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Sample records for acceleration space thruster

  1. The FAST (FRC Acceleration Space Thruster) Experiment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Martin, Adam; Eskridge, R.; Lee, M.; Richeson, J.; Smith, J.; Thio, Y. C. F.; Slough, J.; Rodgers, Stephen L. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    The Field Reverse Configuration (FRC) is a magnetized plasmoid that has been developed for use in magnetic confinement fusion. Several of its properties suggest that it may also be useful as a thruster for in-space propulsion. The FRC is a compact toroid that has only poloidal field, and is characterized by a high plasma beta = (P)/(B (sup 2) /2Mu0), the ratio of plasma pressure to magnetic field pressure, so that it makes efficient use of magnetic field to confine a plasma. In an FRC thruster, plasmoids would be repetitively formed and accelerated to high velocity; velocities of = 250 km/s (Isp = 25,000s) have already been achieved in fusion experiments. The FRC is inductively formed and accelerated, and so is not subject to the problem of electrode erosion. As the plasmoid may be accelerated over an extended length, it can in principle be made very efficient. And the achievable jet powers should be scalable to the MW range. A 10 kW thruster experiment - FAST (FRC Acceleration Space Thruster) has just started at the Marshall Space Flight Center. The design of FAST and the status of construction and operation will be presented.

  2. The FRC Acceleration Space Thruster (FAST) Experiment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Martin, Adam; Eskridge, Richard; Houts, Mike; Slough, John; Rodgers, Stephen L. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The objective of the FRC (Field Reversed Configuration) Acceleration Space Thruster (FAST) Experiment is to investigate the use of a repetitive FRC source as a thruster, specifically for an NEP (nuclear electric propulsion) system. The Field Reversed Configuration is a plasmoid with a closed poloidal field line structure, and has been extensively studied as a fusion reactor core. An FRC thruster works by repetitively producing FRCs and accelerating them to high velocity. An FRC thruster should be capable of I(sub sp)'s in the range of 5,000 - 25,000 seconds and efficiencies in the range of 60 - 80 %. In addition, they can have thrust densities as high as 10(exp 6) N/m2, and as they are inductively formed, they do not suffer from electrode erosion. The jet-power should be scalable from the low to the high power regime. The FAST experiment consists of a theta-pinch formation chamber, followed by an acceleration stage. Initially, we will produce and accelerate single FRCs. The initial focus of the experiment will be on the ionization, formation and acceleration of a single plasmoid, so as to determine the likely efficiency and I(sub sp). Subsequently, we will modify the device for repetitive burst-mode operation (5-10 shots). A variety of diagnostics are or will be available for this work, including a HeNe interferometer, high-speed cameras, and a Thomson-scattering system. The status of the experiment will be described.

  3. Ion sources for space thrusters (invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grigoryan, V. G.

    1996-03-01

    One of the main tasks of the creation of spacecraft power plants is raising the thrust producing jet velocity. Conventional chemical engines create jet velocities in the range of 3000-4500 m/s. This situation can be drastically changed if beams of charged particles accelerated by electric and magnetic fields are used to produce thrust. In such cases practically any jet velocity might be created, which considerably enlarges the number of tasks being fulfilled by spacecraft having such types of thruster. Several types of electric propulsion thrusters exist nowadays. They differ in the principles of acceleration of charged particles, for example, arc jets, magnetic plasma dynamic thrusters, stationary plasma thrusters, pulse thrusters, and ion thrusters. Electric propulsion thrusters are practically the accelerators of charged particles which operate under rather strict requirements concerning energy consumption and lifetime. Since the mid-fifties in Russia there have been intensive studies of practically all types of electric propulsion thrusters, including their tests in space, and beginning with the mid-seventies they have been practically used aboard spacecraft with a long, active lifetime. The study of the physical process involved together with the research design allowed Russian scientists to develop electric propulsion thrusters in the power range from hundreds of watts to tens of kilowatts, with jet velocities between 20000 and 50000 m/s and lifetime more than several thousand hours.

  4. Ion accelerator systems for high power 30 cm thruster operation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Aston, G.

