster lifetime testing facility, (3 dynamic energy conversion development and demonstration facility, and (4 advanced reactor testing facility (if required to demonstrate an advanced multiwatt power system). Facilities to support development of the power conditioning and heat rejection subsystems are available in industry, federal laboratories, and universities. In addition to the development facilities, a new preflight qualification and acceptance testing facility will be required to support the deployment of NEP systems for precursor, cargo, or piloted Mars missions. Because the deployment strategy for NEP involves early demonstration missions, the demonstration of the SP-100 power system is needed by the early 2000s.

  19. Nuclear Powered Laser Driven Plasma Propulsion System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kammash, T.

    A relativistic plasma thruster that could open up the solar system to near-term human exploration is presented. It is based on recent experimental and theoretical research, which show that ultrafast (very short pulse length) lasers can accelerate charged particles to relativistic speeds. In table top-type experiments charge-neutral proton beams containing more than 1014 particles with mean energies of tens of MeV's have been produced when high intensity lasers with femtosecond (10-15 s) pulse lengths are made to strike thin solid targets. When viewed from a propulsion standpoint such systems can produce specific impulses of several million seconds albeit at modest thrusts and require nuclear power systems to drive them. Several schemes are proposed to enhance the thrust and make these systems suitable for manned interplanetary missions. In this paper we set forth the physics principles that make relativistic plasma driven by ultrafast lasers particularly attractive for propulsion applications. We introduce the “Laser Accelerated Plasma Propulsion System” LAPPS, and demonstrate its potential propulsive capability by addressing an interstellar mission to the Oort Cloud, and a planetary mission to Mars. We show that the first can be carried out in a human's lifetime and the second in a matter of months. In both instances we identify the major technological problems that must be addressed if this system is to evolve into a leading contender among the advance propulsion concepts currently under consideration.

  20. The Potential for Ambient Plasma Wave Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gilland, James H.; Williams, George J.

    2016-01-01

    A truly robust space exploration program will need to make use of in-situ resources as much as possible to make the endeavor affordable. Most space propulsion concepts are saddled with one fundamental burden; the propellant needed to produce momentum. The most advanced propulsion systems currently in use utilize electric and/or magnetic fields to accelerate ionized propellant. However, significant planetary exploration missions in the coming decades, such as the now canceled Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter, are restricted by propellant mass and propulsion system lifetimes, using even the most optimistic projections of performance. These electric propulsion vehicles are inherently limited in flexibility at their final destination, due to propulsion system wear, propellant requirements, and the relatively low acceleration of the vehicle. A few concepts are able to utilize the environment around them to produce thrust: Solar or magnetic sails and, with certain restrictions, electrodynamic tethers. These concepts focus primarily on using the solar wind or ambient magnetic fields to generate thrust. Technically immature, quasi-propellantless alternatives lack either the sensitivity or the power to provide significant maneuvering. An additional resource to be considered is the ambient plasma and magnetic fields in solar and planetary magnetospheres. These environments, such as those around the Sun or Jupiter, have been shown to host a variety of plasma waves. Plasma wave propulsion takes advantage of an observed astrophysical and terrestrial phenomenon: Alfven waves. These are waves that propagate in the plasma and magnetic fields around and between planets and stars. The generation of Alfven waves in ambient magnetic and plasma fields to generate thrust is proposed as a truly propellantless propulsion system which may enable an entirely new matrix of exploration missions. Alfven waves are well known, transverse electromagnetic waves that propagate in magnetized plasmas at

  1. Plasma ignition for laser propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Askew, R. F.

    1982-01-01

    For a specific optical system a pulsed carbon dioxide laser having an energy output of up to 15 joules was used to initiate a plasma in air at one atmosphere pressure. The spatial and temporal development of the plasma were measured using a multiframe image converter camera. In addition the time dependent velocity of the laser supported plasma front which moves opposite to the direction of the laser pulse was measured in order to characterize the type of wavefront developed. Reliable and reproducible spark initiation was achieved. The lifetime of the highly dense plasma at the initial focal spot was determined to be less than 100 nanoseconds. The plasma front propagates toward the laser at a variable speed ranging from zero to 1.6 x 1,000,000 m/sec. The plasma front propagates for a total distance of approximately five centimeters for the energy and laser pulse shape employed.

  2. The Challenges of High-Power Plasma Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang-Diaz, Franklin

    2004-11-01

    Our future space explorers face many challenges but three loom high above the rest: physiological debilitation, radiation and psychological stress. Counter-measures are presently being considered to ameliorate these difficulties; however, two new developments are required: abundant space power and advanced propulsion. Also, electric propulsion, long relegated to low-power thrusters, has been reinvigorated by interest in multi-megawatt plasma propulsion. One rapidly evolving concept, the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR,) borrows heavily from magnetic fusion research, particularly on RF plasma generation and heating in mirror-like geometries. Axial momentum is obtained by expansion of the plasma in a magnetic nozzle. The configuration could enable thrust and specific impulse variation, at constant power, allowing in-flight mission performance optimization. VASIMR technology, and similar others, could be validated, in the near term, on the International Space Station, where they can benefit from a container-less environment and virtually infinite vacuum. The experiments could also help re-boost the orbital facility. This paper describes the advantages and operational motivation for high-power plasma rockets, illustrated through the VASIMR research effort.

  3. An electric propulsion long term test facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Trump, G.; James, E.; Vetrone, R.; Bechtel, R.

    1979-01-01

    An existing test facility was modified to provide for extended testing of multiple electric propulsion thruster subsystems. A program to document thruster subsystem characteristics as a function of time is currently in progress. The facility is capable of simultaneously operating three 2.7-kW, 30-cm mercury ion thrusters and their power processing units. Each thruster is installed via a separate air lock so that it can be extended into the 7m x 10m main chamber without violating vacuum integrity. The thrusters exhaust into a 3m x 5m frozen mercury target. An array of cryopanels collect sputtered target material. Power processor units are tested in an adjacent 1.5m x 2m vacuum chamber or accompanying forced convection enclosure. The thruster subsystems and the test facility are designed for automatic unattended operation with thruster operation computer controlled. Test data are recorded by a central data collection system scanning 200 channels of data a second every two minutes. Results of the Systems Demonstration Test, a short shakedown test of 500 hours, and facility performance during the first year of testing are presented.

  4. Electric propulsion using ion-ion plasmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aanesland, A.; Meige, A.; Chabert, P.

    2009-04-01

    Recently, we have proposed to use both positive and negative ions for thrust in an electromagnetic space propulsion system. This concept is called PEGASES for Plasma Propulsion with Electronegative GASES and has been patented by the Ecole Polytechnique in France in 2007. The basic idea is to create a stratified plasma with an electron free (ion-ion plasma) region at the periphery of a highly ionized plasma core such that both positive and negative ions can be extracted and accelerated to provide thrust. As the extracted beam is globally neutral there is no need for a downstream neutralizer. The recombination of positive and negative ions is very efficient and will result in a fast recombination downstream of the thruster and hence there is no creation of a plasma plume downstream. The first PEGASES prototype, designed in 2007, has recently been installed in a small vacuum chamber for preliminary tests in our laboratory and the first results have been presented in several conferences. This paper reviews important work that has been used in the process of designing the first PEGASES prototype.

  5. PEGASES - plasma propulsion with electronegative gases

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aanesland, Ane; Chabert, Pascal; Leray, Gary; Meige, Albert; Raimbault, Jean-Luc

    2008-10-01

    A new concept of plasma propulsion is proposed, where the thrust is provided by both positive and negative ions resulting in a globally neutral beam downstream (in space). The basic idea is to create an ion-ion plasma (electron free region) at the periphery of a highly ionised plasma core such that positive and negative ions can be extracted either simultaneously or alternately by dc biased extractor grids. As the extracted beam is globally neutral there is no need for a neutralizer downstream. The recombination of positive and negative ions is very efficient compared to ion electron recombination. Hence, a fast recombination downstream of the thruster is expected, suppressing the common problems of a downstream plasma behind the thrusters. The ion-ion plasma region is formed in the periphery of a moderately magnetized plasma where the electrons are confined along the magnetic field lines while the ions are not: The applied magnetic field therefore acts as an electron filterer resulting in a stratified plasma with an electro-positive core (electrons and ions) and an ion-ion plasma (electron free) at the periphery. The propellant has to be a strongly electronegative gas in order to effectively create negative ions. The best candidate seems to be iodine, I2, which has a high electron affinity, has a low ionisation threshold, is inexpensive, and does not require heavy and large gas tanks since it is in solid state with a high vapour pressure at room temperature.

  6. Nuclear thermal propulsion test facility requirements and development strategy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allen, George C.; Warren, John; Clark, J. S.

    1991-01-01

    The Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) subpanel of the Space Nuclear Propulsion Test Facilities Panel evaluated facility requirements and strategies for nuclear thermal propulsion systems development. High pressure, solid core concepts were considered as the baseline for the evaluation, with low pressure concepts an alternative. The work of the NTP subpanel revealed that a wealth of facilities already exists to support NTP development, and that only a few new facilities must be constructed. Some modifications to existing facilities will be required. Present funding emphasis should be on long-lead-time items for the major new ground test facility complex and on facilities supporting nuclear fuel development, hot hydrogen flow test facilities, and low power critical facilities.

  7. Plasma Propulsion Testing Capabilities at Arnold Engineering Development Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polzin, Kurt A.; Dawbarn, Albert; Moeller, Trevor

    2007-01-01

    This paper describes the results of a series of experiments aimed at quantifying the plasma propulsion testing capabilities of a 12-ft diameter vacuum facility (12V) at USAF-Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC). Vacuum is maintained in the 12V facility by cryogenic panels lining the interior of the chamber. The pumping capability of these panels was shown to be great enough to support plasma thrusters operating at input electrical power >20 kW. In addition, a series of plasma diagnostics inside the chamber allowed for measurement of plasma parameters at different spatial locations, providing information regarding the chamber's effect on the global plasma thruster flowfield. The plasma source used in this experiment was Hall thruster manufactured by Busek Co. The thruster was operated at up to 20 kW steady-state power in both a lower current and higher current mode. The vacuum level in the chamber never rose above 9 x 10(exp -6) torr during the course of testing. Langmuir probes, ion flux probes, and Faraday cups were used to quantify the plasma parameters in the chamber. We present the results of these measurements and estimates of pumping speed based on the background pressure level and thruster propellant mass flow rate.

  8. External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion (EPPP) Analysis Maturation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bonometti, Joesph A.; Morton, P. Jeff; Schmidt, George R. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion (EPPP) systems are at the stage of engineering infancy with evolving paradigms for application. performance and general characteristics. Recent efforts have focused on an approach that employs existing technologies with near term EPPP development for usage in interplanetary exploration and asteroid/comet deflection. if mandated. The inherent advantages of EPPP are discussed and its application to a variety of propulsion concepts is explored. These include, but are not limited to, utilizing energy sources such as fission. fusion and antimatter, as well as, improved chemical explosives. A mars mission scenario is presented as a demonstration of its capability using existing technologies. A suggested alternate means to improve EPPP efficiencies could also lead to a heavy lift (non-nuclear) launch vehicle capability. Conceivably, true low-cost, access to space is possible using advanced explosive propellants and/or coupling the EPPP vehicle to a "beam propellant" concept. EPPP systems appear to offer an approach that can potentially cover ETO through interstellar transportation capability. A technology roadmap is presented that shows mutual benefits pertaining to a substantial number of existing space propulsion and research areas.

  9. A Flight Demonstration of Plasma Rocket Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Petro, Andrew

    1999-01-01

    The Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center has been engaged in the development of a magneto-plasma rocket for several years. This type of rocket could be used in the future to propel interplanetary spacecraft. One advantageous feature of this rocket concept is the ability to vary its specific impulse so that it can be operated in a mode which maximizes propellant efficiency or a mode which maximizes thrust. This presentation will describe a proposed flight experiment in which a simple version of the rocket will be tested in space. In addition to the plasma rocket, the flight experiment will also demonstrate the use of a superconducting electromagnet, extensive use of heat pipes, and possibly the transfer of cryogenic propellant in space.

  10. NASA Glenn Propulsion Systems Lab (PSL) Icing Facility Update

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Griffin, Thomas A.

    2014-01-01

    This oral presentation is an update to the Propulsion Systems Lab (PSL) engine ice testing. It provides a summary of the modifications done to the facility and recently completed calibrations and test program.

  11. Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Test Facilities Subpanel

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allen, George C.; Warren, John W.; Martinell, John; Clark, John S.; Perkins, David

    1993-01-01

    On 20 Jul. 1989, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, President George Bush proclaimed his vision for manned space exploration. He stated, 'First for the coming decade, for the 1990's, Space Station Freedom, the next critical step in our space endeavors. And next, for the new century, back to the Moon. Back to the future. And this time, back to stay. And then, a journey into tomorrow, a journey to another planet, a manned mission to Mars.' On 2 Nov. 1989, the President approved a national space policy reaffirming the long range goal of the civil space program: to 'expand human presence and activity beyond Earth orbit into the solar system.' And on 11 May 1990, he specified the goal of landing Astronauts on Mars by 2019, the 50th anniversary of man's first steps on the Moon. To safely and ever permanently venture beyond near Earth environment as charged by the President, mankind must bring to bear extensive new technologies. These include heavy lift launch capability from Earth to low-Earth orbit, automated space rendezvous and docking of large masses, zero gravity countermeasures, and closed loop life support systems. One technology enhancing, and perhaps enabling, the piloted Mars missions is nuclear propulsion, with great benefits over chemical propulsion. Asserting the potential benefits of nuclear propulsion, NASA has sponsored workshops in Nuclear Electric Propulsion and Nuclear Thermal Propulsion and has initiated a tri-agency planning process to ensure that appropriate resources are engaged to meet this exciting technical challenge. At the core of this planning process, NASA, DOE, and DOD established six Nuclear Propulsion Technical Panels in 1991 to provide groundwork for a possible tri-agency Nuclear Propulsion Program and to address the President's vision by advocating an aggressive program in nuclear propulsion. To this end the Nuclear Electric Propulsion Technology Panel has focused it energies; this final report

  12. Test facilities for evaluating nuclear thermal propulsion systems

    SciTech Connect

    Beck, D.F.; Allen, G.C.; Shipers, L.R.; Dobranich, D.; Ottinger, C.A.; Harmon, C.D.; Fan, W.C. ); Todosow, M. )

    1992-09-22

    Interagency panels evaluating nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) development options have consistently recognized the need for constructing a major new ground test facility to support fuel element and engine testing. This paper summarizes the requirements, configuration, and baseline performance of some of the major subsystems designed to support a proposed ground test complex for evaluating nuclear thermal propulsion fuel elements and engines being developed for the Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) program. Some preliminary results of evaluating this facility for use in testing other NTP concepts are also summarized.

  13. Aeronautical facilities catalogue. Volume 2: Airbreathing propulsion and flight simulators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Penaranda, F. E.; Freda, M. S.

    1985-01-01

    Volume two of the facilities catalogue deals with Airbreathing Propulsion and Flight Simulation Facilities. Data pertinent to managers and engineers are presented. Each facility is described on a data sheet that shows the facility's technical parameters on a chart and more detailed information in narratives. Facilities judged comparable in testing capability are noted and grouped together. Several comprehensive cross-indexes and charts are included.

  14. Radio Frequency Plasma Applications for Space Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Baity, F.W., Jr.; Barber, G.C.; Carter, M.D.; Chang-Diaz, F.R.; Goulding, R.H.; Ilin, A.V.; Jaeger, E.F.; Sparks, D.O.; Squire, J.P.

    1999-09-13

    Recent developments in solid-state radio frequency (RF) power technologies allow for the practical consideration of RF heated plasmas for space propulsion. These technologies permit the use of any electrical power source, de-couple the power and propellant sources, and allow for the effcient use of both the propellant mass and power. Effcient use of the propellant is obtained by expelling the rocket exhaust at the highest possible velocity, which can be orders of magnitude higher than those achieved in chemical rockets. Handling the hot plasma exhaust requires the use of magnetic nozzles, and the basic physics of ion detachment from the magnetic eld is discussed. The plasma can be generated by RF using helicon waves to heat electrons. Further direct heating of the ions helps to reduce the line radiation losses, and the magnetic geometry is tailored to allow ion cyclotron resonance heating. RF eld and ion trajectory calculations are presented to give a reasonably self-consistent picture of the ion acceleration process.

  15. Space exploration initiative candidate nuclear propulsion test facilities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baldwin, Darrell; Clark, John S.

    1993-01-01

    One-page descriptions for approximately 200 existing government, university, and industry facilities which may be available in the future to support SEI nuclear propulsion technology development and test program requirements are provided. To facilitate use of the information, the candidate facilities are listed both by location (Index L) and by Facility Type (Index FT). The included one-page descriptions provide a brief narrative description of facility capability, suggest potential uses for each facility, and designate a point of contact for additional information that may be needed in the future. The Nuclear Propulsion Office at NASA Lewis presently plans to maintain, expand, and update this information periodically for use by NASA, DOE, and DOD personnel involved in planning various phases of the SEI Nuclear Propulsion Project.

  16. Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) Air Force facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beck, David F.

    1993-01-01

    The Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) Program is an initiative within the US Air Force to acquire and validate advanced technologies that could be used to sustain superior capabilities in the area or space nuclear propulsion. The SNTP Program has a specific objective of demonstrating the feasibility of the particle bed reactor (PBR) concept. The term PIPET refers to a project within the SNTP Program responsible for the design, development, construction, and operation of a test reactor facility, including all support systems, that is intended to resolve program technology issues and test goals. A nuclear test facility has been designed that meets SNTP Facility requirements. The design approach taken to meet SNTP requirements has resulted in a nuclear test facility that should encompass a wide range of nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) test requirements that may be generated within other programs. The SNTP PIPET project is actively working with DOE and NASA to assess this possibility.

  17. Fundamentals of Plasma Sails Propulsion Concept

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Khazanov, G. V.; Kabin, K.; Delamere, P. A.

    2002-01-01

    The Mini-Magnetospheric Plasma Propulsion (M2P2), originally proposed by Winglee et al. [2000], is based on the two-fluid plasma model and requires a 15-km frontal standoff distance (or 20-km cross-sectional diameter) in order for the magnetic bubble to absorb sufficient momentum from the SW to accelerate a spacecraft to the unprecedented speeds of 50-80 km/s after an acceleration period of about three months. Winglee et al. [2000] derived the above size requirement based on an extrapolation of their simulated results in which a system much smaller than a M2P2 was used (p. 21,074 of their study). We submit, however, that a fluid model has no validity for such a small scale size-even in the region near the plasma source! It is assumed in the MHD fluid model, normally applied to the magnetosphere, that the characteristic scale-size is much greater than the Larmor radius and ion skin depth of the SW. In the case of the M2P2, however, the size of the magnetic bubble is actually less than or, at best, comparable to, the scale of these characteristic parameters and, therefore, a kinetic approach, which addresses the smallscale physical mechanisms involved, must be used. A fully three-dimensional version of the hybrid code is used in our M2P2 (Plasma Sails) studies was originally developed by Delamere et al. [1999]. The M2P2 plasma sail is an excellent application for this hybrid code. The primary advantage of this code is the seamless interface between fluid and kinetic descriptions of the ion populations. A kinetic description is not necessary for the dense inner regions of the magnetic bubble and tremendous computational savings can be realized by treating this dense, magnetized ion population with the fluid description. It is essential, however, that the outer bubble regions be treated kinetically as well as the SW protons. Comparison of full size M2P2 simulation based on 3D MHD and kinetic models show that kinetic treatment introduces much more asymmetry to the

  18. Space nuclear thermal propulsion test facilities accommodation at INEL

    SciTech Connect

    Hill, T.J.; Reed, W.C.; Welland, H.J. )

    1993-01-15

    The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has proposed to develop the technology and demonstrate the feasibility of a particle bed reactor (PBR) propulsion system that could be used to power an advanced upper stage rocket engine. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is cooperating with the USAF in that it would host the test facility if the USAF decides to proceed with the technology demonstration. Two DOE locations have been proposed for testing the PBR technology, a new test facility at the Nevada Test Site, or the modification and use of an existing facility at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. The preliminary evaluations performed at the INEL to support the PBR technology testing has been completed. Additional evaluations to scope the required changes or upgrade needed to make the proposed USAF PBR test facility meet the requirements for testing Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) nuclear thermal propulsion engines are underway.

  19. The F-15B Propulsion Flight Test Fixture: A New Flight Facility For Propulsion Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Corda, Stephen; Vachon, M. Jake; Palumbo, Nathan; Diebler, Corey; Tseng, Ting; Ginn, Anthony; Richwine, David

    2001-01-01

    The design and development of the F-15B Propulsion Flight Test Fixture (PFTF), a new facility for propulsion flight research, is described. Mounted underneath an F-15B fuselage, the PFTF provides volume for experiment systems and attachment points for propulsion devices. A unique feature of the PFTF is the incorporation of a six-degree-of-freedom force balance. Three-axis forces and moments can be measured in flight for experiments mounted to the force balance. The NASA F-15B airplane is described, including its performance and capabilities as a research test bed aircraft. The detailed description of the PFTF includes the geometry, internal layout and volume, force-balance operation, available instrumentation, and allowable experiment size and weight. The aerodynamic, stability and control, and structural designs of the PFTF are discussed, including results from aerodynamic computational fluid dynamic calculations and structural analyses. Details of current and future propulsion flight experiments are discussed. Information about the integration of propulsion flight experiments is provided for the potential PFTF user.

  20. Crewed Mission to Callisto Using Advanced Plasma Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Adams, R. B.; Statham, G.; White, S.; Patton, B.; Thio, Y. C. F.; Santarius, J.; Alexander, R.; Fincher, S.; Polsgrove, T.; Chapman, J.

    2003-01-01

    This paper describes the engineering of several vehicles designed for a crewed mission to the Jovian satellite Callisto. Each subsystem is discussed in detail. Mission and trajectory analysis for each mission concept is described. Crew support components are also described. Vehicles were developed using both fission powered magneto plasma dynamic (MPD) thrusters and magnetized target fusion (MTF) propulsion systems. Conclusions were drawn regarding the usefulness of these propulsion systems for crewed exploration of the outer solar system.

  1. Assessment of Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Facility and Capability Needs

    SciTech Connect

    James Werner

    2014-07-01

    The development of a Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) system rests heavily upon being able to fabricate and demonstrate the performance of a high temperature nuclear fuel as well as demonstrating an integrated system prior to launch. A number of studies have been performed in the past which identified the facilities needed and the capabilities available to meet the needs and requirements identified at that time. Since that time, many facilities and capabilities within the Department of Energy have been removed or decommissioned. This paper provides a brief overview of the anticipated facility needs and identifies some promising concepts to be considered which could support the development of a nuclear thermal propulsion system. Detailed trade studies will need to be performed to support the decision making process.

  2. Space Chemical Propulsion Test Facilities at NASA Lewis Research Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Urasek, Donald C.; Calfo, Frederick D.

    1993-01-01

    The NASA Lewis Research Center, located in Cleveland, Ohio, has a number of space chemical propulsion test facilities which constitute a significant national space testing resource. The purpose of this paper is to make more users aware of these test facilities and to encourage their use through cooperative agreements between the government, industry, and universities. Research which is of interest to the government is especially encouraged and often can be done in a cooperative manner that best uses the resources of all parties. An overview of the Lewis test facilities is presented.

  3. Z-Pinch Pulsed Plasma Propulsion Technology Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polsgrove, Tara; Adams, Robert B.; Fabisinski, Leo; Fincher, Sharon; Maples, C. Dauphne; Miernik, Janie; Percy, Tom; Statham, Geoff; Turner, Matt; Cassibry, Jason; Cortez, Ross; Santarius, John

    2010-01-01

    Fusion-based propulsion can enable fast interplanetary transportation. Magneto-inertial fusion (MIF) is an approach which has been shown to potentially lead to a low cost, small reactor for fusion break even. The Z-Pinch/dense plasma focus method is an MIF concept in which a column of gas is compressed to thermonuclear conditions by an axial current (I approximates 100 MA). Recent advancements in experiments and the theoretical understanding of this concept suggest favorable scaling of fusion power output yield as I(sup 4). This document presents a conceptual design of a Z-Pinch fusion propulsion system and a vehicle for human exploration. The purpose of this study is to apply Z-Pinch fusion principles to the design of a propulsion system for an interplanetary spacecraft. This study took four steps in service of that objective; these steps are identified below. 1. Z-Pinch Modeling and Analysis: There is a wealth of literature characterizing Z-Pinch physics and existing Z-Pinch physics models. In order to be useful in engineering analysis, simplified Z-Pinch fusion thermodynamic models are required to give propulsion engineers the quantity of plasma, plasma temperature, rate of expansion, etc. The study team developed these models in this study. 2. Propulsion Modeling and Analysis: While the Z-Pinch models characterize the fusion process itself, propulsion models calculate the parameters that characterize the propulsion system (thrust, specific impulse, etc.) The study team developed a Z-Pinch propulsion model and used it to determine the best values for pulse rate, amount of propellant per pulse, and mixture ratio of the D-T and liner materials as well as the resulting thrust and specific impulse of the system. 3. Mission Analysis: Several potential missions were studied. Trajectory analysis using data from the propulsion model was used to determine the duration of the propulsion burns, the amount of propellant expended to complete each mission considered. 4

  4. Ion beam sputtering in electric propulsion facilities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sovey, James S.; Patterson, Michael J.

    1991-01-01

    Experiments were undertaken to determine sputter yields of potential ion beam target materials, to assess the impact of charge exchange on beam diagnostics in large facilities, and to examine material erosion and deposition after a 957 hr test of a 5 kW-class ion thruster. The xenon ion sputter yield of flexible graphite was lower than other graphite forms especially at high angles of incidence. Ion beam charge exchange effects were found to hamper beam probe current collection diagnostics even at pressures from 0.7 to 1.7 mPa. Estimates of the xenon ion beam envelope were made and predictions of the thickness of sputter deposited coatings in the facility were compared with measurements.

  5. Ion beam sputtering in electric propulsion facilities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sovey, James S.; Patterson, Michael J.

    1991-01-01

    Experiments were undertaken to determine sputter yields of potential ion beam target materials, to assess the impact of charge exchange on beam diagnostics in large facilities, and to examine material erosion and deposition after a 957-hour test of a 5 kW-class ion thruster. The xenon ion sputter yield of flexible graphite was lower than other graphite forms especialy at high angles of incidence. Ion beam charge exchange effects were found to hamper beam probe current collection diagnostics even at pressures from 0.7 to 1.7 mPa. Estimates of the xenon ion beam envelope were made and predictions of the thickness of sputter deposited coatings in the facility were compared with measurements.

  6. Space chemical propulsion test facilities at NASA Lewis Research Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Urasek, Donald C.; Calfo, Frederick D.

    1993-01-01

    The NASA Lewis Research Center, located in Cleveland, Ohio has a number of space chemical propulsion test facilities which constitute a significant national space testing resource. The purpose of this paper is to make more users aware of these test facilities and to encourage their use through cooperative agreements between the government, industry, and universities. Research which is of interest to the government is especiallly encouraged and often can be done in a cooperative manner that best uses the resources of all parties. This paper presents an overview of the Lewis test facilities. These facilities are clustered into three test areas: the Rocket Engine Test Facilities (RETF), the Rocket Laboratory (RL), and the Cryogenic Components Laboratory (CCL).

  7. Ferroelectric plasma thruster for microspacecraft propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Kemp, Mark A.; Kovaleski, Scott D.

    2006-12-01

    This paper presents a technology in microthruster design: the ferroelectric plasma thruster (FEPT). The FEPT utilizes an applied rf electric field to create plasma on the surface of a ferroelectric dielectric. Acceleration of ions from this plasma provides thrust. Advantages of the FEPT include emission of both electrons and ions leading to self-neutralization, creation of plasma, and acceleration of ions with a single power supply, and application of thrust in a short amount of time. We present the concept of the thruster, operational physics, as well as experimental results demonstrating plasma creation and ion acceleration. These results along with plasma spectroscopy allow us to calculate thruster parameters.

  8. Fusion for Space Propulsion and Plasma Liner Driven MTF

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thio, Y.C. Francis; Rodgers, Stephen L. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    in the light of significant development of the enabling pulsed power component technologies that have occurred in the last two decades because of defense and other energy requirements. The extreme states of matter required to produce fusion reactions may be more readily realizable in the pulsed states with less system mass than in steady states. Significant saving in system mass may result in pulsed fusion systems using plasmas in the appropriate density regimes. Magnetized target fusion, which attempts to combine the favorable attributes of magnetic confinement and inertial compression-containment into one single integrated fusion scheme, appears to have benefits that are worth exploring for propulsion application.

  9. On plasma detachment in propulsive magnetic nozzles

    SciTech Connect

    Ahedo, Eduardo; Merino, Mario

    2011-05-15

    Three detachment mechanisms proposed in the literature (via resistivity, via electron inertia, and via induced magnetic field) are analyzed with an axisymmetric model of the expansion of a small-beta, weakly collisional, near-sonic plasma in a diverging magnetic nozzle. The model assumes cold, partially magnetized ions and hot, isothermal, fully magnetized electrons. Different conditions of the plasma beam at the nozzle throat are considered. A central feature is that a positive thrust gain in the nozzle of a plasma thruster is intimately related to the azimuthal current in the plasma being diamagnetic. Then, and contrary to existing expectations, the three aforementioned detachment mechanisms are divergent, that is, the plasma beam diverges outwards of the guide nozzle, further hindering its axial expansion and the thrust efficiency. The rate of divergent detachment is quantified for the small-parameter range of the three mechanisms. Alternative mechanisms for a convergent detachment of the plasma beam are suggested.