    1982-01-01

    Two and three-grid accelerator systems for high power ion thruster operation were investigated. Two-grid translation tests show that over compensation of the 30 cm thruster SHAG grid set spacing the 30 cm thruster radial plasma density variation and by incorporating grid compensation only sufficient to maintain grid hole axial alignment, it is shown that beam current gains as large as 50% can be realized. Three-grid translation tests performed with a simulated 30 cm thruster discharge chamber show that substantial beamlet steering can be reliably affected by decelerator grid translation only, at net-to-total voltage ratios as low as 0.05.

  5. Performance of 30-cm ion thrusters with dished accelerator grids

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rawlin, V. K.

    1973-01-01

    Thirteen sets of dished accelerator grids were treated on five different 30 cm diameter bombardment thrusters to evaluate the effects of grid geometry variations on thruster discharge chamber performance. The dished grid parameters varied were: grid-to-grid spacing, screen and accelerator grid hole diameter, screen and accelerator open area fraction, compensation for beam divergence losses, and accelerator grid thickness. The effects on discharge chamber performance of main magnetic field changes, magnetic baffle current, cathode pole piece length and cathode position were also investigated.

  6. Mercury ion thruster research, 1977. [plasma acceleration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilbur, P. J.

    1977-01-01

    The measured ion beam divergence characteristics of two and three-grid, multiaperture accelerator systems are presented. The effects of perveance, geometry, net-to-total accelerating voltage, discharge voltage and propellant are examined. The applicability of a model describing doubly-charged ion densities in mercury thrusters is demonstrated for an 8-cm diameter thruster. The results of detailed Langmuir probing of the interior of an operating cathode are given and used to determine the ionization fraction as a function of position upstream of the cathode orifice. A mathematical model of discharge chamber electron diffusion and collection processes is presented along with scaling laws useful in estimating performance of large diameter and/or high specific impluse thrusters. A model describing the production of ionized molecular nitrogen in ion thrusters is included.

  7. Studies of dished accelerator grids for 30-cm ion thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rawlin, V. K.

    1973-01-01

    Eighteen geometrically different sets of dished accelerator grids were tested on five 30-cm thrusters. The geometric variation of the grids included the grid-to-grid spacing, the screen and accelerator hole diameters and thicknesses, the screen and accelerator open area fractions, ratio of dish depth to dish diameter, compensation, and aperture shape. In general, the data taken over a range of beam currents for each grid set included the minimum total accelerating voltage required to extract a given beam current and the minimum accelerator grid voltage required to prevent electron backstreaming.

  8. Studies of dished accelerator grids for 30-cm ion thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rawlin, V. K.

    1973-01-01

    Geometrically different sets of dished accelerator grids were tested on five 30-cm thrusters. The geometric variation of the grids included the grid-to-grid spacing, the screen and accelerator hole diameters and thicknesses, the screen and accelerator open area fractions, ratio of dish depth to the dish diameter, compensation, and aperture shape. In general, the data taken over a range of beam currents for each grid set included the minimum total accelerating voltage required to extract a given beam current and the minimum accelerator grid voltage required to prevent electron backstreaming.

  9. MHD plasma acceleration in plasma thrusters: a variational approach

    SciTech Connect

    Andreussi, T.; Pegoraro, F.

    2010-12-14

    A Hamiltonian formulation of the MHD plasma flow equations in terms of noncanonical variables is briefly discussed for the case of stationary axisymmetric configurations. This formulation makes it possible to cast these flow equations in a variational form with mixed (closed and/or open) boundary conditions. Within this framework the modelling of the acceleration channel of an applied-field Magneto-Plasma-Dynamic (MPD) thruster for space propulsion is discussed and shown to provide general relationships between the flow features and the thruster performance.

  10. Ion acceleration in electrodeless plasma thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lafleur, Trevor; Cannat, Felix; Jarrige, Julien; Elias, Paul-Quentin; Packan, Denis

    2016-09-01

    Since electrodeless plasma thrusters do not use biased electrodes or grids to accelerate ions, it is unclear what determines the magnitude of the ``accelerating voltage'' and hence what the ion beam energy is. In this work a combined theoretical/experimental study of the relationship between the electron temperature and the ion energy was performed to provide such an answer. Experimental measurements show that the ion energy and electron temperature are strongly correlated, and demonstrate that the driving force for the plasma expansion in magnetic nozzles is the electron pressure: in complete analogy to chemical rockets with physical nozzles. Because there are no electrodes or applied voltages, the plasma that exits the thruster must be current-free, and we show that this establishes a strong criterion that determines the maximum accelerating potential that self-forms in the plasma. This maximum accelerating potential (which is between about 4-6 times the electron temperature) is similar to that which develops for a floating sheath, and depends on the electron velocity distribution function. Based on plasma loss considerations inside the thruster cavity, and the drop-off of the ionization cross section for large electron energies in most gases, we predict a theoretical maximum achievable ion beam energy of about 400 eV for argon and xenon propellants.

  11. Advanced space propulsion thruster research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilbur, P. J.

    1981-01-01

    Experiments showed that stray magnetic fields can adversely affect the capacity of a hollow cathode neutralizer to couple to an ion beam. Magnetic field strength at the neutralizer cathode orifice is a crucial factor influencing the coupling voltage. The effects of electrostatic accelerator grid aperture diameters on the ion current extraction capabilities were examined experimentally to describe the divergence, deflection, and current extraction capabilities of grids with the screen and accelerator apertures displaced relative to one another. Experiments performed in orificed, mercury hollow cathodes support the model of field enhanced thermionic electron mission from cathode inserts. Tests supported the validity of a thermal model of the cathode insert. A theoretical justification of a Saha equation model relating cathode plasma properties is presented. Experiments suggest that ion loss rates to discharge chamber walls can be controlled. A series of new discharge chamber magnetic field configurations were generated in the flexible magnetic field thruster and their effect on performance was examined. A technique used in the thruster to measure ion currents to discharge chamber walls is described. Using these ion currents the fraction of ions produced that are extracted from the discharge chamber and the energy cost of plasma ions are computed.

  12. Advanced electrostatic ion thruster for space propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Masek, T. D.; Macpherson, D.; Gelon, W.; Kami, S.; Poeschel, R. L.; Ward, J. W.

    1978-01-01

    The suitability of the baseline 30 cm thruster for future space missions was examined. Preliminary design concepts for several advanced thrusters were developed to assess the potential practical difficulties of a new design. Useful methodologies were produced for assessing both planetary and earth orbit missions. Payload performance as a function of propulsion system technology level and cost sensitivity to propulsion system technology level are among the topics assessed. A 50 cm diameter thruster designed to operate with a beam voltage of about 2400 V is suggested to satisfy most of the requirements of future space missions.

  13. Acceleration Mechanism Of Pulsed Laser-Electromagnetic Hybrid Thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Horisawa, Hideyuki; Mashima, Yuki; Yamada, Osamu

    2011-11-10

    A fundamental study of a newly developed rectangular pulsed laser-electromagnetic hybrid thruster was conducted. Laser-ablation plasma in the thruster was induced through laser beam irradiation onto a solid target and accelerated by electrical means instead of direct acceleration only by using a laser beam. The performance of the thrusters was evaluated by measuring the ablated mass per pulse and impulse bit. As results, significantly high specific impulses up to 7,200 s were obtained at charge energies of 8.6 J. Moreover, from the Faraday cup measurement, it was confirmed that the speed of ions was accelerated with addition of electric energy.

  14. A Plasmoid Thruster for Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koelfgen, Syri J.; Hawk, Clark W.; Eskridge, Richard; Smith, James W.; Martin, Adam K.

    2003-01-01

    There are a number of possible advantages to using accelerated plasmoids for in-space propulsion. A plasmoid is a compact plasma structure with an integral magnetic field. They have been studied extensively in controlled fusion research and are classified according to the relative strength of the poloidal and toroidal magnetic field (BP and Bt, respectively). An Object with B P t >> 1 is classified as a Field Reverse Configuration (FRC); if B, = Bt, it is called a Spheromak. The plasmoid thruster operates by producing FRC-like plasmoids, and subsequently ejecting them from the device at high velocity. The plasmoid is formed inside of a single turn conical theta-pinch coil. As this process is inductive, there are no electrodes. Similar experiments have yielded plasmoid velocities of at least 50 km/s (l), and calculations indicate that velocities in excess of 100 km/s should be possible. This concept should be capable of producing Isp s in the range of 5,000 - 10,000 s with thrust densities of order 10(exp 5) N/sq m. The current experiment is designed to produce jet powers in the range of 5-10 kW, although the concept should be scalable to several MW s. The plasmoids mass and velocity will be measured with a variety of diagnostics, including internal and external B-dot probes, flux loops, Langmuir probes, high-speed cameras, and a laser interferometer. Also of key importance will be measurements of the efficiency and mass utilization. Simulations of the plasmoid thruster using MOQUI, a time dependent MHD code, will be carried out concurrently with experimental testing.