  10. Hybrid Propulsion In-Situ Resource Utilization Test Facility Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chandler, Ashley A.; Gatto, Corinne; Nakazono, Barry; Grayson, Kristian; Vaughan, David

    2014-01-01

    Hybrid propulsion could be a potential game changing technology for several Mars applications, such as Mars Sample Return (MSR) and human exploration. A flexible hybrid test facility has been built at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to provide data relevant to the design of such systems. This paper presents the motivations for such a system and its design. The facility is capable of testing 5 cm diameter fuel grains with gaseous oxygen and Mars in situ propellant production simulating oxidizer (varying mixtures of GO2, CO2 and CO). All currently planned tests utilize paraffin based fuels; however, alternative hybrid fuels may be used in the future. Variable length to outer diameter (L/D) ratios may also be tested to give insight on potential packaging constraints. The goal of this research is to enable the inclusion of hybrid propulsion systems in future mission design studies by determining the empirical constants in the regression rate equation for paraffin-based fuels with space storable and/or in situ oxidizers and to investigate the effect of L/D on combustion efficiency. Test results will be reported separately.

  11. A Flight Demonstration of Plasma Rocket Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Petro, Andrew; Chang-Diaz, Franklin; Schwenterly, WIlliam; Hitt, Michael; Lepore, Joseph

    2000-01-01

    The Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory at the NASA Johnson Space Center has been engaged in the development of a variable specific impulse magnetoplasma rocket (V ASIMR) for several years. This type of rocket could be used in the future to propel interplanetary spacecraft and has the potential to open the entire solar system to human exploration. One feature of this propulsion technology is the ability to vary its specific impulse so that it can be operated in a mode that maximizes propellant efficiency or a mode that maximizes thrust. Variation of specific impulse and thrust enhances the ability to optimize interplanetary trajectories and results in shorter trip times and lower propellant requirements than with a fixed specific impulse. In its ultimate application for interplanetary travel, the VASIMR would be a multi-megawatt device. A much lower power system is being designed for demonstration in the 2004 timeframe. This first space demonstration would employ a lO-kilowatt thruster aboard a solar powered spacecraft in Earth orbit. The 1O-kilowatt V ASIMR demonstration unit would operate for a period of several months with hydrogen or deuterium propellant with a specific impulse of 10,000 seconds.

  12. Method of hybrid plume plasma propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chang, Franklin R. (Inventor)

    1990-01-01

    A technique for producing thrust by generating a hybrid plume plasma exhaust is disclosed. A plasma flow is generated and introduced into a nozzle which features one or more inlets positioned to direct a flow of neutral gas about the interior of the nozzle. When such a neutral gas flow is combined with the plasma flow within the nozzle, a hybrid plume is constructed including a flow of hot plasma along the center of the nozzle surrounded by a generally annular flow of neutral gas, with an annular transition region between the pure plasma and the neutral gas. The temperature of the outer gas layer is below that of the pure plasma and generally separates the pure plasma from the interior surfaces of the nozzle. The neutral gas flow both insulates the nozzle walls from the high temperatures of the plasma flow and adds to the mass flow rate of the hybrid exhaust. The rate of flow of neutral gas into the interior of the nozzle may be selectively adjusted to control the thrust and specific impulse of the device.

  13. Magnetized Target Fusion Propulsion: Plasma Injectors for MTF Guns

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Griffin, Steven T.

    2003-01-01

    To achieve increased payload size and decreased trip time for interplanetary travel, a low mass, high specific impulse, high thrust propulsion system is required. This suggests the need for research into fusion as a source of power and high temperature plasma. The plasma would be deflected by magnetic fields to provide thrust. Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) research consists of several related investigations into these topics. These include the orientation and timing of the plasma guns and the convergence and interface development of the "pusher" plasma. Computer simulations of the gun as it relates to plasma initiation and repeatability are under investigation. One of the items under development is the plasma injector. This is a surface breakdown driven plasma generator designed to function at very low pressures. The performance, operating conditions and limitations of these injectors need to be determined.

  14. Brief review on plasma propulsion with neutralizer-free systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rafalskyi, D.; Aanesland, A.

    2016-06-01

    Electric space propulsion is an intensively developing field addressing new demands and challenges for long-term spacecraft operation. Many novel plasma propulsion concepts aim to find new acceleration principles, use alternative propellants, upscale or downscale thrusters for large thrust or for very small spacecrafts etc. In this work we review the neutralizer-free concepts, where both positive and negative particles are extracted and accelerated from plasmas. We can divide these concepts into three main categories, defined by their acceleration principle: (i) neutral beam generation, (ii) plasma acceleration/expansion and (iii) bipolar beam acceleration. We describe the basic physical principles and evaluate the main advantages and drawbacks in view of general space applications. We also present here further detail on a recent concept where RF voltages are used to accelerate quasi-simultaneously positive ions and electrons from the same source.

  15. Parasitic current losses due to solar electric propulsion generated plasmas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Katz, I.; Parks, D. E.; Mandell, M. J.; Schnuelle, G. W.

    1981-01-01

    Solar electric propulsion is a leading candidate for many upcoming space missions. Under many circumstances plasma produced by charge-exchange reactions within the ion beam dominates the ambient environment near the spacecraft. The calculations presented here contain a predictive hydrodynamic model for the charge-exchange plasma expansion, and a fully three-dimensional model for the structure of the plasma sheath around the solar array wing. Results of calculations for several configurations and voltage levels indicate that with kilovolt biases power losses of approximately 10 percent or more are likely, even with only one engine in operation, and that ameliorative measures should focus on the inboard portion of the solar arrays.

  16. Feasibility of MHD submarine propulsion. Phase II, MHD propulsion: Testing in a two Tesla test facility

    SciTech Connect

    Doss, E.D.; Sikes, W.C.

    1992-09-01

    This report describes the work performed during Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the collaborative research program established between Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company (NNS). Phase I of the program focused on the development of computer models for Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) propulsion. Phase 2 focused on the experimental validation of the thruster performance models and the identification, through testing, of any phenomena which may impact the attractiveness of this propulsion system for shipboard applications. The report discusses in detail the work performed in Phase 2 of the program. In Phase 2, a two Tesla test facility was designed, built, and operated. The facility test loop, its components, and their design are presented. The test matrix and its rationale are discussed. Representative experimental results of the test program are presented, and are compared to computer model predictions. In general, the results of the tests and their comparison with the predictions indicate that thephenomena affecting the performance of MHD seawater thrusters are well understood and can be accurately predicted with the developed thruster computer models.

  17. Ground test facilities for evaluating nuclear thermal propulsion engines and fuel elements

    SciTech Connect

    Allen, G.C.; Beck, D.F.; Harmon, C.D.; Shipers, L.R.

    1992-08-01

    Interagency panels evaluating nuclear thermal propulsion development options have consistently recognized the need for constructing a major new ground test facility to support fuel element and engine testing. This paper summarizes the requirements, configuration, and design issues of a proposed ground test complex for evaluating nuclear thermal propulsion engines and fuel elements being developed for the Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) program. 2 refs.

  18. Experimental research on electrical propulsion. Note 2: Experimental research on a plasma jet with vortex type stabilization for propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Robotti, A. C.; Oggero, M.

    1985-01-01

    Results of experimental electric propulsion research are presented. A plasma generator, with an arc stabilized by an air vortex is examined. The heat transfer efficiency between arc and fluid environment at a varying current and flow rate is discussed.

  19. The Role of Numerical Simulation in Advancing Plasma Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turchi, P. J.; Mikellides, P. G.; Mikellides, I. G.

    1999-11-01

    Plasma thrusters often involve a complex set of interactions among several distinct physical processes. While each process can yield to separate mathematical representation, their combination generally requires numerical simulation. We have extended and used the MACH2 code successfully to simulate both self-field and applied-field magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters and, more recently, ablation-fed pulsed plasma microthrusters. MACH2 provides a framework in which to compute 2-1/2 dimensional, unsteady, MHD flows in two-temperature LTE. It couples to several options for electrical circuitry and allows access to both analytic formulas and tabular values for material properties and transport coefficients, including phenomenological models for anomalous transport. Even with all these capabilities, however, successful modeling demands comparison with experiment and with analytic solutions in idealized limits, and careful combination of MACH2 results with separate physical reasoning. Although well understood elsewhere in plasma physics, the strengths and limitations of numerical simulation for plasma propulsion needs further discussion.

  20. The Altitude Wind Tunnel (AWT): A unique facility for propulsion system and adverse weather testing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chamberlin, R.

    1985-01-01

    A need has arisen for a new wind tunnel facility with unique capabilities for testing propulsion systems and for conducting research in adverse weather conditions. New propulsion system concepts, new aircraft configurations with an unprecedented degree of propulsion system/aircraft integration, and requirements for aircraft operation in adverse weather dictate the need for a new test facility. Required capabilities include simulation of both altitude pressure and temperature, large size, full subsonic speed range, propulsion system operation, and weather simulation (i.e., icing, heavy rain). A cost effective rehabilitation of the NASA Lewis Research Center's Altitude Wind Tunnel (AWT) will provide a facility with all these capabilities.

  1. Development of Modeling Approaches for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Test Facilities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, Daniel R.; Allgood, Daniel C.; Nguyen, Ke

    2014-01-01

    High efficiency of rocket propul-sion systems is essential for humanity to venture be-yond the moon. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is a promising alternative to conventional chemical rock-ets with relatively high thrust and twice the efficiency of the Space Shuttle Main Engine. NASA is in the pro-cess of developing a new NTP engine, and is evaluat-ing ground test facility concepts that allow for the thor-ough testing of NTP devices. NTP engine exhaust, hot gaseous hydrogen, is nominally expected to be free of radioactive byproducts from the nuclear reactor; how-ever, it has the potential to be contaminated due to off-nominal engine reactor performance. Several options are being investigated to mitigate this hazard potential with one option in particular that completely contains the engine exhaust during engine test operations. The exhaust products are subsequently disposed of between engine tests. For this concept (see Figure 1), oxygen is injected into the high-temperature hydrogen exhaust that reacts to produce steam, excess oxygen and any trace amounts of radioactive noble gases released by off-nominal NTP engine reactor performance. Water is injected to condense the potentially contaminated steam into water. This water and the gaseous oxygen (GO2) are subsequently passed to a containment area where the water and GO2 are separated into separate containment tanks.

  2. Quantifying Plasma Collision Processes in Xenon Powered Electric Propulsion Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dressler, Rainer A.; Chiu, Yu-hui

    2011-05-01

    The use of xenon plasma electrostatic space propulsion systems for low-thrust applications is growing rapidly due to the significant propellant mass savings associated with the high specific impulse of the engines. The high expense of the propellant drives the cost of ground-based testing, which lacks many attributes of in-space conditions. The cost-effective performance and integration optimization of these propulsion systems, consequently, is highly dependent on models that correctly render the static plasma properties and its outflow from the engine at arbitrary conditions. A primary impediment to the accuracy of models is quantitative data such as energy dependent cross sections for a multitude of collision processes that govern the plasma properties. We present a review of theoretical and experimental advances in determining vital cross sections and their implementation in models of electrostatic thruster plasmas. Experimentally validated theoretical charge exchange and xenon ion differential scattering cross sections have led to improved modeling of the angular distribution of Hall Effect thruster plume ion currents. New cross sections for inelastic electron and xenon ion scattering on xenon atoms, including atoms in the 5p56s J = 2 metastable state, have led to the development of a collisional radiative model that predicts local electron temperatures from near-infrared spectral intensities.

  3. Plasma stability studies of the gasdynamic mirror fusion propulsion experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Emrich, William Julius, Jr.

    The gasdynamic mirror has been proposed as a concept which could form the basis of a highly efficient fusion rocket engine. Gasdynamic mirrors differ from most other mirror type plasma confinement schemes in that they have much larger aspect ratios and operate at somewhat higher plasma densities. These differences are postulated to permit gasdynamic mirrors to confine plasmas in a stable manner without the additional complicated equipment required by low aspect ratio, low plasma density mirror machines. To verify that a gasdynamic mirror could indeed confine plasmas in a stable manner for long periods of time, a small scale experimental gasdynamic mirror was built and tested. The gasdynamic mirror which was constructed is 2.5 meters long and can accommodate plasmas up to 20 centimeters in diameter. The device is able to support mirror magnetic fields of up to two tesla and central cell magnetic fields of up to a third of a tesla. A reciprocating Langmuir probe was used to determine the radial plasma density and electron temperature profiles upon which the experimental results of this study are based. The objective of this experiment was to determine ranges of mirror ratios and plasma densities over which gasdynamic mirror could maintain stable plasmas. Theoretical analyses indicated that plasma magnetohydrodynamic instabilities were likely to occur during subsonic to supersonic flow transitions in the mirror throat region of the gasdynamic mirror. The experimental evidence based upon data derived from the Langmuir probe measurements seems to confirm this analysis. These instabilities result in a loss of plasma confinement and would almost certainly prevent the initiation of fusion reactions. The assumption that a gasdynamic mirror using a simple mirror geometry could be used as a propulsion system, therefore, appears questionable. Fairly simple modifications to the simple mirror concept are presented, however, which if incorporated into the simple mirror

  4. Propulsion

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Air and Space, 1978

    1978-01-01

    An introductory discussion of aircraft propulsion is included along with diagrams and pictures of piston, turbojet, turboprop, turbofan, and jet engines. Also, a table on chemical propulsion is included. (MDR)

  5. Modular Pulsed Plasma Electric Propulsion System for Cubesats

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Perez, Andres Dono; Gazulla, Oriol Tintore; Teel, George Lewis; Mai, Nghia; Lukas, Joseph; Haque, Sumadra; Uribe, Eddie; Keidar, Michael; Agasid, Elwood

    2014-01-01

    Current capabilities of CubeSats must be improved in order to perform more ambitious missions. Electric propulsion systems will play a key role due to their large specific impulse. Compared to other propulsion alternatives, their simplicity allows an easier miniaturization and manufacturing of autonomous modules into the nano and pico-satellite platform. Pulsed Plasma Thrusters (PPTs) appear as one of the most promising technologies for the near term. The utilization of solid and non-volatile propellants, their low power requirements and their proven reliability in the large scale make them great candidates for rapid implementation. The main challenges are the integration and miniaturization of all the electronic circuitry into a printed circuit board (PCB) that can satisfy the strict requirements that CubeSats present. NASA Ames and the George Washington University have demonstrated functionality and control of three discrete Micro-Cathode Arc Thrusters (CAT) using a bench top configuration that was compatible with the ARC PhoneSat Bus. This demonstration was successfully conducted in a vaccum chamber at the ARC Environmental Test Laboratory. A new effort will integrate a low power Plasma Processing Unit and two plasma thrusters onto a single printed circuit board that will utilize less than 13 U of Bus volume. The target design will be optimized for the accommodation into the PhoneSatEDISON Demonstration of SmallSatellite Networks (EDSN) bus as it uses the same software interface application, which was demonstrated in the previous task. This paper describes the design, integration and architecture of the proposed propulsion subsystem for a planned Technology Demonstration Mission. In addition, a general review of the Pulsed Plasma technology available for CubeSats is presented in order to assess the necessary challenges to overcome further development.

  6. A laboratory facility for electric vehicle propulsion system testing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sargent, N. B.

    1980-01-01

    The road load simulator facility located at the NASA Lewis Research Center enables a propulsion system or any of its components to be evaluated under a realistic vehicle inertia and road loads. The load is applied to the system under test according to the road load equation: F(net)=K1F1+K2F2V+K3 sq V+K4(dv/dt)+K5 sin theta. The coefficient of each term in the equation can be varied over a wide range with vehicle inertial representative of vehicles up to 7500 pounds simulated by means of flywheels. The required torque is applied by the flywheels, a hydroviscous absorber and clutch, and a drive motor integrated by a closed loop control system to produce a smooth, continuous load up to 150 horsepower.

  7. Advanced Plasma Propulsion for Human Missions to Jupiter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Donahue, Benjamin B.; Pearson, J. Boise

    1999-01-01

    This paper will briefly identify a promising fusion plasma power source, which when coupled with a promising electric thruster technology would provide for an efficient interplanetary transfer craft suitable to a 4 year round trip mission to the Jovian system. An advanced, nearly radiation free Inertial Electrostatic Confinement scheme for containing fusion plasma was judged as offering potential for delivering the performance and operational benefits needed for such high energy human expedition missions, without requiring heavy superconducting magnets for containment of the fusion plasma. Once the Jovian transfer stage has matched the heliocentric velocity of Jupiter, the energy requirements for excursions to its outer satellites (Callisto, Ganymede and Europa) by smaller excursion craft are not prohibitive. The overall propulsion, power and thruster system is briefly described and a preliminary vehicle mass statement is presented.

  8. Advancements in Dense Plasma Focus (DPF) for Space Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Thomas, Robert; Yang Yang; Miley, G.H.; Mead, F.B.

    2005-02-06

    The development of a dense plasma focus (DPF) propulsion device using p-11B is described. A propulsion system of this type is attractive because of its high thrust-to-weight ratio capabilities at high specific impulses. From a fuel standpoint, p-11B is advantageous because of the aneutronic nature of the reaction, which is favorable for the production of thrust since the charged particles can be channeled by a magnetic field. Different fusion mechanisms are investigated and their implication to the p-11B reaction is explored. Three main requirements must be satisfied to reach breakeven for DPF fusion: a high Ti/Te ratio ({approx}20), an order of magnitude higher pinch lifetime, and the reflection and absorption of at least 50% radiation. Moreover, a power re-circulation method with high efficiency must be available for the relatively low Q value of the DPF fusion reactor. A possible direct energy conversion scheme using magnetic field compression is discussed. DPF parameters are estimated for thrust levels of 1000 kN and 500 kN, and possible propulsion applications are discussed, along with developmental issues.

  9. Liquid Metal Propellant Feed System for Plasma Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Markusic, T. E.

    2004-01-01

    High-power plasma thrusters that utilize molten metallic propellants (e.g., the Lithium Lorentz Force Accelerator) are currently being investigated as a primary propulsion option for in-space nuclear-electric systems. A critical component of the thruster is the propellant feed system, which must reliably and accurately pump liquid metal into the thruster discharge chamber. We present design details and calibration results for a compact liquid metal propellant feed system that contains no moving parts, for use in laboratory testing of plasma thrusters. Feed line pressure is maintained using an MHD flow coupler, and the flow rate is monitored using a simple voltage divider, which is submerged in the propellant reservoir. Results for lithium and gallium propellants show capability to meter propellant at flow rates up to 10 +/- 0.1 mg/s.

  10. Plasma simulation in a hybrid ion electric propulsion system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jugroot, Manish; Christou, Alex

    2015-04-01

    An exciting possibility for the next generation of satellite technology is the microsatellite. These satellites, ranging from 10-500 kg, can offer advantages in cost, reduced risk, and increased functionality for a variety of missions. For station keeping and control of these satellites, a suitable compact and high efficiency thruster is required. Electrostatic propulsion provides a promising solution for microsatellite thrust due to their high specific impulse. The rare gas propellant is ionized into plasma and generates a beam of high speed ions by electrostatic processes. A concept explored in this work is a hybrid combination of dc ion engines and hall thrusters to overcome space-charge and lifetime limitations of current ion thruster technologies. A multiphysics space and time-dependent formulation was used to investigate and understand the underlying physical phenomena. Several regions and time scales of the plasma have been observed and will be discussed.

  11. A digital computer propulsion control facility: Description of capabilities and summary of experimental program results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zeller, J. R.; Arpasi, D. J.; Lehtinen, B.

    1976-01-01

    Flight weight digital computers are being used today to carry out many of the propulsion system control functions previously delegated exclusively to hydromechanical controllers. An operational digital computer facility for propulsion control mode studies has been used successfully in several experimental programs. This paper describes the system and some of the results concerned with engine control, inlet control, and inlet engine integrated control. Analytical designs for the digital propulsion control modes include both classical and modern/optimal techniques.

  12. Space Propulsion Research Facility (B-2): An Innovative, Multi-Purpose Test Facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hill, Gerald M.; Weaver, Harold F.; Kudlac, Maureen T.; Maloney, Christian T.; Evans, Richard K.

    2011-01-01

    The Space Propulsion Research Facility, commonly referred to as B-2, is designed to hot fire rocket engines or upper stage launch vehicles with up to 890,000 N force (200,000 lb force), after environmental conditioning of the test article in simulated thermal vacuum space environment. As NASA s third largest thermal vacuum facility, and the largest designed to store and transfer large quantities of propellant, it is uniquely suited to support developmental testing associated with large lightweight structures and Cryogenic Fluid Management (CFM) systems, as well as non-traditional propulsion test programs such as Electric and In-Space propulsion. B-2 has undergone refurbishment of key subsystems to support the NASA s future test needs, including data acquisition and controls, vacuum, and propellant systems. This paper details the modernization efforts at B-2 to support the Nation s thermal vacuum/propellant test capabilities, the unique design considerations implemented for efficient operations and maintenance, and ultimately to reduce test costs.

  13. Design of Electrical Systems for Rocket Propulsion Test Facilities at the John C. Stennis Space Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hughes, Mark S.; Davis, Dawn M.; Bakker, Henry J.; Jensen, Scott L.

    2007-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews the design of the electrical systems that are required for the testing of rockets at the Rocket Propulsion Facility at NASA Stennis Space Center (NASA SSC). NASA/SSC s Mission in Rocket Propulsion Testing Is to Acquire Test Performance Data for Verification, Validation and Qualification of Propulsion Systems Hardware. These must be accurate reliable comprehensive and timely. Data acquisition in a rocket propulsion test environment is challenging: severe temporal transient dynamic environments, large thermal gradients, vacuum to 15 ksi pressure regimes SSC has developed and employs DAS, control systems and control systems and robust instrumentation that effectively satisfies these challenges.

  14. Activation of the E1 Ultra High Pressure Propulsion Test Facility at Stennis Space Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Messer, Bradley; Messer, Elisabeth; Sewell, Dale; Sass, Jared; Lott, Jeff; Dutreix, Lionel, III

    2001-01-01

    After a decade of construction and a year of activation the El Ultra High Pressure Propulsion Test Facility at NASA's Stennis Space Center is fully operational. The El UHP Propulsion Test Facility is a multi-cell, multi-purpose component and engine test facility . The facility is capable of delivering cryogenic propellants at low, high, and ultra high pressures with flow rates ranging from a few pounds per second up to two thousand pounds per second. Facility activation is defined as a series of tasks required to transition between completion of construction and facility operational readiness. Activating the El UHP Propulsion Test Facility involved independent system checkouts, propellant system leak checks, fluid and gas sampling, gaseous system blow downs, pressurization and vent system checkouts, valve stability testing, valve tuning cryogenic cold flows, and functional readiness tests.

  15. Wind Tunnel and Propulsion Test Facilities: An Assessment of NASA's Capabilities to Serve National Needs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anton, Philip S.; Gritton, Eugene C.; Mesic, Richard; Steinberg, Paul; Johnson, Dana J.

    2004-01-01

    This monograph reveals and discusses the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) wind tunnel and propulsion test facility management issues that are creating real risks to the United States' competitive aeronautics advantage.

  16. A Nuclear-Powered Laser-Accelerated Plasma Propulsion System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kammash, Terry

    2003-01-01

    Recent experiments at the University of Michigan and other laboratories throughout the world have demonstrated that ultrafast (very short pulse length) lasers can accelerate charged particles to relativistic speeds. The terrawatt laser at the University of Michigan has generated a beam of protons containing more than 1010 particles at a mean energy of over one Mev while the petawatt laser at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has produced proton beams containing more than 1014 particles with maximum energy of 58 Mev and a mean energy of about 6 Mev. Using the latter data as a basis for a present-day LAPPS (Laser Accelerated Plasma Propulsion System) propulsion device we show that it can produce a specific impulse of several million seconds albeit at a fraction of a Newton of thrust. We show that if the thrust can be increased to a modest 25 Newtons a fly-by robotic interstellar mission to 10,000 AU can be achieved in about 26 years, while a round trip to Mars will be accomplished in about 6 months. In both instances a one MWe nuclear power system with a mass of about 5 MT will be needed to drive the laser, and the recently announced NASA's Nuclear Space Initiative should be able to address such reactors in the near future.

  17. Antiproton powered propulsion with magnetically confined plasma engines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lapointe, Michael R.

    1989-01-01

    The reaction of the matter-antimatter annihilation, with its specific energy being over 250 times the specific energy released in nuclear fusion, is considered as an energy source for spacecraft propulsion. A concept of a magnetically confined pulsed plasma engine is described. In this concept, antiproton beams are injected axially into a pulsed magnetic mirror system, where they annihilate with an initially neutral hydrogen gas; the resulting charge annihilation products transfer energy to the hydrogen propellant, which is then exhausted through one end of the pulsed mirror system to provide thrust. Numerical simulations were developed to calculate the annihilation rate of antiprotons in hydrogen and to follow the resulting ion, muon, and electron/positron number density evolutions.

  18. Antiproton powered propulsion with magnetically confined plasma engines

    SciTech Connect

    Lapointe, M.R.

    1989-01-01

    The reaction of the matter-antimatter annihilation, with its specific energy being over 250 times the specific energy released in nuclear fusion, is considered as an energy source for spacecraft propulsion. A concept of a magnetically confined pulsed plasma engine is described. In this concept, antiproton beams are injected axially into a pulsed magnetic mirror system, where they annihilate with an initially neutral hydrogen gas; the resulting charge annihilation products transfer energy to the hydrogen propellant, which is then exhausted through one end of the pulsed mirror system to provide thrust. Numerical simulations were developed to calculate the annihilation rate of antiprotons in hydrogen and to follow the resulting ion, muon, and electron/positron number density evolutions. 22 refs.

  19. Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Test Facilities Subpanel. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Allen, G.C.; Warren, J.W.; Martinell, J.; Clark, J.S.; Perkins, D.

    1993-04-01

    On 20 Jul. 1989, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, President George Bush proclaimed his vision for manned space exploration. He stated, 'First for the coming decade, for the 1990's, Space Station Freedom, the next critical step in our space endeavors. And next, for the new century, back to the Moon. Back to the future. And this time, back to stay. And then, a journey into tomorrow, a journey to another planet, a manned mission to Mars.' On 2 Nov. 1989, the President approved a national space policy reaffirming the long range goal of the civil space program: to 'expand human presence and activity beyond Earth orbit into the solar system.' And on 11 May 1990, he specified the goal of landing Astronauts on Mars by 2019, the 50th anniversary of man's first steps on the Moon. To safely and ever permanently venture beyond near Earth environment as charged by the President, mankind must bring to bear extensive new technologies. These include heavy lift launch capability from Earth to low-Earth orbit, automated space rendezvous and docking of large masses, zero gravity countermeasures, and closed loop life support systems. One technology enhancing, and perhaps enabling, the piloted Mars missions is nuclear propulsion, with great benefits over chemical propulsion. Asserting the potential benefits of nuclear propulsion, NASA has sponsored workshops in Nuclear Electric Propulsion and Nuclear Thermal Propulsion and has initiated a tri-agency planning process to ensure that appropriate resources are engaged to meet this exciting technical challenge. At the core of this planning process, NASA, DOE, and DOD established six Nuclear Propulsion Technical Panels in 1991 to provide groundwork for a possible tri-agency Nuclear Propulsion Program and to address the President's vision by advocating an aggressive program in nuclear propulsion. To this end the Nuclear Electric Propulsion Technology Panel has focused it energies.

  20. Magnetic-Nozzle Studies for Fusion Propulsion Applications: Gigawatt Plasma Source Operation and Magnetic Nozzle Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gilland, James H.; Mikekkides, Ioannis; Mikellides, Pavlos; Gregorek, Gerald; Marriott, Darin

    2004-01-01

    This project has been a multiyear effort to assess the feasibility of a key process inherent to virtually all fusion propulsion concepts: the expansion of a fusion-grade plasma through a diverging magnetic field. Current fusion energy research touches on this process only indirectly through studies of plasma divertors designed to remove the fusion products from a reactor. This project was aimed at directly addressing propulsion system issues, without the expense of constructing a fusion reactor. Instead, the program designed, constructed, and operated a facility suitable for simulating fusion reactor grade edge plasmas, and to examine their expansion in an expanding magnetic nozzle. The approach was to create and accelerate a dense (up to l0(exp 20)/m) plasma, stagnate it in a converging magnetic field to convert kinetic energy to thermal energy, and examine the subsequent expansion of the hot (100's eV) plasma in a subsequent magnetic nozzle. Throughout the project, there has been a parallel effort between theoretical and numerical design and modelling of the experiment and the experiment itself. In particular, the MACH2 code was used to design and predict the performance of the magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) plasma accelerator, and to design and predict the design and expected behavior for the magnetic field coils that could be added later. Progress to date includes the theoretical accelerator design and construction, development of the power and vacuum systems to accommodate the powers and mass flow rates of interest to out research, operation of the accelerator and comparison to theoretical predictions, and computational analysis of future magnetic field coils and the expected performance of an integrated source-nozzle experiment.

  1. Low Cost Propulsion Technology Testing at the Stennis Space Center: Propulsion Test Article and the Horizontal Test Facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fisher, Mark F.; King, Richard F.; Chenevert, Donald J.