  15. A Plasmoid Thruster for Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koelfgen, Syri J.; Hawk, Clark W.; Eskridge, Richard; Smith, James W.; Martin, Adam K.

    2003-01-01

    There are a number of possible advantages to using accelerated plasmoids for in-space propulsion. A plasmoid is a compact plasma structure with an integral magnetic field. They have been studied extensively in controlled fusion research and are classified according to the relative strength of the poloidal and toroidal magnetic field (B(sub p), and B(sub t), respectively). An object with B(sub p), / B(sub t) much greater than 1 is classified as a Field Reversed Configuration (FRC); if B(sub p) approximately equal to B(sub t), it is called a Spheromak. The plasmoid thruster operates by producing FRC-like plasmoids and subsequently ejecting them from the device at a high velocity. The plasmoid is formed inside of a single-turn conical theta-pinch coil. As this process is inductive, there are no electrodes. Similar experiments have yielded plasmoid velocities of at least 50 km/s, and calculations indicate that velocities in excess of 100 km/s should be possible. This concept should be capable of producing Isp's in the range of 5,000 - 15,000 s with thrust densities on the order of 10(exp 5) N per square meters. The current experiment is designed to produce jet powers in the range of 5 - 10 kW, although the concept should be scalable to several MW's. The plasmoid mass and velocity will be measured with a variety of diagnostics, including internal and external B-dot probes, flux loops, Langmuir probes, high-speed cameras and a laser interferometer. Also of key importance will be measurements of the efficiency and mass utilization. Simulations of the plasmoid thruster using MOQUI, a time-dependent MHD code, will be carried out concurrently with experimental testing.

  16. High Power Helicon In-Space Thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ziemba, Timothy; Slough, John; Winglee, Robert

    2004-11-01

    The High Power Helicon (HPH) under development at the University of Washington has direct application as an electrode-less in-space thruster. Axial and radial plasma probe characteristics show that the plasma is created in and near the helicon coil and is then accelerated in the axial direction downstream away from the HPH. The bulk acceleration of the plasma is believed to be due to a coupling of the plasma electrons to the helicon field, which in turn transfers energy to the ions via an ambipolar electric field with downstream electric potentials of greater than 150 volts having been measured. Time of flight measurements of the plasma transiting downstream show specific impulses near 2000 seconds for Argon with calculated thrust levels near 1 Newton for input powers to the plasma in the tens of kilowatts. Nitrogen and hydrogen propellants have Isp levels of 3000 and 5000 seconds respectfully giving some variability in Isp and thrust level by the choice of propellants. Current work focuses on the determination of the various loss channels and optimization of the system efficiencies at increased output power levels.

  17. Charge-exchange erosion studies of accelerator grids in ion thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peng, Xiaohang; Ruyten, Wilhelmus M.; Keefer, Dennis

    1993-01-01

    A particle simulation model is developed to study the charge-exchange grid erosion in ion thrusters for both ground-based and space-based operations. Because the neutral gas downstream from the accelerator grid is different for space and ground operation conditions, the charge-exchange erosion processes are also different. Based on an assumption of now electric potential hill downstream from the ion thruster, the calculations show that the accelerator grid erosion rate for space-based operating conditions should be significantly less than experimentally observed erosion rates from the ground-based tests conducted at NASA Lewis Research Center (LeRC) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). To resolve this erosion issue completely, we believe that it is necessary to accurately measure the entire electric potential field downstream from the thruster.