    1998-01-01

    The need for low cost access to space has initiated the development of low cost liquid rocket engine and propulsion system hardware at the Marshall Space Flight Center. This hardware will be tested at the Stennis Space Center's B-2 test stand. This stand has been reactivated for the testing of the Marshall designed Fastrac engine and the Propulsion Test Article. The RP-1 and LOX engine is a turbopump fed gas generator rocket with an ablative nozzle which has a thrust of 60,000 lbf. The Propulsion Test Article (PTA) is a test bed for low cost propulsion system hardware including a composite RP-I tank, flight feedlines and pressurization system, stacked in a booster configuration. The PTA is located near the center line of the B-2 test stand, firing vertically into the water cooled flame deflector. A new second position on the B-2 test stand has been designed and built for the horizontal testing of the Fastrac engine in direct support of the X-34 launch vehicle. The design and integration of these test facilities as well as the coordination which was required between the two Centers is described and lessons learned are provided. The construction of the horizontal test position is discussed in detail. The activation of these facilities is examined and the major test milestones are described.

  2. Antiproton powered propulsion with magnetically confined plasma engines

    SciTech Connect

    Lapointe, M.R.

    1989-08-01

    Matter-antimatter annihilation releases more energy per unit mass than any other method of energy production, making it an attractive energy source for spacecraft propulsion. In the magnetically confined plasma engine, antiproton beams are injected axially into a pulsed magnetic mirror system, where they annihilate with an initially neutral hydrogen gas. The resulting charged annihilation products transfer energy to the hydrogen propellant, which is then exhausted through one end of the pulsed mirror system to provide thrust. The calculated energy transfer efficiencies for a low number density (10(14)/cu cm) hydrogen propellant are insufficient to warrant operating the engine in this mode. Efficiencies are improved using moderate propellant number densities (10(16)/cu cm), but the energy transferred to the plasma in a realistic magnetic mirror system is generally limited to less than 2 percent of the initial proton-antiproton annihilation energy. The energy transfer efficiencies are highest for high number density (10(18)/cu cm) propellants, but plasma temperatures are reduced by excessive radiation losses. Low to moderate thrust over a wide range of specific impulse can be generated with moderate propellant number densities, while higher thrust but lower specific impulse may be generated using high propellant number densities. Significant mass will be required to shield the superconducting magnet coils from the high energy gamma radiation emitted by neutral pion decay. The mass of such a radiation shield may dominate the total engine mass, and could severely diminish the performance of antiproton powered engines which utilize magnetic confinement. The problem is compounded in the antiproton powered plasma engine, where lower energy plasma bremsstrahlung radiation may cause shield surface ablation and degradation.

  3. Antiproton powered propulsion with magnetically confined plasma engines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lapointe, Michael R.

    1989-01-01

    Matter-antimatter annihilation releases more energy per unit mass than any other method of energy production, making it an attractive energy source for spacecraft propulsion. In the magnetically confined plasma engine, antiproton beams are injected axially into a pulsed magnetic mirror system, where they annihilate with an initially neutral hydrogen gas. The resulting charged annihilation products transfer energy to the hydrogen propellant, which is then exhausted through one end of the pulsed mirror system to provide thrust. The calculated energy transfer efficiencies for a low number density (10(14)/cu cm) hydrogen propellant are insufficient to warrant operating the engine in this mode. Efficiencies are improved using moderate propellant number densities (10(16)/cu cm), but the energy transferred to the plasma in a realistic magnetic mirror system is generally limited to less than 2 percent of the initial proton-antiproton annihilation energy. The energy transfer efficiencies are highest for high number density (10(18)/cu cm) propellants, but plasma temperatures are reduced by excessive radiation losses. Low to moderate thrust over a wide range of specific impulse can be generated with moderate propellant number densities, while higher thrust but lower specific impulse may be generated using high propellant number densities. Significant mass will be required to shield the superconducting magnet coils from the high energy gamma radiation emitted by neutral pion decay. The mass of such a radiation shield may dominate the total engine mass, and could severely diminish the performance of antiproton powered engines which utilize magnetic confinement. The problem is compounded in the antiproton powered plasma engine, where lower energy plasma bremsstrahlung radiation may cause shield surface ablation and degradation.

  4. Engineered plasma interactions for geomagnetic propulsion of ultra small satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Palmer, Jeremy A.; Boerner, Jeremiah J.; Hughes, Thomas P.; Bennett, Guy R.

    2013-05-01

    Previous astrophysical studies have explained the orbital dynamics of particles that acquire a high electrostatic charge. In low Earth orbit, the charge collected by a microscopic particle or an ultra-small, low-mass satellite interacts with the geomagnetic field to induce the Lorentz force which, in the ideal case, may be exploited as a form of propellantless propulsion. Efficient mechanisms for negative and positive electrostatic charging of a so-called attosatellite are proposed considering material, geometry, and emission interactions with the ionosphere's neutral plasma with characteristic Debye length. A novel model-based plasma physics study was undertaken to optimize the positive charge mechanism quantified by the system charge-to-mass ratio. In the context of the practical system design considered, a positive charge-to-mass ratio on the order of 1.9x10-9 C/kg is possible with maximum spacecraft potential equal to the sum of the kinetic energy of electrons from active field emission (+43V) and less than +5V from passive elements. The maximum positive potential is less than what is possible with negative electrostatic charging due to differences in thermal velocity and number density of electronic and ionic species. These insights are the foundation of a practical system design.

  5. Ablation of carbon-doped liquid propellant in laser plasma propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, Z. Y.; Liang, T.; Zhang, S. Q.; Gao, L.; Gao, H.; Zhang, Z. L.

    2016-04-01

    Carbon-doped liquid glycerol ablated by nanosecond pulse laser is investigated in laser plasma propulsion. It is found that the propulsion is much more correlated with the carbon content. The doped carbon can change the laser intensity and laser focal position so as to reduce the splashing quantity of the glycerol. Less consumption of the liquid volume results in a high specific impulse.

  6. Proposed Facility Modifications to Support Propulsion Systems Testing Under Simulated Space Conditions at Plum Brook Station's Spacecraft Propulsion Research Facility (B-2)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Edwards, Daryl A.

    2007-01-01

    Preparing NASA's Plum Brook Station's Spacecraft Propulsion Research Facility (B-2) to support NASA's new generation of launch vehicles has raised many challenges for B-2 s support staff. The facility provides a unique capability to test chemical propulsion systems/vehicles while simulating space thermal and vacuum environments. Designed and constructed 4 decades ago to support upper stage cryogenic engine/vehicle system development, the Plum Brook Station B-2 facility will require modifications to support the larger, more powerful, and more advanced engine systems for the next generation of vehicles leaving earth's orbit. Engine design improvements over the years have included large area expansion ratio nozzles, greater combustion chamber pressures, and advanced materials. Consequently, it has become necessary to determine what facility changes are required and how the facility can be adapted to support varying customers and their specific test needs. Instrumental in this task is understanding the present facility capabilities and identifying what reasonable changes can be implemented. A variety of approaches and analytical tools are being employed to gain this understanding. This paper discusses some of the challenges in applying these tools to this project and expected facility configuration to support the varying customer needs.

  7. Proposed Facility Modifications to Support Propulsion Systems Testing Under Simulated Space Conditions at Plum Brook Station's Spacecraft Propulsion Research Facility (B-2)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Edwards, Daryl A.

    2008-01-01

    Preparing NASA's Plum Brook Station's Spacecraft Propulsion Research Facility (B-2) to support NASA's new generation of launch vehicles has raised many challenges for B-2's support staff. The facility provides a unique capability to test chemical propulsion systems/vehicles while simulating space thermal and vacuum environments. Designed and constructed in the early 1960s to support upper stage cryogenic engine/vehicle system development, the Plum Brook Station B-2 facility will require modifications to support the larger, more powerful, and more advanced engine systems for the next generation of vehicles leaving earth's orbit. Engine design improvements over the years have included large area expansion ratio nozzles, greater combustion chamber pressures, and advanced materials. Consequently, it has become necessary to determine what facility changes are required and how the facility can be adapted to support varying customers and their specific test needs. Exhaust system performance, including understanding the present facility capabilities, is the primary focus of this work. A variety of approaches and analytical tools are being employed to gain this understanding. This presentation discusses some of the challenges in applying these tools to this project and expected facility configuration to support the varying customer needs.

  8. Honeycomblike large area LaB6 plasma source for Multi-Purpose Plasma facility.

    PubMed

    Woo, Hyun-Jong; Chung, Kyu-Sun; You, Hyun-Jong; Lee, Myoung-Jae; Lho, Taihyeop; Choh, Kwon Kook; Yoon, Jung-Sik; Jung, Yong Ho; Lee, Bongju; Yoo, Suk Jae; Kwon, Myeon

    2007-10-01

    A Multi-Purpose Plasma (MP(2)) facility has been renovated from Hanbit mirror device [Kwon et al., Nucl. Fusion 43, 686 (2003)] by adopting the same philosophy of diversified plasma simulator (DiPS) [Chung et al., Contrib. Plasma Phys. 46, 354 (2006)] by installing two plasma sources: LaB(6) (dc) and helicon (rf) plasma sources; and making three distinct simulators: divertor plasma simulator, space propulsion simulator, and astrophysics simulator. During the first renovation stage, a honeycomblike large area LaB(6) (HLA-LaB(6)) cathode was developed for the divertor plasma simulator to improve the resistance against the thermal shock fragility for large and high density plasma generation. A HLA-LaB(6) cathode is composed of the one inner cathode with 4 in. diameter and the six outer cathodes with 2 in. diameter along with separate graphite heaters. The first plasma is generated with Ar gas and its properties are measured by the electric probes with various discharge currents and magnetic field configurations. Plasma density at the middle of central cell reaches up to 2.6 x 10(12) cm(-3), while the electron temperature remains around 3-3.5 eV at the low discharge current of less than 45 A, and the magnetic field intensity of 870 G. Unique features of electric property of heaters, plasma density profiles, is explained comparing with those of single LaB(6) cathode with 4 in. diameter in DiPS. PMID:17979417

  9. Honeycomblike large area LaB6 plasma source for Multi-Purpose Plasma facility

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woo, Hyun-Jong; Chung, Kyu-Sun; You, Hyun-Jong; Lee, Myoung-Jae; Lho, Taihyeop; Choh, Kwon Kook; Yoon, Jung-Sik; Jung, Yong Ho; Lee, Bongju; Yoo, Suk Jae; Kwon, Myeon

    2007-10-01

    A Multi-Purpose Plasma (MP2) facility has been renovated from Hanbit mirror device [Kwon et al., Nucl. Fusion 43, 686 (2003)] by adopting the same philosophy of diversified plasma simulator (DiPS) [Chung et al., Contrib. Plasma Phys. 46, 354 (2006)] by installing two plasma sources: LaB6 (dc) and helicon (rf) plasma sources; and making three distinct simulators: divertor plasma simulator, space propulsion simulator, and astrophysics simulator. During the first renovation stage, a honeycomblike large area LaB6 (HLA-LaB6) cathode was developed for the divertor plasma simulator to improve the resistance against the thermal shock fragility for large and high density plasma generation. A HLA-LaB6 cathode is composed of the one inner cathode with 4in. diameter and the six outer cathodes with 2in. diameter along with separate graphite heaters. The first plasma is generated with Ar gas and its properties are measured by the electric probes with various discharge currents and magnetic field configurations. Plasma density at the middle of central cell reaches up to 2.6×1012 cm-3, while the electron temperature remains around 3-3.5eV at the low discharge current of less than 45A, and the magnetic field intensity of 870G. Unique features of electric property of heaters, plasma density profiles, is explained comparing with those of single LaB6 cathode with 4in. diameter in DiPS.

  10. Test Facilities in Support of High Power Electric Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    VanDyke, Melissa; Houts, Mike; Godfroy, Thomas; Dickens, Ricky; Martin, James J.; Salvail, Patrick; Carter, Robert

    2002-01-01

    Successful development of space fission systems requires an extensive program of affordable and realistic testing. In addition to tests related to design/development of the fission system, realistic testing of the actual flight unit must also be performed. If the system is designed to operate within established radiation damage and fuel burn up limits while simultaneously being designed to allow close simulation of heat from fission using resistance heaters, high confidence in fission system performance and lifetime can be attained through non-nuclear testing. Through demonstration of systems concepts (designed by DOE National Laboratories) in relevant environments, this philosophy has been demonstrated through hardware testing in the High Power Propulsion Thermal Simulator (HPPTS). The HPPTS is designed to enable very realistic non-nuclear testing of space fission systems. Ongoing research at the HPPTS is geared towards facilitating research, development, system integration, and system utilization via cooperative efforts with DOE labs, industry, universities, and other NASA centers. Through hardware based design and testing, the HPPTS investigates High Power Electric Propulsion (HPEP) component, subsystem, and integrated system design and performance.

  11. Test Facilities in Support of High Power Electric Propulsion Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Dyke, Melissa; Houts, Mike; Godfroy, Thomas; Dickens, Ricky; Martin, James J.; Salvail, Patrick; Carter, Robert

    2003-01-01

    Successful development of space fission systems requires an extensive program of affordable and realistic testing. In addition to tests related to design/development of the fission system, realistic testing of the actual flight unit must also be performed. If the system is designed to operate within established radiation damage and fuel burn up limits while simultaneously being designed to allow close simulation of heat from fission using resistance heaters, high confidence in fission system performance and lifetime can be attained through non-nuclear testing. Through demonstration of systems concepts (designed by DOE National Laboratories) in relevant environments, this philosophy has been demonstrated through hardware testing in the High Power Propulsion Thermal Simulator (HPPTS). The HPPTS is designed to enable very realistic non-nuclear testing of space fission systems. Ongoing research at the HPPTS is geared towards facilitating research, development, system integration, and system utilization via cooperative efforts with DOE labs, industry, universities, and other NASA centers. Through hardware based design and testing, the HPPTS investigates High Power Electric Propulsion (HPEP) component, subsystem, and integrated system design and performance.

  12. Plasma Propulsion of a Metallic Microdroplet and its Deformation upon Laser Impact

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kurilovich, Dmitry; Klein, Alexander L.; Torretti, Francesco; Lassise, Adam; Hoekstra, Ronnie; Ubachs, Wim; Gelderblom, Hanneke; Versolato, Oscar O.

    2016-07-01

    The propulsion of a liquid indium-tin microdroplet by nanosecond-pulse laser impact is experimentally investigated. We capture the physics of the droplet propulsion in a scaling law that accurately describes the plasma-imparted momentum transfer over nearly three decades of pulse energy, enabling the optimization of the laser-droplet coupling. The subsequent deformation of the droplet is described by an analytical model that accounts for the droplet's propulsion velocity and the liquid properties. Comparing our findings to those from vaporization-accelerated millimeter-sized water droplets, we demonstrate that the fluid-dynamic response of laser-impacted droplets is scalable and decoupled from the propulsion mechanism. By contrast, the physics behind the propulsion of liquid-metal droplets differs from that of water. It is studied here in detail and under industrially relevant conditions as found in next-generation nanolithography machines.

  13. Electric propulsion. [pulsed plasma thruster and electron bombardment ion engine for MSAT attitude control and stationkeeping

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1982-01-01

    An alternative propulsion subsystem for MSAT is presented which has a potential of reducing the satellite weight by more than 15%. The characteristics of pulsed plasma and ion engines are described and used to estimate of the mass of the propellant and thrusters for attitude control and stationkeeping functions for MSAT. Preliminary estimates indicate that the electric propulsion systems could also replace the large momentum wheels necessary to counteract the solar pressure; however, the fine pointing wheels would be retained. Estimates also show that either electric propulsion system can save approximately 18% to 20% of the initial 4,000 kg mass. The issues that require further experimentation are mentioned.

  14. Operational summary of an electric propulsion long term test facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Trump, G. E.; James, E. L.; Bechtel, R. T.

    1982-01-01

    An automated test facility capable of simultaneously operating three 2.5 kW, 30-cm mercury ion thrusters and their power processors is described, along with a test program conducted for the documentation of thruster characteristics as a function of time. Facility controls are analog, with full redundancy, so that in the event of malfunction the facility automaticcally activates a backup mode and notifies an operator. Test data are recorded by a central data collection system and processed as daily averages. The facility has operated continuously for a period of 37 months, over which nine mercury ion thrusters and four power processor units accumulated a total of over 14,500 hours of thruster operating time.

  15. CARS temperature measurements in a hypersonic propulsion test facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jarrett, O., Jr.; Smith, M. W.; Antcliff, R. R.; Northam, G. B.; Cutler, A. D.

    1990-01-01

    Static-temperature measurements performed in a reacting vitiated air-hydrogen Mach-2 flow in a duct in Test Cell 2 at NASA LaRC by using a coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy (CARS) system are discussed. The hypersonic propulsion Test Cell 2 hardware is outlined with emphasis on optical access ports and safety features in the design of the Test Cell. Such design considerations as vibration, noise, contamination from flow field or atmospheric-borne dust, unwanted laser- and electrically-induced combustion, and movement of the sampling volume in the flow are presented. The CARS system is described, and focus is placed on the principle and components of system-to-monochromator signal coupling. Contour plots of scramjet combustor static temperature in a reacting-flow region are presented for three stations, and it is noted that the measurements reveal such features in the flow as maximum temperature near the model wall in the region of the injector footprint.

  16. CARS Temperature Measurements in a Hypersonic Propulsion Test Facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jarrett, Olin, Jr.; Smith, M. W.; Antcliff, R. R.; Northam, G. Burt; Cutler, A. D.; Capriotti, D. P.; Taylor, D. J.

    1990-01-01

    Nonintrusive diagnostic measurements were performed in the supersonic reacting flow of the Hypersonic Propulsion Test Cell 2 at NASA-Langley. A Coherent Anti-stokes Raman Spectroscopy (CARS) system was assembled specifically for the test cell environment. System design considerations were: (1) test cell noise and vibration; (2) contamination from flow field or atmospheric borne dust; (3) unwanted laser or electrically induced combustion (inside or outside the duct); (4) efficient signal collection; (5) signal splitting to span the wide dynamic range present throughout the flow field; (6) movement of the sampling volume in the flow; and (7) modification of the scramjet model duct to permit optical access to the reacting flow with the CARS system. The flow in the duct was a nominal Mach 2 flow with static pressure near one atmosphere. A single perpendicular injector introduced hydrogen into the flow behind a rearward facing step. CARS data was obtained in three planes downstream of the injection region. At least 20 CARS data points were collected at each of the regularly spaced sampling locations in each data plane. Contour plots of scramjet combustor static temperature in a reacting flow region are presented.

  17. An assessment of testing requirement impacts on nuclear thermal propulsion ground test facility design

    SciTech Connect

    Shipers, L.R.; Ottinger, C.A.; Sanchez, L.C.

    1993-10-25

    Programs to develop solid core nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems have been under way at the Department of Defense (DoD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Department of Energy (DOE). These programs have recognized the need for a new ground test facility to support development of NTP systems. However, the different military and civilian applications have led to different ground test facility requirements. The Department of Energy (DOE) in its role as landlord and operator of the proposed research reactor test facilities has initiated an effort to explore opportunities for a common ground test facility to meet both DoD and NASA needs. The baseline design and operating limits of the proposed DoD NTP ground test facility are described. The NASA ground test facility requirements are reviewed and their potential impact on the DoD facility baseline is discussed.

  18. Characterization of Vacuum Facility Background Gas Through Simulation and Considerations for Electric Propulsion Ground Testing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yim, John T.; Burt, Jonathan M.

    2015-01-01

    The background gas in a vacuum facility for electric propulsion ground testing is examined in detail through a series of cold flow simulations using a direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) code. The focus here is on the background gas itself, its structure and characteristics, rather than assessing its interaction and impact on thruster operation. The background gas, which is often incorrectly characterized as uniform, is found to have a notable velocity within a test facility. The gas velocity has an impact on the proper measurement of pressure and the calculation of ingestion flux to a thruster. There are also considerations for best practices for tests that involve the introduction of supplemental gas flows to artificially increase the background pressure. All of these effects need to be accounted for to properly characterize the operation of electric propulsion thrusters across different ground test vacuum facilities.

  19. Plasma Propulsion Research at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sheehy, Jeffrey A.

    2004-01-01

    The Propulsion Research Center at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center is pursuing a range of research efforts aimed at identifying and developing new technologies for primary spacecraft propulsion. Efficient high-power electric propulsion (Ep) thrusters are a particular area of emphasis; these would enable the relatively rapid transit of large payloads about the solar system for unmanned or manned science and exploration. Such a mission would make heavy demands on the propulsion system, which may be required to run reliably for several years at a specific impulse approaching 10,OOO s with an efficiency of turning electrical power into jet power of at least 70%. The transit time to a destination scales approximately inversely with the cube root of the specific power, which is the ratio of jet power to power-plant mass. Consequently, reducing a trip time by half requires roughly an eight-fold increase in specific power. Given a renewed NASA commitment to space nuclear power, developing efficient EP thrusters with high jet power (> 100 kW) would seem to provide the most direct means of significantly increasing the specific power and hence reducing trip times. In particular, electromagnetic devices, with their high inherent thrust densities, should be better suited to high power applications than thrusters which depend exclusively on electrostatic forces for propellant acceleration.

  20. Magnetic Dipole Inflation with Cascaded ARC and Applications to Mini-Magnetospheric Plasma Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Giersch, L.; Winglee, R.; Slough, J.; Ziemba, T.; Euripides, P.

    2003-01-01

    Mini-Magnetospheric Plasma Propulsion (M2P2) seeks to create a plasma-inflated magnetic bubble capable of intercepting significant thrust from the solar wind for the purposes of high speed, high efficiency spacecraft propulsion. Previous laboratory experiments into the M2P2 concept have primarily used helicon plasma sources to inflate the dipole magnetic field. The work presented here uses an alternative plasma source, the cascaded arc, in a geometry similar to that used in previous helicon experiments. Time resolved measurements of the equatorial plasma density have been conducted and the results are discussed. The equatorial plasma density transitions from an initially asymmetric configuration early in the shot to a quasisymmetric configuration during plasma production, and then returns to an asymmetric configuration when the source is shut off. The exact reasons for these changes in configuration are unknown, but convection of the loaded flux tube is suspected. The diffusion time was found to be an order of magnitude longer than the Bohm diffusion time for the period of time after the plasma source was shut off. The data collected indicate the plasma has an electron temperature of approximately 11 eV, an order of magnitude hotter than plasmas generated by cascaded arcs operating under different conditions. In addition, indirect evidence suggests that the plasma has a beta of order unity in the source region.

  1. NASA's Propulsion Research Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The grand opening of NASA's new, world-class laboratory for research into future space transportation technologies located at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama, took place in July 2004. The state-of-the-art Propulsion Research Laboratory (PRL) serves as a leading national resource for advanced space propulsion research. Its purpose is to conduct research that will lead to the creation and development of innovative propulsion technologies for space exploration. The facility is the epicenter of the effort to move the U.S. space program beyond the confines of conventional chemical propulsion into an era of greatly improved access to space and rapid transit throughout the solar system. The laboratory is designed to accommodate researchers from across the United States, including scientists and engineers from NASA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, universities, and industry. The facility, with 66,000 square feet of useable laboratory space, features a high degree of experimental capability. Its flexibility allows it to address a broad range of propulsion technologies and concepts, such as plasma, electromagnetic, thermodynamic, and propellant propulsion. An important area of emphasis is the development and utilization of advanced energy sources, including highly energetic chemical reactions, solar energy, and processes based on fission, fusion, and antimatter. The Propulsion Research Laboratory is vital for developing the advanced propulsion technologies needed to open up the space frontier, and sets the stage of research that could revolutionize space transportation for a broad range of applications.

  2. Superconducting applications in propulsion systems. Magnetic insulation for plasma propulsion devices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gonzalez, Dora E.; Karr, Gerald R.

    1990-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to review the status of knowledge of the basic concepts needed to establish design parameters for effective magnetic insulation. The objective is to estimate the effectiveness of the magnetic field in insulating the plasma, to calculate the magnitude of the magnetic field necessary to reduce the heat transfer to the walls sufficiently enough to demonstrate the potential of magnetically driven plasma rockets.

  3. An Overview of Facilities and Capabilities to Support the Development of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    James Werner; Sam Bhattacharyya; Mike Houts

    2011-02-01

    Abstract. The future of American space exploration depends on the ability to rapidly and economically access locations of interest throughout the solar system. There is a large body of work (both in the US and the Former Soviet Union) that show that Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is the most technically mature, advanced propulsion system that can enable this rapid and economical access by its ability to provide a step increase above what is a feasible using a traditional chemical rocket system. For an NTP system to be deployed, the earlier measurements and recent predictions of the performance of the fuel and the reactor system need to be confirmed experimentally prior to launch. Major fuel and reactor system issues to be addressed include fuel performance at temperature, hydrogen compatibility, fission product retention, and restart capability. The prime issue to be addressed for reactor system performance testing involves finding an affordable and environmentally acceptable method to test a range of engine sizes using a combination of nuclear and non-nuclear test facilities. This paper provides an assessment of some of the capabilities and facilities that are available or will be needed to develop and test the nuclear fuel, and reactor components. It will also address briefly options to take advantage of the greatly improvement in computation/simulation and materials processing capabilities that would contribute to making the development of an NTP system more affordable. Keywords: Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP), Fuel fabrication, nuclear testing, test facilities.

  4. Coaxial plasma thrusters for high specific impulse propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schoenberg, Kurt F.; Gerwin, Richard A.; Barnes, Cris W.; Henins, Ivars; Mayo, Robert; Moses, Ronald, Jr.; Scarberry, Richard; Wurden, Glen

    1991-01-01

    A fundamental basis for coaxial plasma thruster performance is presented and the steady-state, ideal MHD properties of a coaxial thruster using an annular magnetic nozzle are discussed. Formulas for power usage, thrust, mass flow rate, and specific impulse are acquired and employed to assess thruster performance. The performance estimates are compared with the observed properties of an unoptimized coaxial plasma gun. These comparisons support the hypothesis that ideal MHD has an important role in coaxial plasma thruster dynamics.

  5. Microwave plasma generation of hydrogen atoms for rocket propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chapman, R.; Filpus, J.; Morin, T.; Snellenberger, R.; Asmussen, J.; Hawley, M.; Kerber, R.

    1981-01-01

    A flow microwave plasma reaction system is used to study the conversion of hydrogen to hydrogen atoms as a function of pressure, power density, cavity tuning, cavity mode, and time in the plasma zone. Hydrogen atom concentration is measured down-stream from the plasma by NOCl titration. Extensive modeling of the plasma and recombination zones is performed with the plasma zone treated as a backmix reaction system and the recombination zone treated as a plug flow. The thermodynamics and kinetics of the recombination process are examined in detail to provide an understanding of the conversion of recombination energy to gas kinetic energy. It is found that cavity tuning, discharge stability, and optimum power coupling are critically dependent on the system pressure, but nearly independent of the flow rate.

  6. Low energy stable plasma calibration facility

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frederick-Frost, K. M.; Lynch, K. A.

    2007-07-01

    We have designed and fabricated a low energy plasma calibration facility for testing and calibration of rocket-borne charged-particle detectors and for the investigation of plasma sheath formation in an environment with ionospheric plasma energies, densities, and Debye lengths. We describe the vacuum system and associated plasma source, which was modified from a Naval Research Laboratory design [Bowles et al. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 67, 455 (1996)]. Mechanical and electrical modifications to this cylindrical microwave resonant source are outlined together with a different method of operating the magnetron that achieves a stable discharge. This facility produces unmagnetized plasmas with densities from 1×103/cm3to6×105/cm3, electron temperatures from 0.1to1.7eV, and plasma potentials from 0.5to8V depending on varying input microwave power and neutral gas flow. For the range of input microwave power explored (350-600W), the energy density of the plasma remains constant because of an inverse relationship between density and temperature. This relationship allows a wide range of Debye lengths (0.3-8.4cm) to be investigated, which is ideal for simulating the ionospheric plasma sheaths we explore.

  7. Mass savings domain of plasma propulsion for LEO to GEO transfer

    SciTech Connect

    Choueiri, E.Y.; Kelly, A.J.; Jahn, R.G. )

    1993-01-20

    A parametric model is used to study the mass savings of plasma propulsion over advanced chemical propulsion for lower earth orbit (LEO) to geosynchronous orbit (GEO) transfer. Such savings are characterized by stringent requirements of massive payloads (O(10) metric tons) and high power levels (O(100) kW). Mass savings on the order of the payload mass are possible but at the expense of longer transfer times (8--20 months). Typical of the savings domain is the case of a self-field magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster running quasi-steadily, at an [ital I][sub [ital s

  8. Electron cyclotron resonant multicusp magnetic field microwave plasma source for electric propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Dahimene, M.; Mahoney, L.; Asmussen, J.

    1987-05-01

    The development of electrodeless microwave ion and plasma sources has been a recent, very active research project at Michigan State University. The results are efficient, compact microwave discharge configurations that operate at low pressures (0.5 mtorr to 100 mtorr) and efficiently produce low energy ions and free radicals and broad ion beams for oxidation, deposition, and etching experiments. The microwave discharge technology developed for these applications may be useful for application in electric propulsion. This paper reviews this microwave applicator technology and indicates how it may be extended to higher power levels and applied to electric propulsion systems. 12 references.

  9. External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion and Its Potential for the Near Future

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bonometti, J. A.; Morton, P. J.; Schmidt, G. R.

    1999-01-01

    This paper examines External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion (EPPP), a propulsion concept that derives its thrust from plasma waves generated from a series of small, supercritical fission/fusion pulses behind an object in space. For spacecraft applications, a momentum transfer mechanism translates the intense plasma wave energy into a vehicle acceleration that is tolerable to the rest of the spacecraft and its crew. This propulsion concept offers extremely high performance in terms of both specific impulse (Isp) and thrust-to-weight ratio, something that other concepts based on available technology cannot do, The political concerns that suspended work on this type of system (i.e. termination of Project ORION) may now not be as insurmountable as they were in 1965. The appeal of EPPP stems from its relatively low cost and reusability, fast interplanetary transit times, safety and reliability, and independence from major technological breakthroughs. In fact, a first generation EPPP system based on modern-day technology (i.e., GABRIEL - an evolutionary framework- of EPPP concepts) may very well be the only form of propulsion that could realistically be developed to perform ambitious human exploration beyond Mars in the 21st century. It could also provide the most effective approach for deterrence against collision between earth and small planetary objects - a growing concern over recent years.

  10. External pulsed plasma propulsion and its potential for the near future

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bonometti, J. A.; Morton, P. J.; Schmidt, G. R.

    2000-01-01

    This paper examines External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion (EPPP), a propulsion concept that derives its thrust from plasma waves generated from a series of small, supercritical fission/fusion pulses behind an object in space. For spacecraft applications, a momentum transfer mechanism translates the intense plasma wave energy into a vehicle acceleration that is tolerable to the rest of the spacecraft and its crew. This propulsion concept offers extremely high performance in terms of both specific impulse (Isp) and thrust-to-weight ratio, something that other concepts based on available technology cannot do. The political concerns that suspended work on this type of system (i.e., termination of Project ORION) may now not be as insurmountable as they were in 1965. The appeal of EPPP stems from its relatively low cost and reusability, fast interplanetary transit times, safety and reliability, and independence from major technological breakthroughs. In fact, a first generation EPPP system based on modern-day technology (i.e., GABRIEL-an evolutionary framework of EPPP concepts) may very well be the only form of propulsion that could realistically be developed to perform ambitious human exploration beyond Mars in the 21st century. It could also provide the most effective approach for deterrence against collision between earth and small planetary objects-a growing concern over recent years. .

  11. Magnetic Flux Compression Using Detonation Plasma Armatures and Superconductor Stators: Integrated Propulsion and Power Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Litchford, Ron; Robertson, Tony; Hawk, Clark; Turner, Matt; Koelfgen, Syri

    1999-01-01

    This presentation discusses the use of magnetic flux compression for space flight applications as a propulsion and other power applications. The qualities of this technology that make it suitable for spaceflight propulsion and power, are that it has high power density, it can give multimegawatt energy bursts, and terawatt power bursts, it can produce the pulse power for low impedance dense plasma devices (e.g., pulse fusion drivers), and it can produce direct thrust. The issues of a metal vs plasma armature are discussed, and the requirements for high energy output, and fast pulse rise time requires a high speed armature. The plasma armature enables repetitive firing capabilities. The issues concerning the high temperature superconductor stator are also discussed. The concept of the radial mode pulse power generator is described. The proposed research strategy combines the use of computational modeling (i.e., magnetohydrodynamic computations, and finite element modeling) and laboratory experiments to create a demonstration device.

  12. A laser driven fusion plasma for space propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Kammash, T.; Galbraith, D.L. )

    1992-07-01

    The present inertial-confinement fusion concept employs a magnetized target pellet that is driven by a laser beam in conjunction with a tungsten shell whose inner surface is coated with a deuterium-tritium fusion fuel mixture. A laser beam that enters the pellet through a hole simultaneously creates a fusion-grade plasma and gives rise to a powerful, instantaneous magnetic field which thermally insulates the plasma from the material wall. The plasma lifetime of this self-generated magnetic field scheme is dictated by the shock speed in the tungsten shell rather than by the speed of sound in the plasma: it consequently burns much longer and efficiently than plausible alternatives. A manned mission could by these means be completed in a few months rather than a few years, in virtue of the great specific impulse achieved. 8 refs.

  13. A Facility for Testing High-Power Electric Propulsion Systems in Space: A Design Study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Petro, Andrew J.

    2005-01-01

    This paper will describe the results of the preliminary phase of a NASA design study for a facility to test high-power electric propulsion systems in space. The results of this design study are intended to provide a firm foundation for a subsequent detailed design and development activities leading to the deployment of a valuable space facility supporting the new vision of space exploration. The objectives for human and robotic exploration of space can be accomplished affordably, safely and effectively with high-power electric propulsion systems. But, as thruster power levels rise to the hundreds of kilowatts and up to megawatts, their testing will pose stringent and expensive demands on existing Earth-based vacuum facilities. These considerations and the access to near-Earth space provided by the International Space Station (ISS) have led to a renewed interest in space testing. The ISS could provide an excellent platform for a space-based test facility with the continuous vacuum conditions of the natural space environment and no chamber walls to modify the open boundary conditions of the propulsion system exhaust. The platform would be designed to accommodate the side-by-side testing of multiple types of electric thrusters currently under development and thus provide a strong basis for comparing their relative performance. The utility of testing on the station is further enhanced by the human presence, enabling close interaction with and modification of the test hardware in a true laboratory environment. These conditions facilitate rapid development and flight certification at potentially lower cost than with conventional Earth-bound facilities. As an added benefit, the propulsive effect of these tests could provide some drag compensation for the station, reducing the re-boost cost for the orbital facility. While it is expected that the ISS will not be capable of generating continuous levels of high power, the utilization of state-of-the-art energy storage media

  14. Advanced electric propulsion and space plasma contactor research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilbur, P. J.

    1986-01-01

    A series of experiments performed on an 8 cm dia. ring cusp magnetic field ion thruster are described. The results show the effects of anode and cathode position and size, ring cusp axial location and discharge chamber length on plasma ion energy cost and extracted ion fraction. Thruster performance is shown to be improved substantially when optimum values of these parameters are used. Investigations into the basic plasma phenomena associated with the process of plasma contacting are described. The results show the process of electron collection from a background plasma to a hollow cathode plasma contactor exhibits a higher impedance than the process of electron emission from the hollow cathode. The importance of having cold ions present to facilitate the plasma contacting process is shown. Results of experiments into the behavior of hollow cathodes operating at high interelectrode pressures (up to approx. 100 Torr) on nitrogen and ammonia are presented. They suggest that diffuse emission from the insert of a hollow cathode can be sustained at high interelectrode pressures if the cathode is made of non-conducting material and the cathode internal pressure is reduced by evacuating the cathode interior. A theoretical model of discharge chamber operation developed for inert gas thrusters is extended so it can be used to evaluste the performance of mercury ion thrusters. Predictions of the model are compared to experimental results obtained on two 30 cm dia. thrusters.

  15. The propagation of RF wave in a tandem mirror plasma propulsion device

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yang, T. F.; Peng, S.; Chang-Diaz, F. R.

    1990-01-01

    The propagation of RF waves launched in the end and the central cell of the tandem mirror propulsion device has been investigated both theoretically and experimentally. It was found that the amplitude of the wave excited in the plasma peaked while approaching the resonance, but then damped out, indicating strong absorption of the wave by the plasma. The absorption took place near the axis and the midplane of the device. The experimental results confirmed the theoretical prediction of the resonance effect. A very important discovery of this experiment was the broadening of the ICRF Fourier spectrum in the presence of the plasma.

  16. Theory components of the VASIMR plasma propulsion concept

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arefiev, Alexey

    2003-10-01

    The talk presents a selection of theoretical problems all motivated by the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) concept [1]. The focus of the talk is on fundamental physics aspects of VASIMR operation, which are formulated as standalone physics problems. The VASIMR device has a magnetic mirror configuration and consists of three main components: a low energy helicon plasma source; an ion cyclotron-resonance heating (ICRH) section; and a magnetic nozzle, which forms a superalfvenic outgoing plasma flow. The ICRH conditions in VASIMR are fundamentally different from the conventional ICRH, because 1) each ion passes the resonance only once; 2) the ion motion is collisionless; 3) the ion energy gain in a single pass significantly exceeds ion energy in the incoming flow. A self-consistent nonlinear model for the rf-power deposition in the ion cyclotron frequency range into a steady-state plasma flow has been developed [3], which generalizes the linear magnetic beach problem solved by T. Stix. Despite the fact that helicon sources are routinely used for plasma production, the underlying physics mechanism is yet to be established. The talk presents a first-principle theory for light-gas helicon plasma sources with a self-consistent treatment of the particle balance [4], power balance, and rf-field structure [2]. A separation of scales among the particle confinement time, the energy confinement time, and the wave period allows one to consider all three constituents separately prior to combining them into an integrated description. The theory addresses the mystery of the high efficiency of helicon sources at frequencies below the typical helicon frequency. The magnetic nozzle transforms the ion rotational motion into the longitudinal motion and it also ensures plasma detachment from the rocket. The detachment occurs when the energy density of the magnetic field drops below the kinetic energy density of the plasma flow. Then the plasma breaks free

  17. Effluent Containment System for space thermal nuclear propulsion ground test facilities

    SciTech Connect

    1995-08-01

    This report presents the research and development study work performed for the Space Reactor Power System Division of the U.S. Department of Energy on an innovative ECS that would be used during ground testing of a space nuclear thermal rocket engine. A significant portion of the ground test facilities for a space nuclear thermal propulsion engine are the effluent treatment and containment systems. The proposed ECS configuration developed recycles all engine coolant media and does not impact the environment by venting radioactive material. All coolant media, hydrogen and water, are collected, treated for removal of radioactive particulates, and recycled for use in subsequent tests until the end of the facility life. Radioactive materials removed by the treatment systems are recovered, stored for decay of short-lived isotopes, or packaged for disposal as waste. At the end of the useful life, the facility will be decontaminated and dismantled for disposal.

  18. Description of the Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) cryogenic and hot-hydrogen test facility

    SciTech Connect

    Thompson, D.A.; Riffle, G.K.; Merdich, J.A. )

    1993-01-15

    Cryogenic and high-temperature and high-pressure hydrogen test capabilities are required for component development and qualification for the U.S. Air Force Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) program. To effectively support the non-nuclear test needs of the SNTP program, as well as other specialized programs that utilize hydrogen as a working fluid, Allied-Signal Aerospace Company, Garrett Fluid Systems Division (GFSD) is currently developing a hydrogen test facility at our remote San Tan test site. The facility is specifically designed to support turbopump, propellant management valves, instrumentation and general materials evaluation testing with hydrogen at pressures and temperatures representative of actual SNTP engine operating conditions. This paper presents a general description of the SNTP hot-hydrogen test facility including test capabilities, technical approach, and technical status.

  19. High Resolution Spectral Measurements of Electrical Propulsion Plasmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Celik, Murat; Batishchev, Oleg; Martinez-Sanchez, Manuel

    2007-11-01

    Among various diagnostics methods in studying the EP thrusters' plasma, emission spectroscopy provides a non-invasive, fast and economical diagnostics allowing also the ability to access hard to reach locations. This study presents the spectral measurement results of SPT (BHT-200) and TAL (MHT-9) Hall Effect thrusters and mini-Helicon (mHTX@MIT) thruster plasmas. The measurements were conducted using a 750mm focal length spectrometer with a spectral resolution of up to ˜0.01 nm in the UV-VIS-NIR wavelength range, 200-1000nm. For one set of the measurements, collection optics was placed on a portable optical shelf attached to the window port of the vacuum chamber. For another set of measurements the thruster plasma radiation emission was collected using a collimating lens inside the vacuum chamber and the signal was brought out of the chamber to the spectrometer by the use of UV-rated optical fibers. Accurate spectral characterization was done for Xe and Ar plasma in a broad operational range. Additionally, emission spectroscopy was used to detect line radiation due to wall erosion products in SPT, to study the effect of thruster operational parameters on the ceramic lining erosion rate, subsequently of the thruster's lifetime.

  20. Survey of Aerothermodynamics Facilities Useful for the Design of Hypersonic Vehicles Using Air-Breathing Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arnold, James O.; Deiwert, George S.

    1997-01-01

    This paper surveys the use of aerothermodynamic facilities which have been useful in the study of external flows and propulsion aspects of hypersonic, air-breathing vehicles. While the paper is not a survey of all facilities, it covers the utility of shock tunnels and conventional hypersonic blow-down facilities which have been used for hypersonic air-breather studies. The problems confronting researchers in the field of aerothermodynamics are outlined. Results from the T5 GALCIT tunnel for the shock-on lip problem are outlined. Experiments on combustors and short expansion nozzles using the semi-free jet method have been conducted in large shock tunnels. An example which employed the NASA Ames 16-Inch shock tunnel is outlined, and the philosophy of the test technique is described. Conventional blow-down hypersonic wind tunnels are quite useful in hypersonic air-breathing studies. Results from an expansion ramp experiment, simulating the nozzle on a hypersonic air-breather from the NASA Ames 3.5 Foot Hypersonic wind tunnel are summarized. Similar work on expansion nozzles conducted in the NASA Langley hypersonic wind tunnel complex is cited. Free-jet air-frame propulsion integration and configuration stability experiments conducted at Langley in the hypersonic wind tunnel complex on a small generic model are also summarized.

  1. Electric propulsion plasma plume interaction with “Phobos-Soil” spacecraft structural components

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nadiradze, Andrey B.; Obukhov, Vladimir A.; Popov, Garri A.

    2009-05-01

    Assessment was made by calculations for the possible consequences of the effect of plasma plume injected by the solar electric propulsion system (SEPS) on the structural components of "Phobos-Soil" spacecraft (SC). Propulsion system comprises three SPT-140 thrusters, two of which should secure the required total thrust impulse during 8000 hours of operation approximately. Variation of the solar panel (SP) properties as a result of their surface contamination with the products of erosion of thruster and SC structural components is the primary negative consequence of plasma plume effect on the SC. Calculation study for the processes of erosion, particle flow distribution, and contaminating coating formation on the SP surface was made for different SEPS arrangements. It is shown that power reduction for the landing module SP sections, which are subjected to the contaminating coating deposition to the most extent, will not exceed 5% of the nominal level.

  2. An RF heated tandem mirror plasma propulsion study

    SciTech Connect

    Yang, T.F.; Yao, X.; Peng, S.; Krueger, W.A.; Chang-Diaz, F.R.

    1989-01-01

    Experimental results on a tandem mirror hybrid plume rocket involving a three-stage system of plasma injection, heating, and subsequent injection through a magnetic nozzle are presented. In the experiments, a plasma is created by breaking down the gas with electron cyclotron resonance heating at 2 kW in the central cell, and the ion species is then heated to high temperatures with ion cyclotron resonance heating at 10 kW in the end cell. A Langmuir probe measured an electron density of 2.5 x 10 to the 16th/cu m and a temperature of 100 eV in the central cell and an ion density of 1.25 x 10 to the 17th/cu m and a temperature of 500 eV in the end cell. 6 refs.

  3. Rapid Mars transits with exhaust-modulated plasma propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chang-Diaz, Franklin R.; Braden, Ellen; Johnson, Ivan; Hsu, Michael M.; Yang, Tien Fang

    1995-01-01

    The operational characteristics of the Exhaust-Modulated Plasma Rocket are described. Four basic human and robotic mission scenarios to Mars are analyzed using numerical optimization techniques at variable specific impulse and constant power. The device is well suited for 'split-sprint' missions, allowing fast, one-way low-payload human transits of 90 to 104 days, as well as slower, 180-day, high-payload robotic precursor flights. Abort capabilities, essential for human missions, are also explored.

  4. Experimental Research on Plasma Induced by TEA CO2 Laser Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Hong; Cheng, Zuhai; Zuo, Duluo; Zhai, Bingjie; Yu, Liangying; Zhu, Haihong

    2008-04-01

    Results in the air-breathing propulsion experiments with a parabolic light craft and a self-made UV-preionized 100 J TEA CO2 laser device are presented. Air disturbance and the spectrum of the plasma after the interaction of pulsed laser radiation with the light craft were studied. It was found that the focal length of the parabolic light craft had a significant effect on the air-disturbance. Two shock waves were detected for the longer focal length, while only one shock wave detected for the short focal length. The spectrum of the laser-induced plasma, the distribution of the characteristic lines, and the temporal behaviors of the air plasma were studied in detail. The results showed that, the evolution of the laser-induced plasma lasted 20 μs, and the plasma spectrum would reach the maximum intensity at 7 μs.

  5. Study on Electrodeless Electric Propulsion in High-Density Helicon Plasma with Permanent Magnets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ishii, Takamichi; Ishii, Hiroki; Otsuka, Shuhei; Teshigahara, Naoto; Fujitsuka, Hiroaki; Waseda, Shimpei; Kuwahara, Daisuke; Shinohara, Shunjiro

    To establish electrodeless electric propulsion, we have been developing a new electrodeless plasma acceleration thruster using high-density helicon plasmas and permanent magnets, and characterizing them by, e.g., electrostatic and magnetic probes, a high-resolution spectrometer (measuring argon line intensity and line intensity ratio to derive plasma parameters), and a high-speed camera measurements (deriving radial distribution of electron density), in addition to a laser induced fluorescence (LIF) method to measure plasma flow velocity, where they are under development. Here, we will present preliminary acceleration methods using such as Rotating Magnetic Field coil and m = 0 coil along with results of various measurements mentioned above to estimate the plasma performance.

  6. Advanced electric propulsion and space plasma contactor research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilbur, Paul J.

    1987-01-01

    A theory of the plasma contacting process is described and experimental results obtained using three different hollow cathode-based plasma contactors are presented. The existence of a sheath across which the bulk of the voltage drop associated with the contacting process occurs is demonstrated. Test results are shown to agree with a model of a spherical, space-charge-limited double sheath. The concept of ignited mode contactor operation is discussed, which is shown to enhance contactor efficiency when it is collecting electrons. An investigation of the potentials in the plasma plumes downstream of contactors operating at typical conditions is presented. Results of tests performed on hollow cathodes operating at high interelectrode pressures (up to about 1000 Torr) on ammonia are presented and criteria that are necessary to ensure that the cathode will operate properly in this regime are presented. These results suggest that high pressure hollow cathode operation is difficult to achieve and that special care must be taken to assure that the electron emission region remains diffuse and attached to the low work function insert. Experiments conducted to verify results obtained previously using a ring cusp ion source equipped with a moveable anode are described and test results are reported. A theoretical study of hollow cathode operation at high electron emission currents is presented. Preliminary experiments using the constrained sheath optics concept to achieve ion extraction under conditions of high beam current density, low net accelerating voltage and well columniated beamlet formation are discussed.

  7. Numerical Simulation of Plasma Behavior in a Magnetic Nozzle of a Laser-plasma Driven Nuclear Electric Propulsion System

    SciTech Connect

    Kajimura, Y.; Matsuda, N.; Hayashida, K.; Maeno, A.; Nakashima, H.

    2008-12-31

    Numerical simulations of plasma behavior in a magnetic nozzle of a Laser-Plasma Driven Nuclear Electric Propulsion System are conducted. The propellant is heated and accelerated by the laser and expanded isotropically. The magnetic nozzle is a combination of solenoidal coils and used to collimate and guide the plasma to produce thrust. Simulation calculations by a three-dimensional hybrid code are conducted to examine the plasma behaviors in the nozzle and to estimate the thrust efficiency. We also estimate a fraction ({alpha}) of plasma particles leaking in the forward (spacecraft) direction. By a combination of a few coils, we could decrease {alpha} value without degrading the thrust efficiency. Finally, the shaped propellant is proposed to increase the thrust efficiency.

  8. Numerical Simulation of Plasma Behavior in a Magnetic Nozzle of a Laser-plasma Driven Nuclear Electric Propulsion System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kajimura, Y.; Matsuda, N.; Hayashida, K.; Maeno, A.; Nakashima, H.

    2008-12-01

    Numerical simulations of plasma behavior in a magnetic nozzle of a Laser-Plasma Driven Nuclear Electric Propulsion System are conducted. The propellant is heated and accelerated by the laser and expanded isotropically. The magnetic nozzle is a combination of solenoidal coils and used to collimate and guide the plasma to produce thrust. Simulation calculations by a three-dimensional hybrid code are conducted to examine the plasma behaviors in the nozzle and to estimate the thrust efficiency. We also estimate a fraction (α) of plasma particles leaking in the forward (spacecraft) direction. By a combination of a few coils, we could decrease α value without degrading the thrust efficiency. Finally, the shaped propellant is proposed to increase the thrust efficiency.

  9. Simulation of Mini-Magnetospheric Plasma Propulsion (M2P2) Interacting with an External Plasma Wind

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Winglee, R. M.; Euripides, P.; Ziemba, T.; Slough, J.; Giersch, L.

    2003-01-01

    Substantial progress has been made over the last year in the development of the laboratory Mini-Magnetospheric Plasma Propulsion (M2P2) prototype. The laboratory testing has shown that that the plasma can be produced at high neutral gas efficiency, at high temperatures (a few tens of eV) with excellent confinement up to the point where chamber wall interactions dominate the physics. This paper investigates the performance of the prototype as it is opposed by an external plasma acting as a surrogate for the solar wind. The experiments were performed in 5ft diameter by 6ft long vacuum chamber at the University of Washington. The solar wind source comprised of a 33 kWe arc jet attached to a 200 kWe inductively generated plasma source. The dual plasma sources allow the interaction to be studied for different power levels, shot duration and production method. It is shown that plasma from the solar wind source (SWS) is able to penetrate the field of the M2P2 magnetic when no plasma is present. With operation of the M2P2 plasma source at only 1.5 kWe, the penetration of the SWS even at the highest power of operation at 200 kWe is stopped. This deflection is shown to be greatly enhanced over that produced by the magnet alone. In addition it is shown that with the presence of the SWS, M2P2 is able to produce enhanced magnetized plasma production out to at least 10 magnet radii where the field strength is only marginally greater than the terrestrial field. The results are consistent with the initial predictions that kWe M2P2 systems would be able to deflect several hundred kWe plasma winds to produce enhanced propulsion for a spacecraft.

  10. Unsteady loads due to propulsive lift configurations. Part D: The development of an experimental facility for the investigation of scaling effects on propulsive lift configurations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haviland, J. K.; Herling, W. W.

    1978-01-01

    The design and construction of an experimental facility for the investigation of scaling effects in propulsive lift configurations are described. The facility was modeled after an existing full size NASA facility which consisted of a coaxial turbofan jet engine with a rectangular nozzle in a blown surface configuration. The flow field of the model facility was examined with and without a simulated wing surface in place at several locations downstream of the nozzle exit plane. Emphasis was placed on obtaining pressure measurements which were made with static probes and surface pressure ports connected via plastic tubing to condenser microphones for fluctuating measurements. Several pressure spectra were compared with those obtained from the NASA facility, and were used in a preliminary evaluation of scaling laws.

  11. A commercial plasma source ion implantation facility

    SciTech Connect

    Scheuer, J.T.; Adler, R.A.; Horne, W.G.

    1996-10-01

    Empire Hard Chrome has recently installed commercial plasma source ion implantation (PSU) equipment built by North Star Research Corporation. Los Alamos National Laboratory has assisted in this commercialization effort via two Cooperative Research and Development Agreements to develop the plasma source for the equipment and to identify low-risk commercial PSII applications. The PSII system consists of a 1 m x 1 m cylindrical vacuum chamber with a rf plasma source. The pulse modulator is capable of delivering pulses kV and peak currents of 300 A at maximum repetition rate of 400 Hz. thyratron tube to switch a pulse forming network which is tailored to match the dynamic PSII load. In this paper we discuss the PSII system, process facility, and early commercial applications to production tooling.

  12. A Proposed Magnetized Dusty Plasma User Facility

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, E.; Merlino, R. L.; Rosenberg, M.

    2009-11-01

    As the experimental study of dusty (complex) plasmas has advanced over the last two decades, a great deal of new insight has been gained on the complex interaction between the background plasma and charged microparticles. Even through the charged dust grains in a typical experiment can acquire several thousand elementary charges, the large mass of the grains ensures that the charge-to-mass ratio is quite low. As a result, it has been considered experimentally challenging to design an experiment that can achieve full magnetization of ions, electrons, and the charged dust grains. However, with continuing improvements in magnet design and sub-micron particle imaging technologies, it is now possible to contemplate the development of a Magnetized Dusty Plasma Facility. This presentation discusses the design, experimental parameters, and scientific motivation for a flexible, superconducting, 4 Tesla magnetic field user facility for the study of magnetized dusty plasmas. This work is supported by NSF grant number PHY-0936470 (AU), DOE Grant No. DE-FG01-04ER54795 (UI) and DOE Grant No. DE-FG02-04ER54804 (UCSD)

  13. Physics and potentials of fissioning plasmas for space power and propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thom, K.; Schwenk, F. C.; Schneider, R. T.

    1976-01-01

    Fissioning uranium plasmas are the nuclear fuel in conceptual high-temperature gaseous-core reactors for advanced rocket propulsion in space. A gaseous-core nuclear rocket would be a thermal reactor in which an enriched uranium plasma at about 10,000 K is confined in a reflector-moderator cavity where it is nuclear critical and transfers its fission power to a confining propellant flow for the production of thrust at a specific impulse up to 5000 sec. With a thrust-to-engine weight ratio approaching unity, the gaseous-core nuclear rocket could provide for propulsion capabilities needed for manned missions to the nearby planets and for economical cislunar ferry services. Fueled with enriched uranium hexafluoride and operated at temperatures lower than needed for propulsion, the gaseous-core reactor scheme also offers significant benefits in applications for space and terrestrial power. They include high-efficiency power generation at low specific mass, the burnup of certain fission products and actinides, the breeding of U-233 from thorium with short doubling times, and improved convenience of fuel handling and processing in the gaseous phase.

  14. Large-Scale Mini-Magnetosphere Plasma Propulsion (M2P2) Experiments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Winglee, R. M.; Slough, J.; Ziemba, T.; Euripides, P.; Adrian, M. L.; Gallagher, D.; Craven, P.; Tomlinson, W.; Cravens, J.; Burch, J.; Whitaker, Ann F. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Mini-Magnetosphere Plasma Propulsion (M2P2) is an innovative plasma propulsion system that has the potential to propel spacecraft at unprecedented speeds of 50 to 80 km per second with a low-power requirement of approx. 1 kW per 100 kg of payload and approx. 1 kg of neutral gas [fuel] consumption per day of acceleration. Acceleration periods from several days to a few months are envisioned. High specific impulse and efficiency are achieved through coupling of the spacecraft to the 400 km per second solar wind through an artificial magnetosphere. The mini-magnetosphere or inflated magnetic bubble is produced by the injection of cold dense plasma into a spacecraft-generated magnetic field envelope. Magnetic bubble inflation is driven by electromagnetic processes thereby avoiding the material and deployment problems faced by mechanical solar sail designs, Here, we present the theoretical design of M2P2 as well as initial results from experimental testing of an M2P2 prototype demonstrating: 1) inflation of the dipole magnetic field geometry through the internal injection of cold plasma; and 2) deflection of and artificial solar wind by the prototype M2P2 system. In addition, we present plans for direct laboratory measurement of thrust imparted to a prototype M2P2 by an artificial solar wind during the summer of 2001.

  15. Large-Scale Mini-Magnetosphere Plasma Propulsion (M2P2) Experiments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Winglee, R. M.; Slough, J.; Ziemba, T.; Euripides, P.; Gallagher, D.; Craven, P.; Adrian, M. L.; Tomlinson, W.; Cravens, J.; Burch, J.; Rose, M. Franklin (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Mini-Magnetosphere Plasma Propulsion (M2P2) is an innovative plasma propulsion system that has the potential to propel spacecraft at unprecedented speeds of 50 to 80 km/s, with a low power requirement of approx. 1 kW per 100 kg of payload and -1 kg of neutral gas [fuel] consumption per day of acceleration. Acceleration periods from several days to a few months are envisioned. High specific impulse and efficiency are achieved through coupling of the spacecraft to the 400 km/s. solar wind through an artificial magnetosphere. The mini-magnetosphere or inflated magnetic bubble is produced by the injection of cold dense plasma into a spacecraft-generated magnetic field envelope. Magnetic bubble inflation is driven by electromagnetic processes thereby avoiding the material and deployment problems faced by mechanical solar sail designs. Here, we present the theoretical design of M2P2 as well as initial results from experimental testing of an M2P2 prototype demonstrating: 1) inflation of the dipole magnetic field geometry through the internal injection of cold plasma; and 2) deflection of and artificial solar wind by the prototype M2P2 system. In addition, we present plans for direct laboratory measurement of thrust imparted to a prototype M2P2 by an artificial solar wind during the summer of 2001.

  16. Computational model of collisional-radiative nonequilibrium plasma in an air-driven type laser propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Ogino, Yousuke; Ohnishi, Naofumi

    2010-05-06

    A thrust power of a gas-driven laser-propulsion system is obtained through interaction with a propellant gas heated by a laser energy. Therefore, understanding the nonequilibrium nature of laser-produced plasma is essential for increasing available thrust force and for improving energy conversion efficiency from a laser to a propellant gas. In this work, a time-dependent collisional-radiative model for air plasma has been developed to study the effects of nonequilibrium atomic and molecular processes on population densities for an air-driven type laser propulsion. Many elementary processes are considered in the number density range of 10{sup 12}/cm{sup 3}<=N<=10{sup 19}/cm{sup 3} and the temperature range of 300 K<=T<=40,000 K. We then compute the unsteady nature of pulsively heated air plasma. When the ionization relaxation time is the same order as the time scale of a heating pulse, the effects of unsteady ionization are important for estimating air plasma states. From parametric computations, we determine the appropriate conditions for the collisional-radiative steady state, local thermodynamic equilibrium, and corona equilibrium models in that density and temperature range.

  17. Common Data Acquisition Systems (DAS) Software Development for Rocket Propulsion Test (RPT) Test Facilities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hebert, Phillip W., Sr.; Davis, Dawn M.; Turowski, Mark P.; Holladay, Wendy T.; Hughes, Mark S.