  18. High Throughput 600 Watt Hall Effect Thruster for Space Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Szabo, James; Pote, Bruce; Tedrake, Rachel; Paintal, Surjeet; Byrne, Lawrence; Hruby, Vlad; Kamhawi, Hani; Smith, Tim

    2016-01-01

    A nominal 600-Watt Hall Effect Thruster was developed to propel unmanned space vehicles. Both xenon and iodine compatible versions were demonstrated. With xenon, peak measured thruster efficiency is 46-48% at 600-W, with specific impulse from 1400 s to 1700 s. Evolution of the thruster channel due to ion erosion was predicted through numerical models and calibrated with experimental measurements. Estimated xenon throughput is greater than 100 kg. The thruster is well sized for satellite station keeping and orbit maneuvering, either by itself or within a cluster.

  19. Integration Testing of a Modular Discharge Supply for NASA's High Voltage Hall Accelerator Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pinero, Luis R.; Kamhawi, hani; Drummond, Geoff

    2010-01-01

    NASA s In-Space Propulsion Technology Program is developing a high performance Hall thruster that can fulfill the needs of future Discovery-class missions. The result of this effort is the High Voltage Hall Accelerator thruster that can operate over a power range from 0.3 to 3.5 kW and a specific impulse from 1,000 to 2,800 sec, and process 300 kg of xenon propellant. Simultaneously, a 4.0 kW discharge power supply comprised of two parallel modules was developed. These power modules use an innovative three-phase resonant topology that can efficiently supply full power to the thruster at an output voltage range of 200 to 700 V at an input voltage range of 80 to 160 V. Efficiencies as high as 95.9 percent were measured during an integration test with the NASA103M.XL thruster. The accuracy of the master/slave current sharing circuit and various thruster ignition techniques were evaluated.

  20. A novel laser ablation plasma thruster with electromagnetic acceleration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Yu; Zhang, Daixian; Wu, Jianjun; He, Zhen; Zhang, Hua

    2016-10-01

    A novel laser ablation plasma thruster accelerated by electromagnetic means was proposed and investigated. The discharge characteristics and thrust performance were tested with different charged energy, structural parameters and propellants. The thrust performance was proven to be improved by electromagnetic acceleration. In contrast with the pure laser propulsion mode, the thrust performance in electromagnetic acceleration modes was much better. The effects of electrodes distance and the off-axis distance between ceramic tube and cathode were tested, and it's found that there were optimal structural parameters for achieving optimal thrust performance. It's indicated that the impulse bit and specific impulse increased with increasing charged energy. In our experiments, the thrust performance of the thruster was optimal in large charged energy modes. With the charged energy 25 J and the use of metal aluminum, a maximal impulse bit of 600 μNs, a specific impulse of approximate 8000 s and thrust efficiency of about 90% were obtained. For the PTFE propellant, a maximal impulse bit of about 350 μNs, a specific impulse of about 2400 s, and thrust efficiency of about 16% were obtained. Besides, the metal aluminum was proven to be the better propellant than PTFE for the thruster.

  1. Design, fabrication, and operation of dished accelerator grids on a 30-cm ion thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rawlin, V. K.; Banks, B. A.; Byers, D. C.

    1972-01-01

    Several closely-space dished accelerator grid systems were fabricated and tested on a 30-cm diameter mercury bombardment thruster and they appear to be a solution to the stringent requirements imposed by the near-term, high-thrust, low specific impulse electric propulsion missions. The grids were simultaneously hydroformed and then simultaneously stress relieved. The ion extraction capability and discharge chamber performance were studied as the total accelerating voltage, the ratio of net-to-total voltage, grid spacing, and dish direction were varied.

  2. Design, fabrication, and operation of dished accelerator grids on a 30-cm ion thruster.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rawlin, V. K.; Banks, B. A.; Byers, D. C.

    1972-01-01

    Several closely-spaced dished accelerator grid systems have been fabricated and tested on a 30-cm diameter mercury bombardment thruster and they appear to be a solution to the stringent requirements imposed by the near-term, high-thrust, low specific impulse electric propulsion missions. The grids were simultaneously hydroformed and then simultaneously stress relieved. The ion extraction capability and discharge chamber performance were studied as the total accelerating voltage, the ratio of net-to-total voltage, grid spacing, and dish direction were varied.

  3. Liquid-Metal-Fed Pulsed Electromagnetic Thrusters For In-Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Markusic, T. E.