    2012-01-01

    The advent of the commercial space launch industry and NASA's more recent resumption of operation of Stennis Space Center's large test facilities after thirty years of contractor control resulted in a need for a non-proprietary data acquisition systems (DAS) software to support government and commercial testing. The software is designed for modularity and adaptability to minimize the software development effort for current and future data systems. An additional benefit of the software's architecture is its ability to easily migrate to other testing facilities thus providing future commonality across Stennis. Adapting the software to other Rocket Propulsion Test (RPT) Centers such as MSFC, White Sands, and Plumbrook Station would provide additional commonality and help reduce testing costs for NASA. Ultimately, the software provides the government with unlimited rights and guarantees privacy of data to commercial entities. The project engaged all RPT Centers and NASA's Independent Verification & Validation facility to enhance product quality. The design consists of a translation layer which provides the transparency of the software application layers to underlying hardware regardless of test facility location and a flexible and easily accessible database. This presentation addresses system technical design, issues encountered, and the status of Stennis development and deployment.

  18. The Burning Plasma Experiment conventional facilities

    SciTech Connect

    Commander, J.C.

    1991-12-01

    The Burning Program Plasma Experiment (BPX) is phased to start construction of conventional facilities in July 1994, in conjunction with the conclusion of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) project. This paper deals with the conceptual design of the BPX Conventional Facilities, for which Functional and Operational Requirements (F&ORs) were developed. Existing TFTR buildings and utilities will be adapted and used to satisfy the BPX Project F&ORs to the maximum extent possible. However, new conventional facilities will be required to support the BPX project. These facilities include: The BPX building; Site improvements and utilities; the Field Coil Power Conversion (FCPC) building; the TFTR modifications; the Motor Generation (MG) building; Liquid Nitrogen (LN{sub 2}) building; and the associated Instrumentation and Control (I&C) systems. The BPX building will provide for safe and efficient shielding, housing, operation, handling, maintenance and decontamination of the BPX and its support systems. Site improvements and utilities will feature a utility tunnel which will provide a space for utility services--including pulse power duct banks and liquid nitrogen coolant lines. The FCPC building will house eight additional power supplied for the Toroidal Field (TF) coils. The MG building will house the two MG sets larger than the existing TFTR MG sets. This paper also addresses the conventional facility cost estimating methodology and the rationale for the construction schedule developed. 6 figs., 1 tab.

  19. The Burning Plasma Experiment conventional facilities

    SciTech Connect

    Commander, J.C.

    1991-01-01

    The Burning Program Plasma Experiment (BPX) is phased to start construction of conventional facilities in July 1994, in conjunction with the conclusion of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) project. This paper deals with the conceptual design of the BPX Conventional Facilities, for which Functional and Operational Requirements (F ORs) were developed. Existing TFTR buildings and utilities will be adapted and used to satisfy the BPX Project F ORs to the maximum extent possible. However, new conventional facilities will be required to support the BPX project. These facilities include: The BPX building; Site improvements and utilities; the Field Coil Power Conversion (FCPC) building; the TFTR modifications; the Motor Generation (MG) building; Liquid Nitrogen (LN{sub 2}) building; and the associated Instrumentation and Control (I C) systems. The BPX building will provide for safe and efficient shielding, housing, operation, handling, maintenance and decontamination of the BPX and its support systems. Site improvements and utilities will feature a utility tunnel which will provide a space for utility services--including pulse power duct banks and liquid nitrogen coolant lines. The FCPC building will house eight additional power supplied for the Toroidal Field (TF) coils. The MG building will house the two MG sets larger than the existing TFTR MG sets. This paper also addresses the conventional facility cost estimating methodology and the rationale for the construction schedule developed. 6 figs., 1 tab.

  20. Target micro-displacement measurement by a "comb" structure of intensity distribution in laser plasma propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, Z. Y.; Zhang, S. Q.; Gao, L.; Gao, H.

    2015-05-01

    A "comb" structure of beam intensity distribution is designed and achieved to measure a target displacement of micrometer level in laser plasma propulsion. Base on the "comb" structure, the target displacement generated by nanosecond laser ablation solid target is measured and discussed. It is found that the "comb" structure is more suitable for a thin film target with a velocity lower than tens of millimeters per second. Combing with a light-electric monitor, the `comb' structure can be used to measure a large range velocity.

  1. NASA Data Acquisition System Software Development for Rocket Propulsion Test Facilities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herbert, Phillip W., Sr.; Elliot, Alex C.; Graves, Andrew R.

    2015-01-01

    Current NASA propulsion test facilities include Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, Plum Brook Station in Ohio, and White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico. Within and across these centers, a diverse set of data acquisition systems exist with different hardware and software platforms. The NASA Data Acquisition System (NDAS) is a software suite designed to operate and control many critical aspects of rocket engine testing. The software suite combines real-time data visualization, data recording to a variety formats, short-term and long-term acquisition system calibration capabilities, test stand configuration control, and a variety of data post-processing capabilities. Additionally, data stream conversion functions exist to translate test facility data streams to and from downstream systems, including engine customer systems. The primary design goals for NDAS are flexibility, extensibility, and modularity. Providing a common user interface for a variety of hardware platforms helps drive consistency and error reduction during testing. In addition, with an understanding that test facilities have different requirements and setups, the software is designed to be modular. One engine program may require real-time displays and data recording; others may require more complex data stream conversion, measurement filtering, or test stand configuration management. The NDAS suite allows test facilities to choose which components to use based on their specific needs. The NDAS code is primarily written in LabVIEW, a graphical, data-flow driven language. Although LabVIEW is a general-purpose programming language; large-scale software development in the language is relatively rare compared to more commonly used languages. The NDAS software suite also makes extensive use of a new, advanced development framework called the Actor Framework. The Actor Framework provides a level of code reuse and extensibility that has previously been difficult

  2. Investigation of plasma-surface interaction at plasma beam facilities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kurnaev, V.; Vizgalov, I.; Gutorov, K.; Tulenbergenov, T.; Sokolov, I.; Kolodeshnikov, A.; Ignashev, V.; Zuev, V.; Bogomolova, I.; Klimov, N.

    2015-08-01

    The new Plasma Beam Facility (PBF) has been put into operation for assistance in testing of plasma faced components at Material Science Kazakhstan Tokamak (KTM). PBF includes a powerful electron gun (up to 30 kV, 1 A) and a high vacuum chamber with longitudinal magnetic field coils (up to 0.2 T). The regime of high vacuum electron beam transportation is used for thermal tests with power density at the target surface up to 10 GW/m2. The beam plasma discharge (BPD) regime with a gas-puff is used for generation of intensive ion fluxes up to 3 ṡ 1022 m-2 s-1. Initial tests of the KTM PBF's capabilities were carried out: various discharge regimes, carbon deposits cleaning, simultaneous thermal and ion impacts on radiation cooled refractory targets. With a water-cooled target the KTM PBF could be used for high heat flux tests of materials (validated by the experiment with W mock-up at the PR-2 PBF).

  3. Investigation of a Light Gas Helicon Plasma Source for the VASIMR Space Propulsion System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Squire, J. P.; Chang-Diaz, F. R.; Jacobson, V. T.; Glover, T. W.; Baity, F. W.; Carter, M. D.; Goulding, R. H.; Bengtson, R. D.; Bering, E. A., III

    2003-01-01

    An efficient plasma source producing a high-density (approx.10(exp 19/cu m) light gas (e.g. H, D, or He) flowing plasma with a high degree of ionization is a critical component of the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) concept. We are developing an antenna to apply ICRF power near the fundamental ion cyclotron resonance to further accelerate the plasma ions to velocities appropriate for space propulsion applications. The high degree of ionization and a low vacuum background pressure are important to eliminate the problem of radial losses due to charge exchange. We have performed parametric (e.g. gas flow, power (0.5 - 3 kW), magnetic field , frequency (25 and 50 MHz)) studies of a helicon operating with gas (H2 D2, He, N2 and Ar) injected at one end with a high magnetic mirror downstream of the antenna. We have explored operation with a cusp and a mirror field upstream. Plasma flows into a low background vacuum (<10(exp -4) torr) at velocities higher than the ion sound speed. High densities (approx. 10(exp 19/cu m) have been achieved at the location where ICRF will be applied, just downstream of the magnetic mirror.

  4. The development of space plasma testing facility using RF source

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kamieneski, Richard; Hyde, Alexander; Batishchev, Oleg

    2012-10-01

    A new testing facility is being developed to simulate space and atmospheric plasmas. It utilizes modified helicon plasma source [1] to ionize gases common to space and ionosphere, namely hydrogen, helium, and nitrogen. Emission spectra of ionized gases are analyzed by vacuum spectrometer to understand plasma composition. The design of computerized controls and data acquisition system are discussed. [4pt] [1] O. Batishchev, Minihelicon Plasma Thruster, IEEE Trans. Plasma Science, 37 (8) 1563, 2009.

  5. Numerical simulation of the actuation system for the ALDF's propulsion control valve. [Aircraft Landing Dynamics Facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Korte, John J.

    1990-01-01

    A numerical simulation of the actuation system for the propulsion control valve (PCV) of the NASA Langley Aircraft Landing Dynamics Facility was developed during the preliminary design of the PCV and used throughout the entire project. The simulation is based on a predictive model of the PCV which is used to evaluate and design the actuation system. The PCV controls a 1.7 million-pound thrust water jet used in propelling a 108,000-pound test carriage. The PCV can open and close in 0.300 second and deliver over 9,000 gallons of water per sec at pressures up to 3150 psi. The numerical simulation results are used to predict transient performance and valve opening characteristics, specify the hydraulic control system, define transient loadings on components, and evaluate failure modes. The mathematical model used for numerically simulating the mechanical fluid power system is described, and numerical results are demonstrated for a typical opening and closing cycle of the PCV. A summary is then given on how the model is used in the design process.

  6. Aqueous Cleaning and Validation for Space Shuttle Propulsion Hardware at the White Sands Test Facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hornung, Steven D.; Biesinger, Paul; Kirsch, Mike; Beeson, Harold; Leuders, Kathy

    1999-01-01

    The NASA White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) has developed an entirely aqueous final cleaning and verification process to replace the current chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) 113 based process. This process has been accepted for final cleaning and cleanliness verification of WSTF ground support equipment. The aqueous process relies on ultrapure water at 50 C (323 K) and ultrasonic agitation for removal of organic compounds and particulate. The cleanliness is verified bv determining the total organic carbon (TOC) content and filtration with particulate counting. The effectiveness of the aqueous methods for detecting hydrocarbon contamination and particulate was compared to the accepted CFC 113 sampling procedures. Testing with known contaminants, such as hydraulic fluid and cutting and lubricating oils, to establish a correlation between aqueous TOC and CFC 113 nonvolatile residue (NVR) was performed. Particulate sampling on cleaned batches of hardware that were randomly separated and sampled by the two methods was performed. This paper presents the approach and results, and discusses the issues in establishing the equivalence of aqueous sampling to CFC 113 sampling, while describing the approach for implementing aqueous techniques on Space Shuttle Propulsion hardware.

  7. Development and Demonstration of a Computational Tool for the Analysis of Particle Vitiation Effects in Hypersonic Propulsion Test Facilities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Perkins, Hugh Douglas

    2010-01-01

    In order to improve the understanding of particle vitiation effects in hypersonic propulsion test facilities, a quasi-one dimensional numerical tool was developed to efficiently model reacting particle-gas flows over a wide range of conditions. Features of this code include gas-phase finite-rate kinetics, a global porous-particle combustion model, mass, momentum and energy interactions between phases, and subsonic and supersonic particle drag and heat transfer models. The basic capabilities of this tool were validated against available data or other validated codes. To demonstrate the capabilities of the code a series of computations were performed for a model hypersonic propulsion test facility and scramjet. Parameters studied were simulated flight Mach number, particle size, particle mass fraction and particle material.

  8. Vacuum Plasma Spray (VPS) Forming of Solar Thermal Propulsion Components Using Refractory Metals

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zimmerman, Frank; Gerish, Harold; Davis, William; Hissam, D. Andy

    1998-01-01

    The Thermal Spray Laboratory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has developed and demonstrated a fabrication technique using Vacuum Plasma Spray (VPS) to form structural components from a tungsten/rhenium alloy. The components were assembled into an absorption cavity for a fully-functioning, ground test unit of a solar thermal propulsion engine. The VPS process deposits refractory metal onto a graphite mandrel of the desired shape. The mandrel acts as a male mold, forming the required contour and dimensions of the inside surface of the deposit. Tungsten and tungsten/25% rhenium were used in the development and production of several absorber cavity components. These materials were selected for their high temperature (less than 2500 C) strength. Each absorber cavity comprises 3 coaxial shells with two, double-helical flow passages through which the propellant gas flows. This paper describes the processing techniques, design considerations, and process development associated with forming these engine components.

  9. Pulsed Plasma Propulsion - Making CubeSat Missions Beyond Low Earth Orbit Possible

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Northway, P.

    2015-12-01

    As CubeSat missions become more and more popular means of scientific exploration of space, the current direction of interest is to utilize them in areas beyond low earth orbit. The University of Washington CubeSat program focuses on examining possible mission scenarios in addition to technology development and integration. Specifically, we are developing an inert CubeSat propulsion system in the form of a pulsed plasma thruster (PPT) capable of orbit maneuvers. Such a system would allow for missions at the Earth beyond LEO, extended missions at the Moon, and even missions at Europa, when assisted to the Jovian system. We will discuss how starting with a CubeSat design using PPTs for orbital maneuvers, other developing compact technology can be adapted to create a full suite of systems that would meet the requirements for a mission traveling outside low earth orbit.

  10. Vacuum Plasma Spray (VPS) Forming of Solar Thermal Propulsion Components Using Refractory Metals

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zimmerman, Frank R.; Hissam, David A.; Gerrish, Harold P.; Davis, William M.

    1999-01-01

    The Thermal Spray Laboratory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has developed and demonstrated a fabrication technique using Vacuum Plasma Spray (VPS) to form structural components from a tungsten/rhenium alloy. The components were assembled into an absorber cavity for a fully-functioning, ground test unit of a solar then-nal propulsion engine. The VPS process deposits refractory metal onto a graphite mandrel of the desired shape. The mandrel acts as a male mold, forming the required contour and dimensions of the inside surface of the deposit. Tungsten and tungsten/25% rhenium were used in the development and production of several absorber cavity components. These materials were selected for their high temperature (greater than 25000 C [greater than 4530 F]) strength. Each absorber cavity comprises 3 coaxial shells with two, double-helical flow passages through which the propellant gas flows. This paper describes the processing techniques, design considerations, and process development associated with forming these engine components.

  11. Development and operation of new arc heater technology for a large-scale scramjet propulsion test facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Balboni, John; Atler, Doug

    1993-01-01

    An arc-heater technology development effort conducted at NASA-Ames has led to the creation of a 100 MW Huels arc heater which has been integrated into the hydrogen-fueled Direct Connect Arcjet Facility for long-duration, high Mach-number scramjet performance evaluation. This development effort has significantly advanced the design of vortex-stabilized arc heaters; air enthalpy levels of 2.8-7.5 MJ/kg, at stagnation pressures of up to 45 atm, are produced. The facility furnishes technology-development support that is critical to the definition of NASP-related propulsion systems.

  12. A tandem mirror plasma source for a hybrid plume plasma propulsion concept

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yang, T. F.; Miller, R. H.; Wenzel, K. W.; Krueger, W. A.; Chang, F. R.

    1985-01-01

    This paper describes a tandem mirror magnetic plasma confinement device to be considered as a hot plasma source for the hybrid plume rocket concept. The hot plasma from this device is injected into an exhaust duct, which will interact with an annular layer of hypersonic neutral gas. Such a device can be used to study the dynamics of the hybrid plume and to experimentally verify the numerical predictions obtained with computer codes. The basic system design is also geared toward being lightweight and compact, as well as having high power density (i.e., several kW/sq cm) at the exhaust. This feature is aimed toward the feasibility of 'space testing'. The plasma is heated by microwaves. A 50 percent heating efficiency can be obtained by using two half-circle antennas. The preliminary Monte Carlo modeling of test particles result reported here indicates that interaction does take place in the exhaust duct. Neutrals gain energy from the ion, which confirms the hybrid plume concept.

  13. Evidence of nonclassical plasma transport in hollow cathodes for electric propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Mikellides, Ioannis G.; Katz, Ira; Goebel, Dan M.; Jameson, Kristina K.

    2007-03-15

    Measurements, simplified analyses, and two-dimensional numerical simulations with a fluid plasma model show that classical resistivity cannot account for the elevated electron temperatures and steep plasma potential gradients measured in a 25-27.5 A electric propulsion hollow cathode. The cathode consisted of a 1.5 cm hollow tube with an {approx}0.28 cm diameter orifice and was operated with 5.5 SCCM (SCCM denotes cubic centimeter per minute at STP) of xenon flow using two different anode geometries: a segmented cone and a circular flat plate. The numerical simulations show that classical resistivity yields as much as four times colder electron temperatures compared to the measured values in the orifice and near-plume regions of the cathode. Classical transport and Ohm's law also predict exceedingly high electron-ion relative drift speeds compared to the electron thermal speed (>4). It is found that the addition of anomalous resistivity based on existing growth rate formulas for electron-ion streaming instabilities improves qualitatively the comparison between the numerical results and the time-averaged measurements. Simplified analyses that have been based largely on the axial measurements support the conclusion that additional resistivity is required in Ohm's law to explain the measurements. The combined results from the two-dimensional simulations and the analyses bound the range of enhanced resistivity to be 3-100 times the classical value.

  14. Development of a miniature microwave electron cyclotron resonance plasma ion thruster for exospheric micro-propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Dey, Indranuj; Toyoda, Yuji; Yamamoto, Naoji; Nakashima, Hideki

    2015-12-15

    A miniature microwave electron cyclotron resonance plasma source [(discharge diameter)/(microwave cutoff diameter) < 0.3] has been developed at Kyushu University to be used as an ion thruster in micro-propulsion applications in the exosphere. The discharge source uses both radial and axial magnetostatic field confinement to facilitate electron cyclotron resonance and increase the electron dwell time in the volume, thereby enhancing plasma production efficiency. Performance of the ion thruster is studied at 3 microwave frequencies (1.2 GHz, 1.6 GHz, and 2.45 GHz), for low input powers (<15 W) and small xenon mass flow rates (<40 μg/s), by experimentally measuring the extracted ion beam current through a potential difference of ≅1200 V. The discharge geometry is found to operate most efficiently at an input microwave frequency of 1.6 GHz. At this frequency, for an input power of 8 W, and propellant (xenon) mass flow rate of 21 μg/s, 13.7 mA of ion beam current is obtained, equivalent to an calculated thrust of 0.74 mN.

  15. Development of a miniature microwave electron cyclotron resonance plasma ion thruster for exospheric micro-propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dey, Indranuj; Toyoda, Yuji; Yamamoto, Naoji; Nakashima, Hideki

    2015-12-01

    A miniature microwave electron cyclotron resonance plasma source [(discharge diameter)/(microwave cutoff diameter) < 0.3] has been developed at Kyushu University to be used as an ion thruster in micro-propulsion applications in the exosphere. The discharge source uses both radial and axial magnetostatic field confinement to facilitate electron cyclotron resonance and increase the electron dwell time in the volume, thereby enhancing plasma production efficiency. Performance of the ion thruster is studied at 3 microwave frequencies (1.2 GHz, 1.6 GHz, and 2.45 GHz), for low input powers (<15 W) and small xenon mass flow rates (<40 μg/s), by experimentally measuring the extracted ion beam current through a potential difference of ≅1200 V. The discharge geometry is found to operate most efficiently at an input microwave frequency of 1.6 GHz. At this frequency, for an input power of 8 W, and propellant (xenon) mass flow rate of 21 μg/s, 13.7 mA of ion beam current is obtained, equivalent to an calculated thrust of 0.74 mN.

  16. Results of the qualification test campaign of a Pulsed Plasma Thruster for Cubesat Propulsion (PPTCUP)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ciaralli, S.; Coletti, M.; Gabriel, S. B.

    2016-04-01

    Pulsed Plasma Thruster for Cubesat Propulsion (PPTCUP) is an ablative pulsed plasma thruster designed with the aim of providing translational and orbital control to Cubesat platforms. The qualification model presented in this paper has been developed by Mars Space Ltd, Clyde Space Ltd and the University of Southampton to produce a versatile "stand-alone" module that can be bolted on the Cubesat structure, allowing the orbital control along the X or Y-axis of the satellite. An extensive and complete test campaign to qualify the unit for space flight, which includes electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) characterization, thermal cycling and mechanical tests, has been performed according to the NASA GEVS procedures. PPTCUP is characterized by an averaged specific impulse of 655±58 s and a deliverable total impulse of 48.2±4.2 Ns. Finally, it has been found that the unit is compliant with the EMC requirements and can successfully withstand the thermal and mechanical loads typical of a Cubesat space mission.

  17. Development of a miniature microwave electron cyclotron resonance plasma ion thruster for exospheric micro-propulsion.

    PubMed

    Dey, Indranuj; Toyoda, Yuji; Yamamoto, Naoji; Nakashima, Hideki

    2015-12-01

    A miniature microwave electron cyclotron resonance plasma source [(discharge diameter)/(microwave cutoff diameter) < 0.3] has been developed at Kyushu University to be used as an ion thruster in micro-propulsion applications in the exosphere. The discharge source uses both radial and axial magnetostatic field confinement to facilitate electron cyclotron resonance and increase the electron dwell time in the volume, thereby enhancing plasma production efficiency. Performance of the ion thruster is studied at 3 microwave frequencies (1.2 GHz, 1.6 GHz, and 2.45 GHz), for low input powers (<15 W) and small xenon mass flow rates (<40 μg/s), by experimentally measuring the extracted ion beam current through a potential difference of ≅1200 V. The discharge geometry is found to operate most efficiently at an input microwave frequency of 1.6 GHz. At this frequency, for an input power of 8 W, and propellant (xenon) mass flow rate of 21 μg/s, 13.7 mA of ion beam current is obtained, equivalent to an calculated thrust of 0.74 mN. PMID:26724025

  18. Feasibility Study for a Plasma Dynamo Facility to Investigate Fundamental Processes in Plasma Astrophysics. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Forest, Cary B.

    2013-09-19

    The scientific equipment purchased on this grant was used on the Plasma Dynamo Prototype Experiment as part of Professor Forest's feasibility study for determining if it would be worthwhile to propose building a larger plasma physics experiment to investigate various fundamental processes in plasma astrophysics. The initial research on the Plasma Dynamo Prototype Experiment was successful so Professor Forest and Professor Ellen Zweibel at UW-Madison submitted an NSF Major Research Instrumentation proposal titled "ARRA MRI: Development of a Plasma Dynamo Facility for Experimental Investigations of Fundamental Processes in Plasma Astrophysics." They received funding for this project and the Plasma Dynamo Facility also known as the "Madison Plasma Dynamo Experiment" was constructed. This experiment achieved its first plasma in the fall of 2012 and U.S. Dept. of Energy Grant No. DE-SC0008709 "Experimental Studies of Plasma Dynamos," now supports the research.

  19. Multifunctional laser facility with photoelectric recording for plasma diagnostics

    SciTech Connect

    Pyatnitsky, L.N.; Yakushev, G.G.; Oberman, F.M. )

    1989-01-01

    A laser facility with photoelectric recording is described. It can be used in performing plasma diagnostics by four different measuring techniques. The application of photoelectric recording considerably simplifies the automation of measurements.

  20. Project Icarus: Analysis of Plasma jet driven Magneto-Inertial Fusion as potential primary propulsion driver for the Icarus probe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stanic, M.; Cassibry, J. T.; Adams, R. B.

    2013-05-01

    Hopes of sending probes to another star other than the Sun are currently limited by the maturity of advanced propulsion technologies. One of the few candidate propulsion systems for providing interstellar flight capabilities is nuclear fusion. In the past many fusion propulsion concepts have been proposed and some of them have even been explored in detail, Project Daedalus for example. However, as scientific progress in this field has advanced, new fusion concepts have emerged that merit evaluation as potential drivers for interstellar missions. Plasma jet driven Magneto-Inertial Fusion (PJMIF) is one of those concepts. PJMIF involves a salvo of converging plasma jets that form a uniform liner, which compresses a magnetized target to fusion conditions. It is an Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF)-Magnetic Confinement Fusion (MCF) hybrid approach that has the potential for a multitude of benefits over both ICF and MCF, such as lower system mass and significantly lower cost. This paper concentrates on a thermodynamic assessment of basic performance parameters necessary for utilization of PJMIF as a candidate propulsion system for the Project Icarus mission. These parameters include: specific impulse, thrust, exhaust velocity, mass of the engine system, mass of the fuel required etc. This is a submission of the Project Icarus Study Group.

  1. Plasma system of the GOL-3T facility

    SciTech Connect

    Arzhannikov, A. V.; Burdakov, A. V.; Burmasov, V. S.; Ivanov, I. A.; Kuznetsov, S. A.; Kuklin, K. N.; Mekler, K. I.; Polosatkin, S. V.; Postupaev, V. V. Rovenskikh, A. F.; Sinitsky, S. L.; Sklyarov, V. F.

    2015-11-15

    The plasma system and diagnostics of the new facility GOL-3T are described. This facility is the final result of the first stage in the deep upgrade of the GOL-3 multiple-mirror system, which has operated at the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics since 1988. The upgrade project supposes creation of two new independent facilities at the site of GOL-3. The GOL-3T facility is intended to study the physics of beam—plasma interaction and generation of subterahertz electromagnetic radiation during the collective relaxation of a high-power relativistic electron beam with a duration of 5–10 μs. Studies on the physics of multiple-mirror plasma confinement in axisymmetric magnetic systems will be continued in a new range of experiment parameters at the second facility, named GOL-NB.

  2. Artist's Concept of NASA's Propulsion Research Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    A new, world-class laboratory for research into future space transportation technologies is under construction at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, AL. The state-of-the-art Propulsion Research Laboratory will serve as a leading national resource for advanced space propulsion research. Its purpose is to conduct research that will lead to the creation and development of irnovative propulsion technologies for space exploration. The facility will be the epicenter of the effort to move the U.S. space program beyond the confines of conventional chemical propulsion into an era of greatly improved access to space and rapid transit throughout the solar system. The Laboratory is designed to accommodate researchers from across the United States, including scientists and engineers from NASA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, universities, and industry. The facility, with 66,000 square feet of useable laboratory space, will feature a high degree of experimental capability. Its flexibility will allow it to address a broad range of propulsion technologies and concepts, such as plasma, electromagnetic, thermodynamic, and propellantless propulsion. An important area of emphasis will be development and utilization of advanced energy sources, including highly energetic chemical reactions, solar energy, and processes based on fission, fusion, and antimatter. The Propulsion Research Laboratory is vital for developing the advanced propulsion technologies needed to open up the space frontier, and will set the stage of research that could revolutionize space transportation for a broad range of applications.

  3. Mini-cavity plasma core reactors for dual-mode space nuclear power/propulsion systems. M.S. Thesis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chow, S.

    1976-01-01

    A mini-cavity plasma core reactor is investigated for potential use in a dual-mode space power and propulsion system. In the propulsive mode, hydrogen propellant is injected radially inward through the reactor solid regions and into the cavity. The propellant is heated by both solid driver fuel elements surrounding the cavity and uranium plasma before it is exhausted out the nozzle. The propellant only removes a fraction of the driver power, the remainder is transferred by a coolant fluid to a power conversion system, which incorporates a radiator for heat rejection. Neutronic feasibility of dual mode operation and smaller reactor sizes than those previously investigated are shown to be possible. A heat transfer analysis of one such reactor shows that the dual-mode concept is applicable when power generation mode thermal power levels are within the same order of magnitude as direct thrust mode thermal power levels.

  4. Pulsed electromagnetic gas acceleration. [magnetohydrodynamics, plasma power sources and plasma propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jahn, R. G.; Vonjaskowsky, W. F.; Clark, K. E.

    1975-01-01

    Terminal voltage measurements with various cathodes and anodes in a high power, quasi-steady magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) are discussed. The magnitude of the current at the onset of voltage fluctuations is shown to be an increasing function of cathode area and a weaker decreasing function of anode area. Tests with a fluted cathode indicated that the fluctuations originate in the plasma adjacent to the cathode rather than at the cathode surface. Measurements of radiative output from an optical cavity aligned to examine the current-carrying portion of a two-dimensional, 56 kA magnetoplasmadynamic discharge reveal no lasing in that region, consistent with calculations of electron excitation and resonance radiation trapping. A voltage-swept double probe technique allows single-shot determination of electron temperature and electron number density in the recombining MPD exhaust flow. Current distributions within the cavity of MPD hollow cathodes for various static prefills with no injected mass flow are examined.

  5. Advanced Propulsion Concepts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brophy, J. R.

    1997-01-01

    Current interest in advanced propulsion within NASA and research activities in advanced propulsion concepts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory are reviewed. The concepts, which include high power plasma thrusters such as lithuim-fueled Lorentz-Force-Accelerators, MEMS-scale propulsion systems, in-situ propellant utilization techniques, fusion propulsion systems and methods of using antimatter, offer the potential for either significantly enhancing space transportation capability as compared with that of traditional chemical propulsion, or enabling ambitious new missions.

  6. Plasma thruster development: magnetoplasmadynamic propulsion, status, and basic problems. Interim report, October 1984-September 1985

    SciTech Connect

    Buehler, R.D.

    1986-02-01

    This report provides an overview of the present state and the problem areas of magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) space-propulsion devices and systems potentially suitable for orbit raising and maneuvering of large space structures, i.e., thrust and power levels of presently most-promising steady (or quasisteady pulsed) thruster types, self-field, axial applied-field arcjets, and Hall ion thrusters are reviewed in terms of performance trends, present understanding, uncertainties and ground-testing problems, with the conclusion that there is as yet no reliable basis for choosing one type for final development. Typical efficiency vs. specific-impulse curves for all MPD thrusters show the dominant role of the propellant on the thrust to input power ratio (as for ion engines), and the necessity of achieving relatively high specific impulse values for each propellant for acceptable efficiencies. The specific-impulse (or onset) limit of self-field thrusters using a variety of propellants is discussed, together with predicted trends from several theoretical models. Considering system complexity and development cost as well as performance, the advantages and disadvantages if pulsed (quasisteady) vs. continuous thruster operation and the propellant selection criteria are reviewed. Electrode erosion, especially on cathodes, losses and limits imposed by radiation cooling are emphasized as critical problem areas for larger MPD thrusters. Besides the electrode attachments, the unresolved basis theoretical problems of efficient plasma acceleration and of the midstream flow discharge stability are identified, and proposed approaches towards gaining additional understanding are outlined.

  7. Propulsive performance of a finite-temperature plasma flow in a magnetic nozzle with applied azimuthal current

    SciTech Connect

    Ferrario, Lorenzo; Little, Justin M. Choueiri, Edgar Y.

    2014-11-15

    The plasma flow in a finite-electron-temperature magnetic nozzle, under the influence of an applied azimuthal current at the throat, is modeled analytically to assess its propulsive performance. A correction to the nozzle throat boundary conditions is derived by modifying the radial equilibrium of a magnetized infinite two-population cylindrical plasma column with the insertion of an external azimuthal body force for the electrons. Inclusion of finite-temperature effects, which leads to a modification of the radial density profile, is necessary for calculating the propulsive performance, which is represented by nozzle divergence efficiency and thrust coefficient. The solutions show that the application of the azimuthal current enhances all the calculated performance parameters through the narrowing of the radial density profile at the throat, and that investing power in this beam focusing effect is more effective than using the same power to pre-heat the electrons. The results open the possibility for the design of a focusing stage between the plasma source and the nozzle that can significantly enhance the propulsive performance of electron-driven magnetic nozzles.

  8. Plasma-Surface Interactions in Hollow Cathode Discharges for Electric Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Capece, Angela Maria

    Electric thrusters generate high exhaust velocities and can achieve specific impulses in excess of 1000 s. The low thrust generation and high specific impulse make electric propulsion ideal for interplanetary missions, spacecraft station keeping, and orbit raising maneuvers. Consequently, these devices have been used on a variety of space missions including Deep Space 1, Dawn, and hundreds of commercial spacecraft in Earth orbit. In order to provide the required total impulses, thruster burn time can often exceed 10,000 hours, making thruster lifetime essential. One of the main life-limiting components on ion engines is the hollow cathode, which serves as the electron source for ionization of the xenon propellant gas. Reactive contaminants such as oxygen can modify the cathode surface morphology and degrade the electron emission properties. Hollow cathodes that operate with reactive impurities in the propellant will experience higher operating temperatures, which increase evaporation of the emission materials and reduce cathode life. A deeper understanding of the mechanisms initiating cathode failure will improve thruster operation, increase lifetime, and ultimately reduce cost. A significant amount of work has been done previously to understand the effects of oxygen poisoning on vacuum cathodes; however, the xenon plasma adds complexity, and its role during cathode poisoning is not completely understood. The work presented here represents the first attempt at understanding how oxygen impurities in the xenon discharge plasma alter the emitter surface and affect operation of a 4:1:1 BaO-CaO-Al2O3 hollow cathode. A combination of experimentation and modeling was used to investigate how oxygen impurities in the discharge plasma alter the emitter surface and reduce the electron emission capability. The experimental effort involved operating a 4:1:1 hollow cathode at various conditions with oxygen impurities in the xenon flow. Since direct measurements of the emitter

  9. Complex plasma research on ISS past, present, and future facilities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seurig, R.; Morfill, G.; Fortov, V.; Hofmann, P.

    2007-11-01

    The research in dusty plasma, also known as complex plasma, under prolonged microgravity condition took its first steps in 1998 onboard the Russian Space Station MIR: cosmonauts Vladimir Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov conducted the first experiments to obtain plasma-dust crystals in the 'Plazmennyi Kristall 1'(PK-1) device using the sun as a 'natural' ionization source. This experiment was followed afterwards by the PK-2 already utilizing its own DC plasma generator. A major step came only three years later with the PKE-Nefedov facility (formerly called PKE-3). Launched in February 2001 and operated in over 13 missions for five consecutive years in the Russian Segment of the International Space Station ISS, this bilateral German-Russian research facility has already shown some surprising, new behavior of radio-frequency induced complex plasmas. An advanced model of PKE-Nefedov, the PK-3 Plus experiment apparatus, is getting readied to be launched to ISS on Progress Cargo spacecraft 20P. Additional developments are in progress to continue this exciting growing research field with: (a) PK-4 utilizing high voltage DC controlled plasma, and (b) IMPACT Laboratory, the European Space Agency's next generation premier research laboratory for plasma and dust physics on the ISS. The paper will provide background information of each of the complex plasma research facilities.

  10. Plasma wakefield acceleration at CLARA facility in Daresbury Laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xia, G.; Nie, Y.; Mete, O.; Hanahoe, K.; Dover, M.; Wigram, M.; Wright, J.; Zhang, J.; Smith, J.; Pacey, T.; Li, Y.; Wei, Y.; Welsch, C.

    2016-09-01

    A plasma accelerator research station (PARS) has been proposed to study the key issues in electron driven plasma wakefield acceleration at CLARA facility in Daresbury Laboratory. In this paper, the quasi-nonlinear regime of beam driven plasma wakefield acceleration is analysed. The wakefield excited by various CLARA beam settings are simulated by using a 2D particle-in-cell (PIC) code. For a single drive beam, an accelerating gradient up to 3 GV/m can be achieved. For a two bunch acceleration scenario, simulation shows that a witness bunch can achieve a significant energy gain in a 10-50 cm long plasma cell.

  11. User facility for research on fusion systems with dense plasmas

    SciTech Connect

    Ryutov, D. D.

    1999-01-07

    There are a number of fusion systems whose dimensions can be scaled down to a few centimeters, if the plasma density and confining magnetic field are raised to sufficiently high values. This prompts a "user-facility" approach to the studies of this class of fusion systems. The concept of such a user facility was first briefly mentioned in Ref. 1. Here we present a more detailed description.

  12. Design philosophy of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory infrared detector test facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burns, R.; Blessinger, M. A.

    1983-01-01

    To support the development of advanced infrared remote sensing instrumentation using line and area arrays, a test facility has been developed to characterize the detectors. The necessary performance characteristics of the facility were defined by considering current and projected requirements for detector testing. The completed facility provides the desired level of detector testing capability as well as providing ease of human interaction.

  13. Common Data Acquisition Systems (DAS) Software Development for Rocket Propulsion Test (RPT) Test Facilities - A General Overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hebert, Phillip W., Sr.; Hughes, Mark S.; Davis, Dawn M.; Turowski, Mark P.; Holladay, Wendy T.; Marshall, PeggL.; Duncan, Michael E.; Morris, Jon A.; Franzl, Richard W.

    2012-01-01

    The advent of the commercial space launch industry and NASA's more recent resumption of operation of Stennis Space Center's large test facilities after thirty years of contractor control resulted in a need for a non-proprietary data acquisition system (DAS) software to support government and commercial testing. The software is designed for modularity and adaptability to minimize the software development effort for current and future data systems. An additional benefit of the software's architecture is its ability to easily migrate to other testing facilities thus providing future commonality across Stennis. Adapting the software to other Rocket Propulsion Test (RPT) Centers such as MSFC, White Sands, and Plumbrook Station would provide additional commonality and help reduce testing costs for NASA. Ultimately, the software provides the government with unlimited rights and guarantees privacy of data to commercial entities. The project engaged all RPT Centers and NASA's Independent Verification & Validation facility to enhance product quality. The design consists of a translation layer which provides the transparency of the software application layers to underlying hardware regardless of test facility location and a flexible and easily accessible database. This presentation addresses system technical design, issues encountered, and the status of Stennis' development and deployment.

  14. Performance of the Spacecraft Propulsion Research Facility During Altitude Firing Tests of the Delta 3 Upper Stage

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meyer, Michael L.; Dickens, Kevin W.; Skaff, Tony F.; Cmar, Mark D.; VanMeter, Matthew J.; Haberbusch, Mark S.

    1998-01-01

    The Spacecraft Propulsion Research Facility at the NASA Lewis Research Center's Plum Brook Station was reactivated in order to conduct flight simulation ground tests of the Delta 3 cryogenic upper stage. The tests were a cooperative effort between The Boeing Company, Pratt and Whitney, and NASA. They included demonstration of tanking and detanking of liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen and helium pressurant gas as well as 12 engine firings simulating first, second, and third burns at altitude conditions. A key to the success of these tests was the performance of the primary facility systems and their interfaces with the vehicle. These systems included the structural support of the vehicle, propellant supplies, data acquisition, facility control systems, and the altitude exhaust system. While the facility connections to the vehicle umbilical panel simulated the performance of the launch pad systems, additional purge and electrical connections were also required which were unique to ground testing of the vehicle. The altitude exhaust system permitted an approximate simulation of the boost-phase pressure profile by rapidly pumping the test chamber from 13 psia to 0.5 psia as well as maintaining altitude conditions during extended steady-state firings. The performance of the steam driven ejector exhaust system has been correlated with variations in cooling water temperature during these tests. This correlation and comparisons to limited data available from Centaur tests conducted in the facility from 1969-1971 provided insight into optimizing the operation of the exhaust system for future tests. Overall, the facility proved to be robust and flexible for vehicle space simulation engine firings and enabled all test objectives to be successfully completed within the planned schedule.

  15. Measurements of energy distribution and thrust for microwave plasma coupling of electrical energy to hydrogen for propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morin, T.; Chapman, R.; Filpus, J.; Hawley, M.; Kerber, R.; Asmussen, J.; Nakanishi, S.

    1982-01-01

    A microwave plasma system for transfer of electrical energy to hydrogen flowing through the system has potential application for coupling energy to a flowing gas in the electrothermal propulsion concept. Experimental systems have been designed and built for determination of the energy inputs and outputs and thrust for the microwave coupling of energy to hydrogen. Results for experiments with pressure in the range 100 microns-6 torr, hydrogen flow rate up to 1000 micronmoles/s, and total absorbed power to 700 w are presented.

  16. Plasma Jet Experiments Using LULI 2000 Laser Facility

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loupias, B.; Falize, E.; Koenig, M.; Bouquet, S.; Ozaki, N.; Benuzzi-Mounaix, A.; Michaut, C.; Goahec, M. Rabec Le; Nazarov, W.; Courtois, C.; Aglitskiy, Y.; Faenov, A. Ya.; Pikuz, T.

    2007-01-01

    We present experiments performed with the LULI2000 nanosecond laser facility. We generated plasma jets by using specific designed target. The main measured quantities related to the jet such as its propagation velocity, temperature and emissive radius evolution are presented. We also performed analytical work, which explains the jet evolution in some cases.

  17. Modification of NASA Langley 8 foot high temperature tunnel to provide a unique national research facility for hypersonic air-breathing propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kelly, H. N.; Wieting, A. R.

    1984-01-01

    A planned modification of the NASA Langley 8-Foot High Temperature Tunnel to make it a unique national research facility for hypersonic air-breathing propulsion systems is described, and some of the ongoing supporting research for that modification is discussed. The modification involves: (1) the addition of an oxygen-enrichment system which will allow the methane-air combustion-heated test stream to simulate air for propulsion testing; and (2) supplemental nozzles to expand the test simulation capability from the current nominal Mach number to 7.0 include Mach numbers 3.0, 4.5, and 5.0. Detailed design of the modifications is currently underway and the modified facility is scheduled to be available for tests of large scale propulsion systems by mid 1988.

  18. Modification of NASA Langley 8 Foot High Temperature Tunnel to provide a unique national research facility for hypersonic air-breathing propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kelly, H. N.; Wieting, A. R.

    1984-01-01

    A planned modification of the NASA Langley 8-Foot High Temperature Tunnel to make it a unique national research facility for hypersonic air-breathing propulsion systems is described, and some of the ongoing supporting research for that modification is discussed. The modification involves: (1) the addition of an oxygen-enrichment system which will allow the methane-air combustion-heated test stream to simulate air for propulsion testing; and (2) supplemental nozzles to expand the test simulation capability from the current nominal Mach number to 7.0 include Mach numbers 3.0, 4.5, and 5.0. Detailed design of the modifications is currently underway and the modified facility is scheduled to be available for tests of large scale propulsion systems by mid 1988.

  19. MHD Simulation of Magnetic Nozzle Plasma with the NIMROD Code: Applications to the VASIMR Advanced Space Propulsion Concept

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tarditi, Alfonso G.; Shebalin, John V.

    2002-11-01

    A simulation study with the NIMROD code [1] is being carried on to investigate the efficiency of the thrust generation process and the properties of the plasma detachment in a magnetic nozzle. In the simulation, hot plasma is injected in the magnetic nozzle, modeled as a 2D, axi-symmetric domain. NIMROD has two-fluid, 3D capabilities but the present runs are being conducted within the MHD, 2D approximation. As the plasma travels through the magnetic field, part of its thermal energy is converted into longitudinal kinetic energy, along the axis of the nozzle. The plasma eventually detaches from the magnetic field at a certain distance from the nozzle throat where the kinetic energy becomes larger than the magnetic energy. Preliminary NIMROD 2D runs have been benchmarked with a particle trajectory code showing satisfactory results [2]. Further testing is here reported with the emphasis on the analysis of the diffusion rate across the field lines and of the overall nozzle efficiency. These simulation runs are specifically designed for obtaining comparisons with laboratory measurements of the VASIMR experiment, by looking at the evolution of the radial plasma density and temperature profiles in the nozzle. VASIMR (Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, [3]) is an advanced space propulsion concept currently under experimental development at the Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center. A plasma (typically ionized Hydrogen or Helium) is generated by a RF (Helicon) discharge and heated by an Ion Cyclotron Resonance Heating antenna. The heated plasma is then guided into a magnetic nozzle to convert the thermal plasma energy into effective thrust. The VASIMR system has no electrodes and a solenoidal magnetic field produced by an asymmetric mirror configuration ensures magnetic insulation of the plasma from the material surfaces. By powering the plasma source and the heating antenna at different levels it is possible to vary smoothly of the

  20. Application of diamond films to electric propulsion: Low energy sputter yield measurement and MPD plasma assisted chemical vapor deposition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blandino, John Joseph

    One application of chemically vapor deposited (CVD) diamond films under evaluation at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is the coating of ion thruster electrodes subject to sputter erosion from xenon ions. Sputter yields were measured for polycrystalline diamond, single crystal diamond, a carbon-carbon composite, and molybdenum subject to xenon ion bombardment. The tests were performed using a 3 cm Kaufman ion source to produce incident ions with energy in the range of 150--750 eV and a profilometry-based technique to measure the amount of sputtered material. The yields increased monotonically with energy with values ranging from 0.16 atoms/ion at 150 eV to 0.80 at 750 eV for the molybdenum and 0.06 to 0.14 for the carbon-carbon. At 150 eV the yield for both diamond samples was 0.07 and at 7 50 eV, 0.19 and 0.17 for the CVD and single crystal diamond respectively. In terms of erosion rate, this translates into a factor of 7--12 lower erosion rate for diamond compared to molybdenum and at least a factor of 1.5 compared to carbon-carbon. In addition, an experimental investigation of an electromagnetic (magnetoplasmadynamic or MPD) plasma source for diamond CVD was undertaken using gas mixtures of methane, hydrogen and argon. Numerous trials were conducted using methane to hydrogen mixture ratios of 1.5--3.5 percent by volume, four different methane injector configurations, and substrate biasing at potentials of 25--75 V positive with respect to facility ground. These tests were performed at discharge currents of 700--950 A at approximately 18 V (12--17 kW). Crystalline films were produced with growth rates of 0.8 to 6.3 microns/hr. X-ray diffraction spectroscopy was used to identify at least one unambiguous diamond peak in each sample. The films all exhibited poor Raman spectra with no well defined peak at 1332 cm-1 and a broad background possibly due to high background levels of nitrogen, defects, and metal vapor contamination. Finally, the potential benefits of the MPD

  1. Solar Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerrish, Harold P., Jr.

    2003-01-01

    This paper presents viewgraphs on Solar Thermal Propulsion (STP). Some of the topics include: 1) Ways to use Solar Energy for Propulsion; 2) Solar (fusion) Energy; 3) Operation in Orbit; 4) Propulsion Concepts; 5) Critical Equations; 6) Power Efficiency; 7) Major STP Projects; 8) Types of STP Engines; 9) Solar Thermal Propulsion Direct Gain Assembly; 10) Specific Impulse; 11) Thrust; 12) Temperature Distribution; 13) Pressure Loss; 14) Transient Startup; 15) Axial Heat Input; 16) Direct Gain Engine Design; 17) Direct Gain Engine Fabrication; 18) Solar Thermal Propulsion Direct Gain Components; 19) Solar Thermal Test Facility; and 20) Checkout Results.

  2. Simulation Based on Ion-Ion Plasma Techniques of Electric propulsion In Mars Mission Using Chlorine Gas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sathiyavel, C.

    Abstract:The recently(Nov-5/2013) launched Mangalyan by the Indian space Research Organization (ISRO) to Mars orbit with Mankalyan contained by small liquid engine(MMH+N2O4).This will take long time to reach the Mars orbit that is around the 9 Months. Bi-Propellant rocket system has good thrust but low specific impulse and velocity. In future we need a rocket with good high specific impulse and high velocity of rocket system, to reduce the trip time to Mars. Electric propulsion rocket system is expected to become popular with the development of ion-ion pair techniques because this needs low propellant, Design thrust range is 1.5 N with high efficiency. An ion - ion pair of Electric propulsion rocket system is proposed in this work. Ion-Ion(positive ion- negative ion) Based Rocket system consists of three parts 1.The negative ionization stage with electro negative propellant 2. Ion-Ion plasma formation and ion accelerator 3. Exhaust of Nozzle. The Negative ions from electro negative gas are produced by adding up the gas, such as chlorine with electron emitted from an Electron gun ionization chamber. The formulate of large stable negative ion is achievable in chlorine gas with respect to electron affinity (∆E). When a neutral chlorine atom in the gaseous form picks up an electron to form a Cl- ion, it releases energy of 3.6eV. The negative ion density becomes several orders of magnitude larger than that of the electrons, hence forming ion-ion (positive ion - negative ion) plasma at the periphery of the discharge. The distance between ion- ions is important for the evaluate the rocket thrust and it also that the distance is determined by the exhaust velocity of the propellant. Accelerate the ion-ion plasma to a high velocity in the thrust vector direction via electron gun and the exhaust of ions through Nozzle. The simulation of the ion propulsion system has been carried out by MATLAB. By comparing the simulation results with the theoretical and previous results, we

  3. International Microgravity Plasma Facility IMPF: A Multi-User Modular Research Facility for Complex Plasma Research on ISS

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seurig, R.; Burfeindt, J.; Castegini, R.; Griethe, W.; Hofmann, P.

    2002-01-01

    On March 03, 2001, the PKE-Nefedov plasma experiment was successfully put into operation on board ISS. This complex plasma experiment is the predecessor for the semi-autonomous multi-user facility IMPF (International Microgravity Plasma Facility) to be flown in 2006 with an expected operational lifetime of 10 years. IMPF is envisioned to be an international research facility for investigators in the field of multi-component plasmas containing ions, electrons, and charged microparticles. This research filed is often referred to as "complex plasmas". The actual location of IMPF on ISS is not decided yet; potential infrastructure under consideration are EXPRESS Rack, Standard Interface Rack SIR, European Drawer Rack EDR, or a to be designed custom rack infrastructure on the Russian Segment. The actual development status of the DLR funded Pre-phase B Study for IMPF will be presented. For this phase, IMPF was assumed to be integrated in an EXPRESS Rack requiring four middeck lockers with two 4-PU ISIS drawers for accommodation. Technical and operational challenges, like a 240 Mbytes/sec continuous experimental data stream for 60 minutes, will be addressed. The project was funded by the German Space Agency (DLR) and was performed in close cooperation with scientists from the Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestical Physics in Munich, Germany.

  4. Spacecraft propulsion research facility (B-2) at the Lewis Research Center, Plum Brook Station

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klein, William E.

    1993-01-01

    The B-2 facility is designed to hot fire rocket engines or upper stage launch vehicles with up to 890,000 N thrust, after environmental conditioning of the test article in a simulated thermal vaccum space environment. The facility can handle cryogenic fuels and oxidizers. A steam ejector system maintains vacuum around the test article and on the engine discharge during the test firing. Two high speed computer systems control the test, monitor critical parameters and record all of the desired data.

  5. Spacecraft propulsion research facility (B-2) at the Lewis Research Center, Plum Brook Station

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klein, William E.

    The B-2 facility is designed to hot fire rocket engines or upper stage launch vehicles with up to 890,000 N thrust, after environmental conditioning of the test article in a simulated thermal vaccum space environment. The facility can handle cryogenic fuels and oxidizers. A steam ejector system maintains vacuum around the test article and on the engine discharge during the test firing. Two high speed computer systems control the test, monitor critical parameters and record all of the desired data.

  6. Dusty Plasma Physics Facility for the International Space Station

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goree, John; Hahn, Inseob

    2015-09-01

    The Dusty Plasma Physics Facility (DPPF) is an instrument planned for the International Space Station (ISS). If approved by NASA, JPL will build and operate the facility, and NASA will issue calls for proposals allowing investigators outside JPL to carry out research, public education, and outreach. Microgravity conditions on the ISS will be useful for eliminating two unwanted effects of gravity: sedimentation of dust particles to the bottom of a plasma chamber, and masking weak forces such as the ion drag force that act on dust particles. The DPPF facility is expected to support multiple scientific users. It will have a modular design, with a scientific locker, or insert, that can be exchanged without removing the entire facility. The first insert will use a parallel-plate radio-frequency discharge, polymer microspheres, and high-speed video cameras. This first insert will be designed for fundamental physics experiments. Possible future inserts could be designed for other purposes, such as engineering applications, and experimental simulations of astrophysical or geophysical conditions. The design of the facility will allow remote operation from ground-based laboratories, using telescience.

  7. Advanced space propulsion concepts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lapointe, Michael R.

    1993-01-01

    The NASA Lewis Research Center has been actively involved in the evaluation and development of advanced spacecraft propulsion. Recent program elements have included high energy density propellants, electrode less plasma thruster concepts, and low power laser propulsion technology. A robust advanced technology program is necessary to develop new, cost-effective methods of spacecraft propulsion, and to continue to push the boundaries of human knowledge and technology.

  8. Experimental validation of the dual positive and negative ion beam acceleration in the plasma propulsion with electronegative gases thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Rafalskyi, Dmytro Popelier, Lara; Aanesland, Ane

    2014-02-07

    The PEGASES (Plasma Propulsion with Electronegative Gases) thruster is a gridded ion thruster, where both positive and negative ions are accelerated to generate thrust. In this way, additional downstream neutralization by electrons is redundant. To achieve this, the thruster accelerates alternately positive and negative ions from an ion-ion plasma where the electron density is three orders of magnitude lower than the ion densities. This paper presents a first experimental study of the alternate acceleration in PEGASES, where SF{sub 6} is used as the working gas. Various electrostatic probes are used to investigate the source plasma potential and the energy, composition, and current of the extracted beams. We show here that the plasma potential control in such system is key parameter defining success of ion extraction and is sensitive to both parasitic electron current paths in the source region and deposition of sulphur containing dielectric films on the grids. In addition, large oscillations in the ion-ion plasma potential are found in the negative ion extraction phase. The oscillation occurs when the primary plasma approaches the grounded parts of the main core via sub-millimetres technological inputs. By controlling and suppressing the various undesired effects, we achieve perfect ion-ion plasma potential control with stable oscillation-free operation in the range of the available acceleration voltages (±350 V). The measured positive and negative ion currents in the beam are about 10 mA for each component at RF power of 100 W and non-optimized extraction system. Two different energy analyzers with and without magnetic electron suppression system are used to measure and compare the negative and positive ion and electron fluxes formed by the thruster. It is found that at alternate ion-ion extraction the positive and negative ion energy peaks are similar in areas and symmetrical in position with +/− ion energy corresponding to the amplitude of the applied

  9. Photoionized Plasmas in the Z Facility and in Astrophysics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mancini, Roberto

    2013-06-01

    Many astrophysical environments such as x-ray binaries, active galactic nuclei, and accretion disks of compact objects have photoionized plasmas. Detailed x-ray spectral observations performed with the Chandra and XMM-Newton orbiting telescopes provide critical information on the state of photoionized plasmas. However, the complexity of the astrophysical environment makes the spectral analysis challenging, and thus laboratory experiments are important for data interpretation and testing of modeling codes. The Z facility at Sandia National Laboratories is a powerful source of x-rays to produce and study in the laboratory photoionized plasmas relevant for astrophysics under well characterized conditions. We discuss an experimental and theory/modeling effort in which the intense x-ray flux emitted at the collapse of a z-pinch implosion conducted at the Z pulsed-power machine is employed to produce a neon photoionized plasma. The broadband x-ray radiation flux from the z-pinch is used to both create the photoionized plasma and provide a source of backlighting photons to study the atomic kinetics through K-shell line absorption spectroscopy. The plasma is contained in a cm-scale gas cell that can be located at different distances from the z-pinch, thus effectively controlling the x-ray flux producing the plasma. Time-integrated and gated transmission spectra are recorded with a spectrometer equipped with two elliptically-bent KAP crystals and a set of slits to record up to six spatially-resolved spectra per crystal in the same shot. The transmission data shows a rich line absorption spectrum that spans over several ionization stages of neon including Be-, Li-, He- and H-like ions. Modeling calculations are used to interpret the transmission spectra recorded in the Z experiments with the goal of extracting the charge- state distribution, electron temperature and the radiation flux driving the plasma, as well as to determine the ionization parameter of the plasma. This

  10. Development of a propulsion system and component test facility for advanced radioisotope powered Mars Hopper platforms

    SciTech Connect

    Robert C. O'Brien; Nathan D. Jerred; Steven D. Howe

    2011-02-01

    Verification and validation of design and modeling activities for radioisotope powered Mars Hopper platforms undertaken at the Center for Space Nuclear Research is essential for proof of concept. Previous research at the center has driven the selection of advanced material combinations; some of which require specialized handling capabilities. The development of a closed and contained test facility to forward this research is discussed within this paper.

  11. Survey of Aerothermodynamics Facilities Useful for the Design of Hypersonic Vehicles Using Air-Breathing Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arnold, James O.; Deiwert, G. S.

    1997-01-01

    The dream of producing an air-breathing, hydrogen fueled, hypervelocity aircraft has been before the aerospace community for decades. However, such a craft has not yet been realized, even in an experimental form. Despite the simplicity and beauty of the concept, many formidable problems must be overcome to make this dream a reality. This paper summarizes the aero/aerothermodynamic issues that must be addressed to make the dream a reality and discusses how aerothermodynamics facilities and their modem companion, real-gas computational fluid dynamics (CFD), can help solve the problems blocking the way to realizing the dream. The approach of the paper is first to outline the concept of an air-breathing hypersonic vehicle and then discuss the nose-to-tail aerothermodynamics issues and special aerodynamic problems that arise with such a craft. Then the utility of aerothermodynamic facilities and companion CFD analysis is illustrated by reviewing results from recent United States publications wherein these problems have been addressed. Papers selected for the discussion have k e n chosen such that the review will serve to survey important U.S. aero/aerothermodynamic real gas and conventional wind tunnel facilities that are useful in the study of hypersonic, hydrogen propelled hypervelocity vehicles.

  12. LABVIEW graphical user interface for precision multichannel alignment of Raman lidar at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Table Mountain Facility.

    PubMed

    Aspey, R A; McDermid, I S; Leblanc, T; Howe, J W; Walsh, T D

    2008-09-01

    The Jet Propulsion Laboratory operates lidar systems at Table Mountain Facility (TMF), California (34.4 degrees N, 117.7 degrees W) and Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (19.5 degrees N, 155.6 degrees W) under the framework of the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change. To complement these systems a new Raman lidar has been developed at TMF with particular attention given to optimizing water vapor profile measurements up to the tropopause and lower stratosphere. The lidar has been designed for accuracies of 5% up to 12 km in the free troposphere and a detection capability of <5 ppmv. One important feature of the lidar is a precision alignment system using range resolved data from eight Licel transient recorders, allowing fully configurable alignment via a LABVIEW/C++ graphical user interface (GUI). This allows the lidar to be aligned on any channel while simultaneously displaying signals from other channels at configurable altitude/bin combinations. The general lidar instrumental setup and the details of the alignment control system, data acquisition, and GUI alignment software are described. Preliminary validation results using radiosonde and lidar intercomparisons are briefly presented. PMID:19044439

  13. Propulsion and Power Generation Capabilities of a Dense Plasma Focus (DPF) Fusion System for Future Military Aerospace Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Knecht, Sean D.; Thomas, Robert E.; Mead, Franklin B.; Miley, George H.; Froning, David

    2006-01-01

    The objective of this study was to perform a parametric evaluation of the performance and interface characteristics of a dense plasma focus (DPF) fusion system in support of a USAF advanced military aerospace vehicle concept study. This vehicle is an aerospace plane that combines clean ``aneutronic'' dense plasma focus (DPF) fusion power and propulsion technology, with advanced ``lifting body''-like airframe configurations utilizing air-breathing MHD propulsion and power technology within a reusable single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) vehicle. The applied approach was to evaluate the fusion system details (geometry, power, T/W, system mass, etc.) of a baseline p-11B DPF propulsion device with Q = 3.0 and thruster efficiency, ɛprop = 90% for a range of thrust, Isp and capacitor specific energy values. The baseline details were then kept constant and the values of Q and ɛprop were varied to evaluate excess power generation for communication systems, pulsed-train plasmoid weapons, ultrahigh-power lasers, and gravity devices. Thrust values were varied between 100 kN and 1,000 kN with Isp of 1,500 s and 2,000 s, while capacitor specific energy was varied from 1 - 15 kJ/kg. Q was varied from 3.0 to 6.0, resulting in gigawatts of excess power. Thruster efficiency was varied from 0.9 to 1.0, resulting in hundreds of megawatts of excess power. Resulting system masses were on the order of 10's to 100's of metric tons with thrust-to-weight ratios ranging from 2.1 to 44.1, depending on capacitor specific energy. Such a high thrust/high Isp system with a high power generation capability would allow military versatility in sub-orbital space, as early as 2025, and beyond as early as 2050. This paper presents the results that coincide with a total system mass between 15 and 20 metric tons.