    2004-01-01

    We describe three pulsed electromagnetic thruster concepts, which span four orders of magnitude in power processing capability (100 W to >100 kW), for in-space propulsion applications. The primary motivation for using a pulsed system is to is to enable high (instantaneous) power operation, which provides high acceleration efficiency, while using considerably less (continuous) power from the spacecraft power system. Unfortunately, conventional pulsed thrusters require failure-prone electrical switches and gas-puff valves. The series of thrusters described here directly address this problem, through the use of liquid metal propellant, by either eliminating both components or providing less taxing operational requirements, thus yielding a path toward both efficient and reliable pulsed electromagnetic thrusters. The emphasis of this paper is to conceptually describe each of the thruster concepts; however, initial test results with gallium propellant in one thruster geometry are presented. These tests reveal that a greater understanding of gallium material compatibility, contamination, and wetting behavior will be necessary before a completely functional thruster can be developed. Initial experimental results aimed at providing insight into these issues are presented.

  4. Development of an Ion Thruster and Power Processor for New Millennium's Deep Space 1 Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sovey, James S.; Hamley, John A.; Haag, Thomas W.; Patterson, Michael J.; Pencil, Eric J.; Peterson, Todd T.; Pinero, Luis R.; Power, John L.; Rawlin, Vincent K.; Sarmiento, Charles J.; Anderson, John R.; Bond, Thomas A.; Cardwell, G. I.; Christensen, Jon A.

    1997-01-01

    The NASA Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Applications Readiness Program (NSTAR) will provide a single-string primary propulsion system to NASA's New Millennium Deep Space 1 Mission which will perform comet and asteroid flybys in the years 1999 and 2000. The propulsion system includes a 30-cm diameter ion thruster, a xenon feed system, a power processing unit, and a digital control and interface unit. A total of four engineering model ion thrusters, three breadboard power processors, and a controller have been built, integrated, and tested. An extensive set of development tests has been completed along with thruster design verification tests of 2000 h and 1000 h. An 8000 h Life Demonstration Test is ongoing and has successfully demonstrated more than 6000 h of operation. In situ measurements of accelerator grid wear are consistent with grid lifetimes well in excess of the 12,000 h qualification test requirement. Flight hardware is now being assembled in preparation for integration, functional, and acceptance tests.

  5. Integration Tests of the 4 kW-Class High Voltage Hall Accelerator Power Processing Unit with the HiVHAc and the SPT-140 Hall Effect Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kamhawi, Hani; Pinero, Luis; Haag, Thomas; Huang, Wensheng; Ahern, Drew; Liang, Ray; Shilo, Vlad

    2016-01-01

    NASA's Science Mission Directorate is sponsoring the development of a 4 kW-class Hall propulsion system for implementation in NASA science and exploration missions. The main components of the system include the High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAc), an engineering model power processing unit (PPU) developed by Colorado Power Electronics, and a xenon flow control module (XFCM) developed by VACCO Industries. NASA Glenn Research Center is performing integrated tests of the Hall thruster propulsion system. This paper presents results from integrated tests of the PPU and XFCM with the HiVHAc engineering development thruster and a SPT-140 thruster provided by Space System Loral. The results presented in this paper demonstrate thruster discharge initiation along with open-loop and closed-loop control of the discharge current with anode flow for both the HiVHAc and the SPT-140 thrusters. Integrated tests with the SPT-140 thruster indicated that the PPU was able to repeatedly initiate the thruster's discharge, achieve steady state operation, and successfully throttle the thruster between 1.5 and 4.5 kW. The measured SPT-140 performance was identical to levels reported by Space Systems Loral.