  14. Propulsion and Power Generation Capabilities of a Dense Plasma Focus (DPF) Fusion System for Future Military Aerospace Vehicles

    SciTech Connect

    Knecht, Sean D.; Mead, Franklin B.; Miley, George H.; Froning, David

    2006-01-20

    The objective of this study was to perform a parametric evaluation of the performance and interface characteristics of a dense plasma focus (DPF) fusion system in support of a USAF advanced military aerospace vehicle concept study. This vehicle is an aerospace plane that combines clean 'aneutronic' dense plasma focus (DPF) fusion power and propulsion technology, with advanced 'lifting body'-like airframe configurations utilizing air-breathing MHD propulsion and power technology within a reusable single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) vehicle. The applied approach was to evaluate the fusion system details (geometry, power, T/W, system mass, etc.) of a baseline p-11B DPF propulsion device with Q = 3.0 and thruster efficiency, {eta}prop = 90% for a range of thrust, Isp and capacitor specific energy values. The baseline details were then kept constant and the values of Q and {eta}prop were varied to evaluate excess power generation for communication systems, pulsed-train plasmoid weapons, ultrahigh-power lasers, and gravity devices. Thrust values were varied between 100 kN and 1,000 kN with Isp of 1,500 s and 2,000 s, while capacitor specific energy was varied from 1 - 15 kJ/kg. Q was varied from 3.0 to 6.0, resulting in gigawatts of excess power. Thruster efficiency was varied from 0.9 to 1.0, resulting in hundreds of megawatts of excess power. Resulting system masses were on the order of 10's to 100's of metric tons with thrust-to-weight ratios ranging from 2.1 to 44.1, depending on capacitor specific energy. Such a high thrust/high Isp system with a high power generation capability would allow military versatility in sub-orbital space, as early as 2025, and beyond as early as 2050. This paper presents the results that coincide with a total system mass between 15 and 20 metric tons.

  15. Burning plasma regime for Fussion-Fission Research Facility

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zakharov, Leonid E.

    2010-11-01

    The basic aspects of burning plasma regimes of Fusion-Fission Research Facility (FFRF, R/a=4/1 m/m, Ipl=5 MA, Btor=4-6 T, P^DT=50-100 MW, P^fission=80-4000 MW, 1 m thick blanket), which is suggested as the next step device for Chinese fusion program, are presented. The mission of FFRF is to advance magnetic fusion to the level of a stationary neutron source and to create a technical, scientific, and technology basis for the utilization of high-energy fusion neutrons for the needs of nuclear energy and technology. FFRF will rely as much as possible on ITER design. Thus, the magnetic system, especially TFC, will take advantage of ITER experience. TFC will use the same superconductor as ITER. The plasma regimes will represent an extension of the stationary plasma regimes on HT-7 and EAST tokamaks at ASIPP. Both inductive discharges and stationary non-inductive Lower Hybrid Current Drive (LHCD) will be possible. FFRF strongly relies on new, Lithium Wall Fusion (LiWF) plasma regimes, the development of which will be done on NSTX, HT-7, EAST in parallel with the design work. This regime will eliminate a number of uncertainties, still remaining unresolved in the ITER project. Well controlled, hours long inductive current drive operation at P^DT=50-100 MW is predicted.

  16. OFF-Stagnation point testing in plasma facility

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viladegut, A.; Chazot, O.

    2015-06-01

    Reentry space vehicles face extreme conditions of heat flux when interacting with the atmosphere at hypersonic velocities. Stagnation point heat flux is normally used as a reference for Thermal Protection Material (TPS) design; however, many critical phenomena also occur at off-stagnation point. This paper adresses the implementation of an offstagnation point methodology able to duplicate in ground facility the hypersonic boundary layer over a flat plate model. The first analysis using two-dimensional (2D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations is carried out to understand the limitations of this methodology when applying it in plasma wind tunnel. The results from the testing campaign at VKI Plasmatron are also presented.

  17. Laser Propulsion - Quo Vadis

    SciTech Connect

    Bohn, Willy L.

    2008-04-28

    First, an introductory overview of the different types of laser propulsion techniques will be given and illustrated by some historical examples. Second, laser devices available for basic experiments will be reviewed ranging from low power lasers sources to inertial confinement laser facilities. Subsequently, a status of work will show the impasse in which the laser propulsion community is currently engaged. Revisiting the basic relations leads to new avenues in ablative and direct laser propulsion for ground based and space based applications. Hereby, special attention will be devoted to the impact of emerging ultra-short pulse lasers on the coupling coefficient and specific impulse. In particular, laser sources and laser propulsion techniques will be tested in microgravity environment. A novel approach to debris removal will be discussed with respect to the Satellite Laser Ranging (SRL) facilities. Finally, some non technical issues will be raised aimed at the future prospects of laser propulsion in the international community.

  18. Helicon thruster plasma modeling: Two-dimensional fluid-dynamics and propulsive performances

    SciTech Connect

    Ahedo, Eduardo; Navarro-Cavalle, Jaume

    2013-04-15

    An axisymmetric macroscopic model of the magnetized plasma flow inside the helicon thruster chamber is derived, assuming that the power absorbed from the helicon antenna emission is known. Ionization, confinement, subsonic flows, and production efficiency are discussed in terms of design and operation parameters. Analytical solutions and simple scaling laws for ideal plasma conditions are obtained. The chamber model is then matched with a model of the external magnetic nozzle in order to characterize the whole plasma flow and assess thruster performances. Thermal, electric, and magnetic contributions to thrust are evaluated. The energy balance provides the power conversion between ions and electrons in chamber and nozzle, and the power distribution among beam power, ionization losses, and wall losses. Thruster efficiency is assessed, and the main causes of inefficiency are identified. The thermodynamic behavior of the collisionless electron population in the nozzle is acknowledged to be poorly known and crucial for a complete plasma expansion and good thrust efficiency.

  19. A Compact Disk Type Plasma Propulsion System with Modulated Magnetic Field for Nanoscale Space Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fukuda, Takeshi; Ueda, Satoshi; Ohnishi, Yukihiro; Inomoto, Michiaki

    2008-12-01

    A compact 5 mm disk type plasma thruster simply composed of only a set of antenna windings and bias field coil which produces significant thrust of 0.74 mN with rotating magnetic field has been proposed and successfully developed for future applications to low altitude nanosatellites. The key technology issue is that the rotating speed is set above the ion plasma frequency but far below the electron plasma frequency, in order to produce the electron drag current and axial electric field as a consequence of the interaction with the bias field. The formation of axial electric field was confirmed and the produced plasma density was >6×1018 m-3, whereas the power consumption is 500 W in the inductively coupled mode of operation. The anticipated thrust density and specific thrust could potentially be extended to 7.64 Nm-2 and 850 s, respectively, which is comparable to conventional Hall effect thrusters.

  20. Helicon thruster plasma modeling: Two-dimensional fluid-dynamics and propulsive performances

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ahedo, Eduardo; Navarro-Cavallé, Jaume

    2013-04-01

    An axisymmetric macroscopic model of the magnetized plasma flow inside the helicon thruster chamber is derived, assuming that the power absorbed from the helicon antenna emission is known. Ionization, confinement, subsonic flows, and production efficiency are discussed in terms of design and operation parameters. Analytical solutions and simple scaling laws for ideal plasma conditions are obtained. The chamber model is then matched with a model of the external magnetic nozzle in order to characterize the whole plasma flow and assess thruster performances. Thermal, electric, and magnetic contributions to thrust are evaluated. The energy balance provides the power conversion between ions and electrons in chamber and nozzle, and the power distribution among beam power, ionization losses, and wall losses. Thruster efficiency is assessed, and the main causes of inefficiency are identified. The thermodynamic behavior of the collisionless electron population in the nozzle is acknowledged to be poorly known and crucial for a complete plasma expansion and good thrust efficiency.

  1. A Compact Disk Type Plasma Propulsion System with Modulated Magnetic Field for Nanoscale Space Vehicles

    SciTech Connect

    Fukuda, Takeshi; Ueda, Satoshi; Ohnishi, Yukihiro; Inomoto, Michiaki

    2008-12-31

    A compact 5 mm disk type plasma thruster simply composed of only a set of antenna windings and bias field coil which produces significant thrust of 0.74 mN with rotating magnetic field has been proposed and successfully developed for future applications to low altitude nanosatellites. The key technology issue is that the rotating speed is set above the ion plasma frequency but far below the electron plasma frequency, in order to produce the electron drag current and axial electric field as a consequence of the interaction with the bias field. The formation of axial electric field was confirmed and the produced plasma density was >6x10{sup 18} m{sup -3}, whereas the power consumption is 500 W in the inductively coupled mode of operation. The anticipated thrust density and specific thrust could potentially be extended to 7.64 Nm{sup -2} and 850 s, respectively, which is comparable to conventional Hall effect thrusters.

  2. Optimizing space-charge limits of electron emission into plasmas with application to in-space electric propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morris, David Peter

    The topic of this thesis is the improvement of space-charge limits for electron emission into a plasma, primarily as applied to in-space electric propulsion applications. The space-charge limit is the point at which the electrostatic forces in a beam of emitted charged particles becomes sufficient to slow down and reflect new particles as they are emitted. Any emitter operating above this limit will suffer severe efficiency losses, as an average of 50% or more of the beam is reflected back to the emitter. This limit is especially salient to small spacecraft electric propulsion and other applications where power spent on electron emission is at a premium, such that it is not acceptable to improve the space-charge limit by simply adding energy to the emitted beam. The primary motivation of this work is field effect electron emitters because they are capable of high-current, low-power emission, but the results are applicable to thermionic and other types of emitters as well. Several techniques were studied including variation of emitter size and spacing, the addition of defocus rings, and time and spatial modulation of the emitted beam. Separating large emitters into multiple small emitters provided the greatest improvement, and trade studies are given showing the balance between integration cost and emission power. Defocus rings were found to be capable of improving emission from small emitters by 40% even in their most simple form of a grounded ring. Modulation of the beam was less effective at improving the space-charge limit, with a modulated beam having at best the same time-average space-charge limit as an un-modulated beam. It was discovered, however, that beam modulation significantly increases the efficiency of emission when the emitter must operate at current levels higher than the space-charge limit. Finally, it was confirmed that these results are consistent both for emission across a vacuum gap to a conducting anode, and across a plasma sheath into a

  3. An overview of the VASIMR engine: High power space propulsion with RF plasma generation and heating

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Díaz, F. R. Chang

    2001-10-01

    The Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) is a high power, radio frequency-driven magnetoplasma rocket, capable of exhaust modulation at constant power. While the plasma is produced by a helicon discharge, the bulk of the energy is added in a separate downstream stage by ion cyclotron resonance heating (ICRH). Axial momentum is obtained by the adiabatic expansion of the plasma in a magnetic nozzle. Exhaust variation in the VASIMR is primarily achieved by the selective partitioning of the RF power to the helicon and ICRH systems, with the proper adjustment of the propellant flow. However, other complementary techniques are also being studied. Operational and performance considerations favor the light gases. The physics and engineering of this device have been under study since the late 1970s. A NASA-led, research effort, involving several terms in the United States, continues to explore the scientific and technological foundations of this concept. The research involves theory, experiment, engineering design, mission analysis, and technology development. Experimentally, high density, stable plasma discharges have been generated in Helium, Hydrogen and Deuterium, as well as mixtures of these gases. Key issues involve the optimization of the helicon discharge for high-density operation and the efficient coupling of ICRH to the plasma, prior to acceleration by the magnetic nozzle. Theoretically, the dynamics of the magnetized plasma are being studied from kinetic and fluid perspectives. Plasma acceleration by the magnetic nozzle and subsequent detachment has been demonstrated in numerical simulations. These results are presently undergoing experimental verification. A brisk technology development effort for space-qualified, compact, solid-state RF equipment, and high temperature superconducting magnets is under way in support of this project. A conceptual point design for an early space demonstrator on the International Space Station has been defined

  4. Electric propulsion system technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brophy, John R.; Garner, Charles E.; Goodfellow, Keith D.; Pivirotto, Thomas J.; Polk, James E.

    1992-01-01

    The work performed in fiscal year (FY) 1991 under the Propulsion Technology Program RTOP (Research and Technology Objectives and Plans) No. (55) 506-42-31 for Low-Thrust Primary and Auxiliary Propulsion technology development is described. The objectives of this work fall under two broad categories. The first of these deals with the development of ion engines for primary propulsion in support of solar system exploration. The second with the advancement of steady-state magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster technology at 100 kW to multimegawatt input power levels. The major technology issues for ion propulsion are demonstration of adequate engine life at the 5 to 10 kW power level and scaling ion engines to power levels of tens to hundreds of kilowatts. Tests of a new technique in which the decelerator grid of a three-grid ion accelerator system is biased negative of neutralizer common potential in order to collect facility induced charge-exchange ions are described. These tests indicate that this SAND (Screen, Accelerator, Negative Decelerator) configuration may enable long duration ion engine endurance tests to be performed at vacuum chamber pressures an order of magnitude higher than previously possible. The corresponding reduction in pumping speed requirements enables endurance tests of 10 kW class ion engines to be performed within the resources of existing technology programs. The results of a successful 5,000-hr endurance of a xenon hollow cathode operating at an emission current of 25 A are described, as well as the initial tests of hollow cathodes operating on a mixture of argon and 3 percent nitrogen. Work performed on the development of carbon/carbon grids, a multi-orifice hollow cathode, and discharge chamber erosion reduction through the addition of nitrogen are also described. Critical applied-field MPD thruster technical issues remain to be resolved, including demonstration of reliable steady-state operation at input powers of hundreds to thousands of

  5. Electric propulsion system technology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brophy, John R.; Garner, Charles E.; Goodfellow, Keith D.; Pivirotto, Thomas J.; Polk, James E.

    1992-11-01

    The work performed in fiscal year (FY) 1991 under the Propulsion Technology Program RTOP (Research and Technology Objectives and Plans) No. (55) 506-42-31 for Low-Thrust Primary and Auxiliary Propulsion technology development is described. The objectives of this work fall under two broad categories. The first of these deals with the development of ion engines for primary propulsion in support of solar system exploration. The second with the advancement of steady-state magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster technology at 100 kW to multimegawatt input power levels. The major technology issues for ion propulsion are demonstration of adequate engine life at the 5 to 10 kW power level and scaling ion engines to power levels of tens to hundreds of kilowatts. Tests of a new technique in which the decelerator grid of a three-grid ion accelerator system is biased negative of neutralizer common potential in order to collect facility induced charge-exchange ions are described. These tests indicate that this SAND (Screen, Accelerator, Negative Decelerator) configuration may enable long duration ion engine endurance tests to be performed at vacuum chamber pressures an order of magnitude higher than previously possible. The corresponding reduction in pumping speed requirements enables endurance tests of 10 kW class ion engines to be performed within the resources of existing technology programs. The results of a successful 5,000-hr endurance of a xenon hollow cathode operating at an emission current of 25 A are described, as well as the initial tests of hollow cathodes operating on a mixture of argon and 3 percent nitrogen. Work performed on the development of carbon/carbon grids, a multi-orifice hollow cathode, and discharge chamber erosion reduction through the addition of nitrogen are also described. Critical applied-field MPD thruster technical issues remain to be resolved, including demonstration of reliable steady-state operation at input powers of hundreds to thousands of

  6. Scaling Laws of Lissajous Helicon Plasma Accelerator toward Electric Propulsion in Space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Funaki, Ikkou; Matsuoka, T.; Nakamura, T.; Yokoi, K.; Nishida, H.; Shamrai, K. P.; Tanikawa, T.; Hada, T.; Shinohara, S.

    2010-11-01

    Scaling law of Lissajous Helicon Plasma Accelerator(LHPA) is derived and tested via PIC simulations with code VORPAL. In the LHPA, rotating transverse electric field in external longitudinal uniform magnetic field drives azimuthal current via ExB drift then thrust is produced due to Lorentz force. An 1D analytical model is developed which includes field penetration and ExB current estimation based on trajectory analysis. Scaling law of thrust as a function of parameters of RF drive frequency, applied RF voltage, plasma density, size of the thruster will be shown.

  7. Nuclear-electric propulsion - Manned Mars propulsion options

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Palaszewski, Bryan; Brophy, John; King, David

    1989-01-01

    Nuclear-electric propulsion can significantly reduce the launch mass for manned Mars missions. By using high-specific-impulse (lsp) electric propulsion systems with advanced nuclear reactors, the total mass-to-orbit for a series of manned Mars flight is reduced. Propulsion technologies required for the manned Mars mission are described. Multi-megawatt Ion and Magneto-Plasma-Dynamic (MPD) propulsion thrusters, Power-Processing Units and nuclear power source are needed. Xenon (Xe)-Ion and MPD thruster performance are detailed. Mission analyses for several Mars mission options are addressed. Both MPD and Ion propulsion were investigated. A four-megawatt propulsion system power level was assumed. Mass comparisons for all-chemical oxygen/hydrogen propulsion missions and combined chemical and nuclear-electric propulsion Mars fleets are included. With fleets of small nuclear-electric vehicles, short trip times to Mars are also enabled.

  8. Working group report on beam plasmas, electronic propulsion, and active experiments using beams

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dawson, J. M.; Eastman, T.; Gabriel, S.; Hawkins, J.; Matossian, J.; Raitt, J.; Reeves, G.; Sasaki, S.; Szuszczewicz, E.; Winkler, J. R.

    1986-01-01

    The JPL Workshop addressed a number of plasma issues that bear on advanced spaceborne technology for the years 2000 and beyond. Primary interest was on the permanently manned space station with a focus on identifying environmentally related issues requiring early clarification by spaceborne plasma experimentation. The Beams Working Group focused on environmentally related threats that platform operations could have on the conduct and integrity of spaceborne beam experiments and vice versa. Considerations were to include particle beams and plumes. For purposes of definition it was agreed that the term particle beams described a directed flow of charged or neutral particles allowing single-particle trajectories to represent the characteristics of the beam and its propagation. On the other hand, the word plume was adopted to describe a multidimensional flow (or expansion) of a plasma or neutral gas cloud. Within the framework of these definitions, experiment categories included: (1) Neutral- and charged-particle beam propagation, with considerations extending to high powers and currents. (2) Evolution and dynamics of naturally occurring and man-made plasma and neutral gas clouds. In both categories, scientific interest focused on interactions with the ambient geoplasma and the evolution of particle densities, energy distribution functions, waves, and fields.

  9. Improving plasma actuator performance at low pressure, and an analysis of the pointing capabilities of cubeSats using Plasmonic Force Propulsion (PFP) thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friz, Paul Daniel

    This thesis details the work done on two unrelated projects, plasma actuators, an aerodynamic flow control device, and Plasmonic Force Propulsion (PFP) thrusters, a space propulsion system for small satellites. The first half of the thesis is a paper published in the International Journal of Flow Control on plasma actuators. In this paper the thrust and power consumption of plasma actuators with varying geometries was studied at varying pressure. It was found that actuators with longer buried electrodes produce the most thrust over all and that they substantially improved thrust at low pressure. In particular actuators with 75 mm buried electrodes produced 26% more thrust overall and 34% more thrust at low pressure than the standard 15 mm design. The second half details work done modeling small satellite attitude and reaction control systems in order to compare the use of Plasmonic Force Propulsion thrusters with other state of the art reaction control systems. The model uses bang bang control algorithms and assumes the worst case scenario solar radiation pressure is the only disturbing force. It was found that the estimated 50-500 nN of thrust produced by PFP thrusters would allow the spacecraft which use them extremely high pointing and positioning accuracies (<10-9 degrees and 3 pm). PFP thrusters still face many developmental challenges such as increasing specific impulse which require more research, however, they have great potential to be an enabling technology for future NASA missions such as the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, and The Stellar Imager.

  10. Mechanisms of Electric Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fisch, Nathaniel J.

    2004-11-01

    The technology of electric propulsion evolved to overcome the high propellant weight associated with propulsion by chemical means. As opposed to ejecting propellant at velocities of kilometers per second, exhaust velocities of plasma at tens of kilometers per second and more could be accomplished through electrical means. Although higher exhaust velocities require higher on-board power, the reduced propellant requirements facilitate a large variety of space transportation missions, such as orbit-raising, station-keeping, or other propulsion missions requiring the conservation of propellant mass such as interplanetary flight. To produce thrust by the application of electric forces, plasma can be accelerated directly, or ions can be accelerated and then neutralized to form flowing neutral plasma. The different mechanisms of acceleration are embodied in such thrust devices as ion thrusters, Hall thrusters, magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters, or arcjets. In each method of electric propulsion, different technological limitations arise from basic plasma properties. This talk reviews the basic acceleration mechanisms at play in contemporary means of electric propulsion within the broader context of accelerating plasma by any means.

  11. Experiment and numerical simulation of RF heating in the Tandem Mirror plasma propulsion device

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yang, T. F.; Peng, S.; Chang-Diaz, F. R.

    1991-01-01

    Recent results of experimental and theoretical studies of ICRF heating of the plasma in the Tendem Mirror rocket are presented. The radial and axial profile of the magnetic field of the wave have been measured, and the data agree with the results from numerical simulation. One very important new finding is that the wave damped when it approached the resonance plane. This is a strong indication of beach heating effect and that RF power is absorbed by the ions in the plasma as expected. This power absorption phenomenon was also further confirmed by the refined analytical study of the wave propagation in a slab model. The electron density in the central cell has been measured by a microwave interferometer. The existence of two types of discharge similar to those of H-alpha emission have also been observed from the density measurements. A preliminary design of a flight system for a 100-day Mars transit has been undertaken. The specific weight for a 10 MW rocket is only 0.04 kg/kW.

  12. Passive optical diagnostic of electric propulsion Xe plasmas: the role of metastable atoms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dressler, Rainer A.; Chiu, Yu-Hui; Sharma, Lalita; Srivastava, Rajesh; Karabadzhak, George F.

    2007-10-01

    Metastable Xe atoms play an important role in the radiation of xenon propelled electric thrusters. Experimental and theoretical cross sections for electron-excitation from the 5p^56s J=2 metastable level (1s5 state in Paschen notation) to the lowest six 5p^56p (2p) levels have recently become available, thereby providing important rate coefficients for the depopulation of the 1s5 state. Application of a collisional radiative model to near-infrared spectral intensities observed in the plume of a Hall thruster, however, demonstrates that additional depopulation paths are important. Present calculations show that the electron-induced excitation to 5p^56s J=1 (1s4) and other 5p^56s levels, for which newly calculated cross sections are presented, can account for the additional de-excitation mechanisms in plasma regions with low electron temperatures.

  13. An Investigation of Bremsstrahlung Reflection in a Dense Plasma Focus (DPF) Propulsion Device

    SciTech Connect

    Thomas, Robert; Miley, G. H.; Mead, Franklin

    2006-01-20

    The dense plasma focus device is one of the few fusion systems that is capable of burning advanced fuels such as D - 3He and p - 11B. An study has been performed and shown that three main requirements must be satisfied to reach breakeven for DPF fusion: a high Ti/Te ration ({approx} 20), an order of magnitude higher pinch lifetime, and the reflection and absorption if at least 50% Bremsstrahlung radiation. The latter issue is the focus of this report, and a literature search has been performed on laser-driven fusion radiation cavities, multilayer reflectors, and their application to Bremsstrahlung radiation reflection is presented. Additionally, the results found are compared to those assumed in the earlier DPF study bring p-11B.

  14. Laser thermal propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keefer, D.; Elkins, R.; Peters, C.; Jones, L.

    1984-01-01

    Laser thermal propulsion (LTP) is studied for the case in which laser power is absorbed by a small very high-temperature plasma (about 20,000 K) and transferred to the remainder of the pure hydrogen propellant by radiation and mixing. This concept could lead to the realization of a lightweight orbital transfer vehicle propulsion system having a specific impulse in the range 1000-2000 s. Approximately 12 percent of the input power may be radiated to the thruster walls, and 15 percent of the total propellant flow must be heated to 20,000 K to provide a bulk temperature of 5000 K prior to expansion. Three principal research issues identified are: (1) conditions for hydrogen plasma ignition, (2) control of the plasma position within the laser beam, plasma stability, and plasma absorption efficiency, and (3) characterization of the mixing of the plasma and buffer flows.

  15. Plasma Facing Components Generic Facilities Review Panel (PFC-GFRP): Final report

    SciTech Connect

    McGrath, R.; Allen, S.; Hill, D.; Brooks, J.; Mattas, R.; Davis, J.; Lipschultz, B.; Ulrickson, M.

    1993-10-01

    The Plasma Facing Components (PFC) Facilities Review Panel was chartered by the US Department of Energy, Office of Fusion Energy, ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) and Technology Division, to outline the program plan and identify the supporting test facilities that lead to reliable, long-lived plasma facing components for ITER. This report summarizes the panel`s findings and identifies the necessary and sufficient set of test facilities required for ITER PFC development.

  16. Electric propulsion for communications satellites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Free, B. A.; Guman, W. J.; Herron, B. G.; Zafran, S.

    1978-01-01

    Electric propulsion systems derive their low overall mass, relative to chemical propulsion systems, from an optimized mix of independently controlled power and mass flow rate. A significant reduction in mass can be secured by substituting electric propulsion for conventional hydrazine systems for all the major propulsion tasks of a communications satellite. Additional advantages for all electric propulsion maneuvers are precision location and higher pointing accuracy. Three auxiliary electric propulsion systems are now available for application on communications satellites: the electrically augmented hydrazine system, the Teflon pulsed plasma system, and the mercury ion thruster system. Primary electric propulsion will be available in the mid to late 1980s as a spin-off of NASA's program of interplanetary exploration.

  17. The Propulsion Center at MSFC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerrish, Harold; Schmidt, George R. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    The Propulsion Research Center at MSFC serves as a national resource for research of advanced, revolutionary propulsion technologies. Our mission is to move the nation's capabilities beyond the confines of conventional chemical propulsion into an era of aircraft like access to earth-orbit, rapid travel throughout the solar system, and exploration of interstellar space. Current efforts cover a wide range of exciting areas, including high-energy plasma thrusters, advanced fission and fusion engines, antimatter propulsion systems, beamed energy rockets and sails, and fundamental motive physics. Activities involve concept investigation, proof-of-concept demonstration, and breadboard validation of new propulsion systems. The Propulsion Research Center at MSFC provides an environment where NASA, national laboratories, universities, and industry researchers can pool their skills together to perform landmark propulsion achievements. We offer excellent educational opportunities to students and young researchers-fostering a wellspring of innovation that will revolutionize space transportation.

  18. Plasma flow switch experiments on the Pegasus facility

    SciTech Connect

    Cochrane, J.C. Jr.; Anderson, B.; Bartsch, R.R.; Bowers, R.; Findley, C.; Greene, A.; Kruse, H.; Oona, H.; Parker, J.V.; Peterson, D.; Sandoval, G. ); Lee, P.H.Y. ); Turchi, P. )

    1991-01-01

    Plasma flow switch experiments conducted on Pegasus have shown that a conducting layer of plasma shunts the load slot preventing efficient switching of current to the load. This effect is seen computationally. The magnitude of the effect depends on the specific parameters of the switch plasma and current level. Computations have also shown that a plasma boundary layer trap'' would effectively remove enough plasma from the inner conductor of the power flow channel so that efficient switching would occur. This plasma trap has been successfully demonstrated when used with a static load. It has not yet been tested with an imploding load. 3 refs., 8 figs.

  19. Tree Topping Ceremony at NASA's Propulsion Research Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    A new, world-class laboratory for research into future space transportation technologies is under construction at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, AL. The state-of-the-art Propulsion Research Laboratory will serve as a leading national resource for advanced space propulsion research. Its purpose is to conduct research that will lead to the creation and development of irnovative propulsion technologies for space exploration. The facility will be the epicenter of the effort to move the U.S. space program beyond the confines of conventional chemical propulsion into an era of greatly improved access to space and rapid transit throughout the solar system. The Laboratory is designed to accommodate researchers from across the United States, including scientists and engineers from NASA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, universities, and industry. The facility, with 66,000 square feet of useable laboratory space, will feature a high degree of experimental capability. Its flexibility will allow it to address a broad range of propulsion technologies and concepts, such as plasma, electromagnetic, thermodynamic, and propellantless propulsion. An important area of emphasis will be development and utilization of advanced energy sources, including highly energetic chemical reactions, solar energy, and processes based on fission, fusion, and antimatter. The Propulsion Research Laboratory is vital for developing the advanced propulsion technologies needed to open up the space frontier, and will set the stage of research that could revolutionize space transportation for a broad range of applications. This photo depicts construction workers taking part in a tree topping ceremony as the the final height of the laboratory is framed. The ceremony is an old German custom of paying homage to the trees that gave their lives in preparation of the building site.

  20. Laser Plasma Particle Accelerators: Large Fields for Smaller Facility Sources

    SciTech Connect

    Geddes, Cameron G.R.; Cormier-Michel, Estelle; Esarey, Eric H.; Schroeder, Carl B.; Vay, Jean-Luc; Leemans, Wim P.; Bruhwiler, David L.; Cary, John R.; Cowan, Ben; Durant, Marc; Hamill, Paul; Messmer, Peter; Mullowney, Paul; Nieter, Chet; Paul, Kevin; Shasharina, Svetlana; Veitzer, Seth; Weber, Gunther; Rubel, Oliver; Ushizima, Daniela; Bethel, Wes; Wu, John

    2009-03-20

    Compared to conventional particle accelerators, plasmas can sustain accelerating fields that are thousands of times higher. To exploit this ability, massively parallel SciDAC particle simulations provide physical insight into the development of next-generation accelerators that use laser-driven plasma waves. These plasma-based accelerators offer a path to more compact, ultra-fast particle and radiation sources for probing the subatomic world, for studying new materials and new technologies, and for medical applications.

  1. NASA Now: Propulsion

    NASA Video Gallery

    In this episode of NASA Now, you’ll visit NASA’s Spacecraft Propulsion Research Facility, called B-2, at NASA Plum Brook Station. You’ll meet Dr. Louis Povinelli and Brian Jones who explain w...

  2. Electric propulsion for small satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keidar, Michael; Zhuang, Taisen; Shashurin, Alexey; Teel, George; Chiu, Dereck; Lukas, Joseph; Haque, Samudra; Brieda, Lubos

    2015-01-01

    Propulsion is required for satellite motion in outer space. The displacement of a satellite in space, orbit transfer and its attitude control are the task of space propulsion, which is carried out by rocket engines. Electric propulsion uses electric energy to energize or accelerate the propellant. The electric propulsion, which uses electrical energy to accelerate propellant in the form of plasma, is known as plasma propulsion. Plasma propulsion utilizes the electric energy to first, ionize the propellant and then, deliver energy to the resulting plasma leading to plasma acceleration. Many types of plasma thrusters have been developed over last 50 years. The variety of these devices can be divided into three main categories dependent on the mechanism of acceleration: (i) electrothermal, (ii) electrostatic and (iii) electromagnetic. Recent trends in space exploration associate with the paradigm shift towards small and efficient satellites, or micro- and nano-satellites. A particular example of microthruster considered in this paper is the micro-cathode arc thruster (µCAT). The µCAT is based on vacuum arc discharge. Thrust is produced when the arc discharge erodes some of the cathode at high velocity and is accelerated out the nozzle by a Lorentz force. The thrust amount is controlled by varying the frequency of pulses with demonstrated range to date of 1-50 Hz producing thrust ranging from 1 µN to 0.05 mN.

  3. Nuclear Propulsion Technical Interchange Meeting, volume 2

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1993-01-01

    The purpose of the meeting was to review the work performed in fiscal year 1992 in the areas of nuclear thermal and nuclear electric propulsion technology development. These proceedings are an accumulation of the presentations provided at the meeting along with annotations provided by authors. The proceedings cover system concepts, technology development, and system modeling for nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) and nuclear electric propulsion (NEP). The test facilities required for the development of the nuclear propulsion systems are also discussed.

  4. Advanced Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frisbee, Robert H.

    1996-01-01

    This presentation describes a number of advanced space propulsion technologies with the potential for meeting the need for dramatic reductions in the cost of access to space, and the need for new propulsion capabilities to enable bold new space exploration (and, ultimately, space exploitation) missions of the 21st century. For example, current Earth-to-orbit (e.g., low Earth orbit, LEO) launch costs are extremely high (ca. $10,000/kg); a factor 25 reduction (to ca. $400/kg) will be needed to produce the dramatic increases in space activities in both the civilian and government sectors identified in the Commercial Space Transportation Study (CSTS). Similarly, in the area of space exploration, all of the relatively 'easy' missions (e.g., robotic flybys, inner solar system orbiters and landers; and piloted short-duration Lunar missions) have been done. Ambitious missions of the next century (e.g., robotic outer-planet orbiters/probes, landers, rovers, sample returns; and piloted long-duration Lunar and Mars missions) will require major improvements in propulsion capability. In some cases, advanced propulsion can enable a mission by making it faster or more affordable, and in some cases, by directly enabling the mission (e.g., interstellar missions). As a general rule, advanced propulsion systems are attractive because of their low operating costs (e.g., higher specific impulse, ISD) and typically show the most benefit for relatively 'big' missions (i.e., missions with large payloads or AV, or a large overall mission model). In part, this is due to the intrinsic size of the advanced systems as compared to state-of-the-art (SOTA) chemical propulsion systems. Also, advanced systems often have a large 'infrastructure' cost, either in the form of initial R&D costs or in facilities hardware costs (e.g., laser or microwave transmission ground stations for beamed energy propulsion). These costs must then be amortized over a large mission to be cost-competitive with a SOTA

  5. MSFC Nuclear Propulsion Materials Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rogers, J. R.; Cook, B.

    2004-01-01

    Nuclear propulsion systems for spacecraft applications present numerous technical challenges for propulsion systems. They have been the focus of a recent NRA. Challenges inclue: a nuclear reactor subsystem to produce thermal energy; a power conversion subsystem to convert the thermal energy into electrical energy; a propulsion subsystem that utilizes Hall effect thrusters; thruster technologies and high temperature materials to support subsystems. The MSFC Electrostatic Levitation (ESL) Facility provides an ideal platform for the study of high temperature and reactive materials. An overview of the facility and its capabilities will be presented.

  6. Description of an innovative vacuum pumping and energy absorption system for a multi-megawatt electric propulsion test facility

    SciTech Connect

    Coomes, E.P.; Bennett, D.W.; Lundgren, R.A.; McClanahan, E.D.; Moss, R.W.

    1988-03-01

    The development of high power magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters is rapidly approaching an impasse to further development: the lack of a facility with adequate vacuum pumping and energy removal capacity to support the resolution of key MPD life and performance issues by FY-93. Several studies have been performed that identify vacuum systems or facility concepts that would alleviate this problem. Although feasible, the proposed vacuum systems require significant research and development; and the proposed facility concepts all require the added development of a gas dynamic diffuser. 8 refs., 4 figs.

  7. Supersonic laser propulsion.

    PubMed

    Rezunkov, Yurii; Schmidt, Alexander

    2014-11-01

    To produce supersonic laser propulsion, a new technique based on the interaction of a laser-ablated jet with supersonic gas flow in a nozzle is proposed. It is shown that such parameters of the jet, such as gas-plasma pressure and temperature in the ablation region as well as the mass consumption rate of the ablated solid propellant, are characteristic in this respect. The results of numerical simulations of the supersonic laser propulsion are presented for two types of nozzle configuration. The feasibility to achieve the momentum coupling coefficient of C(m)∼10(-3) N/W is shown. PMID:25402938

  8. Focused technology: Nuclear propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, Thomas J.

    1991-01-01

    The topics presented are covered in viewgraph form and include: nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), which challenges (1) high temperature fuel and materials, (2) hot hydrogen environment, (3) test facilities, (4) safety, (5) environmental impact compliance, and (6) concept development, and nuclear electric propulsion (NEP), which challenges (1) long operational lifetime, (2) high temperature reactors, turbines, and radiators, (3) high fuel burn-up reactor fuels, and designs, (4) efficient, high temperature power conditioning, (5) high efficiency, and long life thrusters, (6) safety, (7) environmental impact compliance, and (8) concept development.

  9. Electric Propulsion Orbital Platform

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Friedly, V. J.; Ruyten, Wilhelmus M.; Litchford, R. J.; Garrison, G. W.

    1993-01-01

    This paper describes the Electric Propulsion Orbital Platform (EPOP), of which the primary objective is to provide an instrumented platform for testing electric propulsion devices in space. It is anticipated that the first flight, EPOP-1, will take place on the Shuttle-deployed Wake Shield Facility in 1996, and will be designed around a commercial 1.8 kW arcjet system which will be operated on gaseous hydrogen propellant. Specific subsystems are described, including the arcjet system, the propellant and power systems, and the diagnostics systems.

  10. Electric propulsion: Experimental research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ruyten, W. M.; Friedly, V. J.; Keefer, D.

    1992-01-01

    This paper describes experimental electric propulsion research which was carried out at the University of Tennessee Space Institute with support from the Center for Space Transportation and Applied Research. Specifically, a multiplexed laser induced fluorescence (LIF) technique for obtaining vector velocities, Doppler temperatures, and relative number densities in the exhaust plumes from electric propulsion devices is described, and results are presented that were obtained on a low power argon arcjet. Also, preliminary Langmuir probe measurements on an ion source are described, and an update on the vacuum facility is presented.

  11. Electric Propulsion: Experimental Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ruyten, W. M.; Friedly, V. J.; Keefer, D.

    1995-01-01

    This paper describes experimental electric propulsion research which was carried out at the University of Tennessee Space Institute with support from the Center for Space Transportation and Applied Research. Specifically, a multiplexed LIF technique for obtaining vector velocities, Doppler temperatures, and relative number densities in the exhaust plumes form electric propulsion devices is described, and results are presented that were obtained on a low power argon arcjet. Also, preliminary Langmuir probe measurements on an ion source are described, and an update on the vacuum facility is presented.

  12. Dutch plasma facility reveals new problems for ITER

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Calmthout, Martijn

    2012-06-01

    Scientists have expressed concern about the ability of the ITER experimental fusion reactor, currently being built in Cadarache, France, to hold intense high-temperature plasmas without seriously damaging the reactor core.

  13. Space Station Freedom solar array panels plasma interaction test facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Martin, Donald F.; Mellott, Kenneth D.

    1989-01-01

    The Space Station Freedom Power System will make extensive use of photovoltaic (PV) power generation. The phase 1 power system consists of two PV power modules each capable of delivering 37.5 KW of conditioned power to the user. Each PV module consists of two solar arrays. Each solar array is made up of two solar blankets. Each solar blanket contains 82 PV panels. The PV power modules provide a 160 V nominal operating voltage. Previous research has shown that there are electrical interactions between a plasma environment and a photovoltaic power source. The interactions take two forms: parasitic current loss (occurs when the currect produced by the PV panel leaves at a high potential point and travels through the plasma to a lower potential point, effectively shorting that portion of the PV panel); and arcing (occurs when the PV panel electrically discharges into the plasma). The PV solar array panel plasma interaction test was conceived to evaluate the effects of these interactions on the Space Station Freedom type PV panels as well as to conduct further research. The test article consists of two active solar array panels in series. Each panel consists of two hundred 8 cm x 8 cm silicon solar cells. The test requirements dictated specifications in the following areas: plasma environment/plasma sheath; outgassing; thermal requirements; solar simulation; and data collection requirements.

  14. Dynamics of self-compressed argon and helium plasma streams in the MPC facility

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ladygina, M. S.; Marchenko, A. K.; Solyakov, D. G.; Petrov, Yu V.; Makhlaj, V. A.; Yeliseyev, D. V.; Garkusha, I. E.; Cherednichenko, T. N.

    2016-07-01

    The results of experimental investigations on self-compressed plasma streams and compression zone formation are presented for varied mass flow rate and initial concentrations of particles of working gas that depend on initial pressure. Experiments were carried out in the Magnetoplasma Compressor (MPC) facility. Space–time distributions of the electric current and electron density in the plasma stream compression region were measured under different experimental conditions. High-speed images of plasma stream dynamics in the MPC accelerating channel with a high temporal resolution were also obtained for different initial pressures. The experimental results show a strong dependence of plasma stream parameters and compression zone location on the initial gas concentration. The maximum electron density is obtained in the range of Ne = (1 ÷ 5) × 1018 cm‑3. Plasma streams have a good radial symmetry under all experimental conditions. The distributions of plasma parameters along the plasma stream flows are discussed.

  15. Free radical propulsion concept

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hawkins, C. E.; Nakanishi, S.

    1981-01-01

    A free radical propulsion concept utilizing the recombination energy of dissociated low molecular weight gases to produce thrust was examined. The concept offered promise of a propulsion system operating at a theoretical impulse, with hydrogen, as high as 2200 seconds at high thrust to power ratio, thus filling the gas existing between chemical and electrostatic propulsion capabilities. Microwave energy used to dissociate a continuously flowing gas was transferred to the propellant via three body recombination for conversion to propellant kinetic energy. Power absorption by the microwave plasma discharge was in excess of 90 percent over a broad range of pressures. Gas temperatures inferred from gas dynamic equations showed much higher temperatures from microwave heating than from electrothermal heating. Spectroscopic analysis appeared to corroborate the inferred temperatures of one of the gases tested.

  16. Advanced rocket propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Obrien, Charles J.

    1993-01-01

    Existing NASA research contracts are supporting development of advanced reinforced polymer and metal matrix composites for use in liquid rocket engines of the future. Advanced rocket propulsion concepts, such as modular platelet engines, dual-fuel dual-expander engines, and variable mixture ratio engines, require advanced materials and structures to reduce overall vehicle weight as well as address specific propulsion system problems related to elevated operating temperatures, new engine components, and unique operating processes. High performance propulsion systems with improved manufacturability and maintainability are needed for single stage to orbit vehicles and other high performance mission applications. One way to satisfy these needs is to develop a small engine which can be clustered in modules to provide required levels of total thrust. This approach should reduce development schedule and cost requirements by lowering hardware lead times and permitting the use of existing test facilities. Modular engines should also reduce operational costs associated with maintenance and parts inventories.

  17. Advanced rocket propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Obrien, Charles J.

    1993-02-01

    Existing NASA research contracts are supporting development of advanced reinforced polymer and metal matrix composites for use in liquid rocket engines of the future. Advanced rocket propulsion concepts, such as modular platelet engines, dual-fuel dual-expander engines, and variable mixture ratio engines, require advanced materials and structures to reduce overall vehicle weight as well as address specific propulsion system problems related to elevated operating temperatures, new engine components, and unique operating processes. High performance propulsion systems with improved manufacturability and maintainability are needed for single stage to orbit vehicles and other high performance mission applications. One way to satisfy these needs is to develop a small engine which can be clustered in modules to provide required levels of total thrust. This approach should reduce development schedule and cost requirements by lowering hardware lead times and permitting the use of existing test facilities. Modular engines should also reduce operational costs associated with maintenance and parts inventories.

  18. Fusion for Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thio, Y. C. Francis; Schmidt, George R.; Santarius, John F.; Turchi, Peter J.; Siemon, Richard E.; Rodgers, Stephen L. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The need for fusion propulsion for interplanetary flights is discussed. For a propulsion system, there are three important system attributes: (1) The absolute amount of energy available, (2) the propellant exhaust velocity, and (3) the jet power per unit mass of the propulsion system (specific power). For efficient and affordable human exploration of the solar system, propellant exhaust velocity in excess of 100 km/s and specific power in excess of 10 kW/kg are required. Chemical combustion obviously cannot meet the requirement in propellant exhaust velocity. Nuclear fission processes typically result in producing energy in the form of heat that needs to be manipulated at temperatures limited by materials to about 2,800 K. Using the fission energy to heat a low atomic weight propellant produces propellant velocity of the order of 10 kinds. Alternatively the fission energy can be converted into electricity that is used to accelerate particles to high exhaust velocity. However, the necessary power conversion and conditioning equipment greatly increases the mass of the propulsion system. Fundamental considerations in waste heat rejection and power conditioning in a fission electric propulsion system place a limit on its jet specific power to the order of about 0.2 kW/kg. If fusion can be developed for propulsion, it appears to have the best of all worlds - it can provide the largest absolute amount of energy, the propellant exhaust velocity (> 100 km/s), and the high specific jet power (> 10 kW/kg). An intermediate step towards fusion propulsion might be a bimodal system in which a fission reactor is used to provide some of the energy to drive a fusion propulsion unit. There are similarities as well as differences between applying fusion to propulsion and to terrestrial electrical power generation. The similarities are the underlying plasma and fusion physics, the enabling component technologies, the computational and the diagnostics capabilities. These physics and

  19. New electron beam facility for irradiated plasma facing materials testing in hot cell

    SciTech Connect

    Sakamoto, N.; Kawamura, H.; Akiba, M.

    1995-09-01

    Since plasma facing components such as the first wall and the divertor for the next step fusion reactors are exposed to high heat loads and high energy neutron flux generated by the plasma, it is urgent to develop of plasma facing components which can resist these. Then, we have established electron beam heat facility ({open_quotes}OHBIS{close_quotes}, Oarai Hot-cell electron Beam Irradiating System) at a hot cell in JMTR (Japan Materials Testing Reactor) hot laboratory in order to estimate thermal shock resistivity of plasma facing materials and heat removal capabilities of divertor elements under steady state heating. In this facility, irradiated plasma facing materials (beryllium, carbon based materials and so on) and divertor elements can be treated. This facility consists of an electron beam unit with the maximum beam power of 50kW and the vacuum vessel. The acceleration voltage and the maximum beam current are 30kV (constant) and 1.7A, respectively. The loading time of electron beam is more than 0.1ms. The shape of vacuum vessel is cylindrical, and the mainly dimensions are 500mm in inner diameter, 1000mm in height. The ultimate vacuum of this vessel is 1 x 10{sup -4}Pa. At present, the facility for thermal shock test has been established in a hot cell. And performance estimation on the electron beam is being conducted. Presently, the devices for heat loading tests under steady state will be added to this facility.

  20. Facile synthesis of cuprous oxide nanoparticles by plasma electrochemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Jiandi; Chen, Qiang; Li, Junshuai; Xiong, Qing; Yue, Guanghui; Zhang, Xianhui; Yang, Size; Huo Liu, Qing

    2016-07-01

    We report on a simple plasma electrochemistry method for synthesizing cuprous oxide (Cu2O) nanoparticles in the presence of glucose. In this system, Ar plasma in contact with a NaCl solution was used as one electrode, and a Cu plate was immersed in the solution as the counter electrode. The plasma-solution interaction produced many reducing and oxidizing species which can react with the Cu ions released from the Cu electrode. Cu2O nanoparticles, with an average diameter of 22 +/- 6 nm, were formed under the competition of reducing and oxidizing reactions in the solution. The results show that the glucose added in the electrolyte strongly influences the properties of the products. Corresponding to high, medium, and low concentrations of glucose, the products were nanoparticles from amorphous Cu2O, polycrystalline Cu2O, and a mixture of polycrystalline Cu2O and Cu2Cl(OH)3, respectively.

  1. Nuclear concepts/propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, Thomas J.

    1993-01-01

    Nuclear thermal and nuclear electric propulsion systems will enable and/or enhance important space exploration missions to the moon and Mars. Current efforts are addressing certain research areas, although NASA and DOE still have much work yet to do. Relative to chemical systems, nuclear thermal propulsion offers the potential of reduced vehicle weight, wider launch windows. and shorter transit times, even without aerobrakes. This would improve crew safety by reducing their exposure to cosmic radiation. Advanced materials and structures will be an important resource in responding to the challenges posed by safety and test facility requirements, environmental concerns, high temperature fuels and the high radiation, hot hydrogen environment within nuclear thermal propulsion systems. Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) has its own distinct set of advantages relative to chemical systems. These include low resupply mass, the availability of large amounts of onboard electric power for other uses besides propulsion, improved launch windows, and the ability to share technology with surface power systems. Development efforts for NEP reactors will emphasize long life operation of compact designs. This will require designs that provide high fuel burnup and high temperature operation along with personnel and environmental safety.

  2. Texas Experimental Tokamak, a plasma research facility: Technical progress report

    SciTech Connect

    Wootton, A.J.

    1995-08-01

    In the year just past, the authors made major progress in understanding turbulence and transport in both core and edge. Development of the capability for turbulence measurements throughout the poloidal cross section and intelligent consideration of the observed asymmetries, played a critical role in this work. In their confinement studies, a limited plasma with strong, H-mode-like characteristics serendipitously appeared and received extensive study though a diverted H-mode remains elusive. In the plasma edge, they appear to be close to isolating a turbulence drive mechanism. These are major advances of benefit to the community at large, and they followed from incremental improvements in diagnostics, in the interpretation of the diagnostics, and in TEXT itself. Their general philosophy is that the understanding of plasma physics must be part of any intelligent fusion program, and that basic experimental research is the most important part of any such program. The work here demonstrates a continuing dedication to the problems of plasma transport which continue to plague the community and are an impediment to the design of future devices. They expect to show here that they approach this problem consistently, systematically, and effectively.

  3. Eagleworks Laboratories: Advanced Propulsion Physics Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    White, Harold; March, Paul; Williams, Nehemiah; ONeill, William

    2011-01-01

    NASA/JSC is implementing an advanced propulsion physics laboratory, informally known as "Eagleworks", to pursue propulsion technologies necessary to enable human exploration of the solar system over the next 50 years, and enabling interstellar spaceflight by the end of the century. This work directly supports the "Breakthrough Propulsion" objectives detailed in the NASA OCT TA02 In-space Propulsion Roadmap, and aligns with the #10 Top Technical Challenge identified in the report. Since the work being pursued by this laboratory is applied scientific research in the areas of the quantum vacuum, gravitation, nature of space-time, and other fundamental physical phenomenon, high fidelity testing facilities are needed. The lab will first implement a low-thrust torsion pendulum (<1 uN), and commission the facility with an existing Quantum Vacuum Plasma Thruster. To date, the QVPT line of research has produced data suggesting very high specific impulse coupled with high specific force. If the physics and engineering models can be explored and understood in the lab to allow scaling to power levels pertinent for human spaceflight, 400kW SEP human missions to Mars may become a possibility, and at power levels of 2MW, 1-year transit to Neptune may also be possible. Additionally, the lab is implementing a warp field interferometer that will be able to measure spacetime disturbances down to 150nm. Recent work published by White [1] [2] [3] suggests that it may be possible to engineer spacetime creating conditions similar to what drives the expansion of the cosmos. Although the expected magnitude of the effect would be tiny, it may be a "Chicago pile" moment for this area of physics.

  4. Facilities for technology testing of ITER divertor concepts, models, and prototypes in a plasma environment

    SciTech Connect

    Cohen, S.A.

    1991-12-01

    The exhaust of power and fusion-reaction products from ITER plasma are critical physics and technology issues from performance, safety, and reliability perspectives. Because of inadequate pulse length, fluence, flux, scrape-off layer plasma temperature and density, and other parameters, the present generation of tokamaks, linear plasma devices, or energetic beam facilities are unable to perform adequate technology testing of divertor components, though they are essential contributors to many physics issues such as edge-plasma transport and disruption effects and control. This Technical Requirements Documents presents a description of the capabilities and parameters divertor test facilities should have to perform accelerated life testing on predominantly technological divertor issues such as basic divertor concepts, heat load limits, thermal fatigue, tritium inventory and erosion/redeposition. The cost effectiveness of such divertor technology testing is also discussed.

  5. Electrical conductivity of the thermal dusty plasma under the conditions of a hybrid plasma environment simulation facility

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhukhovitskii, Dmitry I.; Petrov, Oleg F.; Hyde, Truell W.; Herdrich, Georg; Laufer, Rene; Dropmann, Michael; Matthews, Lorin S.

    2015-05-01

    We discuss the inductively heated plasma generator (IPG) facility in application to the generation of the thermal dusty plasma formed by the positively charged dust particles and the electrons emitted by them. We develop a theoretical model for the calculation of plasma electrical conductivity under typical conditions of the IPG. We show that the electrical conductivity of dusty plasma is defined by collisions with the neutral gas molecules and by the electron number density. The latter is calculated in the approximations of an ideal and strongly coupled particle system and in the regime of weak and strong screening of the particle charge. The maximum attainable electron number density and corresponding maximum plasma electrical conductivity prove to be independent of the particle emissivity. Analysis of available experiments is performed, in particular, of our recent experiment with plasma formed by the combustion products of a propane-air mixture and the CeO2 particles injected into it. A good correlation between the theory and experimental data points to the adequacy of our approach. Our main conclusion is that a level of the electrical conductivity due to the thermal ionization of the dust particles is sufficiently high to compete with that of the potassium-doped plasmas.

  6. Simulation of laser-plasma interaction experiments with gas-filled hohlraums on the LIL facility

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loiseau, P.; Masson-Laborde, P.-E.; Teychenné, D.; Monteil, M.-C.; Casanova, M.; Marion, D.; Tran, G.; Huser, G.; Rousseaux, C.; Hüller, S.; Héron, A.; Pesme, D.

    2016-03-01

    Laser-plasma interaction is a major issue for achieving ignition in inertial confinement fusion schemes, and still a major concern for the upcoming french laser mégajoule (LMJ) program. In order to mitigate the deleterious effects due to laser-plasma instabilities (LPI), clearly evidenced during the recent US National Ignition Campaign conducted on the National Ignition Facility, we use the LIL facility as a demonstrator for LPI studies. In this article, we focus on preliminary results regarding the propagation of a typical LMJ quadruplet through gas-filled hohlraums. Results on hohlraum energetics will then be discussed.

  7. Fourth-generation plasma immersion ion implantation and deposition facility for hybrid surface modification layer fabrication

    SciTech Connect

    Wang Langping; Huang Lei; Xie Zhiwen; Wang Xiaofeng; Tang Baoyin

    2008-02-15

    The fourth-generation plasma immersion ion implantation and deposition (PIIID) facility for hybrid and batch treatment was built in our laboratory recently. Comparing with our previous PIIID facilities, several novel designs are utilized. Two multicathode pulsed cathodic arc plasma sources are fixed on the chamber wall symmetrically, which can increase the steady working time from 6 h (the single cathode source in our previous facilities) to about 18 h. Meanwhile, the inner diameter of the pulsed cathodic arc plasma source is increased from the previous 80 to 209 mm, thus, large area metal plasma can be obtained by the source. Instead of the simple sample holder in our previous facility, a complex revolution-rotation sample holder composed of 24 shafts, which can rotate around its axis and adjust its position through revolving around the center axis of the vacuum chamber, is fixed in the center of the vacuum chamber. In addition, one magnetron sputtering source is set on the chamber wall instead of the top cover in the previous facility. Because of the above characteristic, the PIIID hybrid process involving ion implantation, vacuum arc, and magnetron sputtering deposition can be acquired without breaking vacuum. In addition, the PIIID batch treatment of cylinderlike components can be finished by installing these components on the rotating shafts on the sample holder.

  8. Fourth-generation plasma immersion ion implantation and deposition facility for hybrid surface modification layer fabrication.

    PubMed

    Wang, Langping; Huang, Lei; Xie, Zhiwen; Wang, Xiaofeng; Tang, Baoyin

    2008-02-01

    The fourth-generation plasma immersion ion implantation and deposition (PIIID) facility for hybrid and batch treatment was built in our laboratory recently. Comparing with our previous PIIID facilities, several novel designs are utilized. Two multicathode pulsed cathodic arc plasma sources are fixed on the chamber wall symmetrically, which can increase the steady working time from 6 h (the single cathode source in our previous facilities) to about 18 h. Meanwhile, the inner diameter of the pulsed cathodic arc plasma source is increased from the previous 80 to 209 mm, thus, large area metal plasma can be obtained by the source. Instead of the simple sample holder in our previous facility, a complex revolution-rotation sample holder composed of 24 shafts, which can rotate around its axis and adjust its position through revolving around the center axis of the vacuum chamber, is fixed in the center of the vacuum chamber. In addition, one magnetron sputtering source is set on the chamber wall instead of the top cover in the previous facility. Because of the above characteristic, the PIIID hybrid process involving ion implantation, vacuum arc, and magnetron sputtering deposition can be acquired without breaking vacuum. In addition, the PIIID batch treatment of cylinderlike components can be finished by installing these components on the rotating shafts on the sample holder. PMID:18315292

  9. Electron beam-plasma interaction experiments with the Versatile Toroidal Facility (VTF)

    SciTech Connect

    Murphy, S.M.; Lee, M.C.; Moriarty, D.T.; Riddolls, R.J.

    1995-12-31

    The laboratory investigation of electron beam-plasma interactions is motivated by the recent space shuttle experiments. Interesting but puzzling phenomena were observed in the shuttle experiments such as the bulk heating of background ionospheric plasmas by the injected electron beams and the excitation of plasma waves in the frequency range of ELF waves. The plasma machine, the Versatile Toroidal Facility (VTF) can generate a large magnetized plasma with the electron plasma frequency greater than the electron gyrofrequency by a factor of 3--5 similar to the plasma condition in the ionosphere. Short pulses of electron beams are injected into the VTF plasmas in order to simulate the beam injection from spacecrafts in the ionosphere. A Langmuir probe installed at a bottom port of VTF monitors the spatial variation of electron beams emitted from LaB6 filaments. An energy analyzer has been used to determine the particle energy distribution in the VTF plasmas. Several mechanisms will be tested as potential causes of the bulk heating of background plasmas by the injected electron beams as seen in the space shuttle experiments. It is speculated that the observed ELF emissions result from the excitation of purely growing modes detected by the space shuttle-borne detectors. Results of the laboratory experiments will be reported to corroborate this speculation.

  10. Focused technology: Nuclear propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, Thomas J.

    1993-01-01

    Five viewgraphs are presented that outline the objectives and elements of the Nuclear Propulsion Program, mission considerations, propulsion technologies, and the logic flow path for nuclear propulsion development.