  6. Experimental Study of an Advanced Plasma Thruster using ICRF Heating and Magnetic Nozzle Acceleration.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ando, Akira

    2005-10-01

    Electric propulsion (EP) systems utilize plasma technologies and have been developed for years as one of the most promising space propulsion approaches. It is urgently required to develop high-power plasma thrusters for human expeditions to Mars and future space exploration missions. The advanced thruster is demanded to control thrust and specific impulse by adjusting the exhaust plasma density and velocity. In the VASIMR project, a combined system of efficient ion cyclotron heating and optimized magnetic nozzle design is proposed to control the ratio of specific impulse to thrust at constant power[1]. In this system a flowing plasma is heated by ICRF (ion cyclotron range of frequency) waves and the plasma thermal energy is converted to flow energy in a diverging magnetic field nozzle. We have recently performed the first demonstration of ion cyclotron resonance heating and acceleration in a magnetic nozzle by using a fast-flowing plasma with Mach number of nearly unity. Highly ionized plasma is produced by Magneto-Plasma-Dynamic thruster (MPDT). When RF power is launched by a helically-wound antenna, electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves are excited, and plasma thermal energy and ion temperature drastically increase (nearly ten-fold rise) during the RF pulse. The value of resonance magnetic field is affected by the Doppler shift due to the fast-flowing plasma. Dependences of heating efficiency on both plasma density and input RF power will be presented. Ion acceleration along the field line is also observed in a diverging magnetic field nozzle. Perpendicular component (to the magnetic field) of ion energy decreases, whereas parallel component increases along the diverging magnetic field.[1] F.R. Chang Diaz, ``The VASIMR Engine,'' AIAA 2004-0149. AIAA conf. (Reno,2004); Bulletin of APS (46th APS-DPP), NM2A-3, 2004.

  7. High performance auxiliary-propulsion ion thruster with ion-machined accelerator grid

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hudson, W. R.; Banks, B. A.

    1975-01-01

    An improvement in thruster performance was achieved by reducing the diameter of the accelerator grid holes. The smaller accelerator grid holes resulted in a reduction in neutral mercury atoms escaping the discharge chamber, which in turn enhanced the discharge propellant utilization from approximately 68 percent to 92 percent. The accelerator grids were fabricated by ion machining with an 8-centimeter-diameter thruster, and the screen grid holes individually focused ion beamlets onto the blank accelerator grid. The resulting accelerator grid holes are less than 1.12 millimeters in diameter, while previously used accelerator grids had hole diameters of 1.69 millimeters. The thruster could be operated with the small-hole accelerator grid at neutralizer potential.

  8. Analysis and design of ion thrusters for large space systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    James, E. L.

    1980-01-01

    This study undertakes the analysis and conceptual design of a 0.5 Newton electrostatic ion thruster suitable for use on large space system missions in the next decade. Either argon or xenon gas shall be used as propellant. A 50 cm diameter discharge chamber was selected to meet stipulated performance goals. The discharge plasma is contained at the boundary by a periodic structure of alternating permanent magnets generating a series of line cusps. Anode strips between the magnets collect Maxwellian electrons generated by a central cathode. Ion extraction utilizes either two or three grid optics at the user's choice. An extensive analysis was undertaken to investigate optics behavior in the high power environment of this large thruster. A plasma bridge neutralizer operating on inert gas provides charge neutralizing electrons to complete the design. The resulting conceptual thruster and the necessary power management and control requirements are described.

  9. Stability test and analysis of the Space Shuttle Primary Reaction Control Subsystem thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Applewhite, John; Hurlbert, Eric; Krohn, Douglas; Arndt, Scott; Clark, Robert

    1992-07-01

    The results are reported of a test program conducted on the Space Shuttle Primary Reaction Control Subsystem thruster in order to investigate the effects of trapped helium bubbles and saturated propellants on stability, determine if thruster-to-thruster stability variations are significant, and determine stability under STS-representative conditions. It is concluded that the thruster design is highly reliable in flight and that burn-through has not occurred. Significantly unstable thrusters are screened out, and wire wrap is found to protect against chamber burn-throughs and to provide a fail-safe thruster for this situation.

  10. Stability test and analysis of the Space Shuttle Primary Reaction Control Subsystem thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Applewhite, John; Hurlbert, Eric; Krohn, Douglas; Arndt, Scott; Clark, Robert

    1992-01-01

    The results are reported of a test program conducted on the Space Shuttle Primary Reaction Control Subsystem thruster in order to investigate the effects of trapped helium bubbles and saturated propellants on stability, determine if thruster-to-thruster stability variations are significant, and determine stability under STS-representative conditions. It is concluded that the thruster design is highly reliable in flight and that burn-through has not occurred. Significantly unstable thrusters are screened out, and wire wrap is found to protect against chamber burn-throughs and to provide a fail-safe thruster for this situation.

  11. Sensitivity of 30-cm mercury bombardment ion thruster characteristics to accelerator grid design

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rawlin, V. K.

    1978-01-01

    The design of ion optics for bombardment thrusters strongly influences overall performance and lifetime. The operation of a 30 cm thruster with accelerator grid open area fractions ranging from 43 to 24 percent, was evaluated and compared with experimental and theoretical results. Ion optics properties measured included the beam current extraction capability, the minimum accelerator grid voltage to prevent backstreaming, ion beamlet diameter as a function of radial position on the grid and accelerator grid hole diameter, and the high energy, high angle ion beam edge location. Discharge chamber properties evaluated were propellant utilization efficiency, minimum discharge power per beam amp, and minimum discharge voltage.

  12. Electron Transport and Ion Acceleration in a Low-power Cylindrical Hall Thruster

    SciTech Connect

    A. Smirnov; Y. Raitses; N.J. Fisch

    2004-06-24

    Conventional annular Hall thrusters become inefficient when scaled to low power. Cylindrical Hall thrusters, which have lower surface-to-volume ratio, are therefore more promising for scaling down. They presently exhibit performance comparable with conventional annular Hall thrusters. Electron cross-field transport in a 2.6 cm miniaturized cylindrical Hall thruster (100 W power level) has been studied through the analysis of experimental data and Monte Carlo simulations of electron dynamics in the thruster channel. The numerical model takes into account elastic and inelastic electron collisions with atoms, electron-wall collisions, including secondary electron emission, and Bohm diffusion. We show that in order to explain the observed discharge current, the electron anomalous collision frequency {nu}{sub B} has to be on the order of the Bohm value, {nu}{sub B} {approx} {omega}{sub c}/16. The contribution of electron-wall collisions to cross-field transport is found to be insignificant. The plasma density peak observed at the axis of the 2.6 cm cylindrical Hall thruster is likely to be due to the convergent flux of ions, which are born in the annular part of the channel and accelerated towards the thruster axis.

  13. Deep Space Mission Applications for NEXT: NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oh, David; Benson, Scott; Witzberger, Kevin; Cupples, Michael

    2004-01-01

    NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) is designed to address a need for advanced ion propulsion systems on certain future NASA deep space missions. This paper surveys seven potential missions that have been identified as being able to take advantage of the unique capabilities of NEXT. Two conceptual missions to Titan and Neptune are analyzed, and it is shown that ion thrusters could decrease launch mass and shorten trip time, to Titan compared to chemical propulsion. A potential Mars Sample return mission is described, and compassion made between a chemical mission and a NEXT based mission. Four possible near term applications to New Frontiers and Discovery class missions are described, and comparisons are made to chemical systems or existing NSTAR ion propulsion system performance. The results show that NEXT has potential performance and cost benefits for missions in the Discovery, New Frontiers, and larger mission classes.

  14. Long life monopropellant hydrazine thruster evaluation for Space Station Freedom application - Test results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Popp, Christopher G.; Cook, Joseph C.; Ragland, Brenda L.; Pate, Leah R.

    1992-01-01

    In support of propulsion system thruster development activity for Space Station Freedom (SSF), NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) conducted a hydrazine thruster technology demonstration program. The goal of this program was to identify impulse life capability of state-of-the-art long life hydrazine thrusters nominally rated for 50 pounds thrust at 300 psia supply pressure. The SSF propulsion system requirement for impulse life of this thruster class is 1.5 million pounds-seconds, corresponding to a throughput of approximately 6400 pounds of propellant. Long life thrusters were procured from The Marquardt Company, Hamilton Standard, and Rocket Research Company, Testing at JSC was completed on the thruster designs to quantify life while simulating expected thruster firing duty cycles and durations for SSF. This paper presents a review of the SSF propulsion system hydrazine thruster requirements, summaries of the three long life thruster designs procured by JSC and acceptance test results for each thruster, the JSC thruster life evaluation test program, and the results of the JSC test program.

  15. Low Cost Electric Propulsion Thruster for Deep Space Robotic Science Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Manzella, David

    2008-01-01

    Electric Propulsion (EP) has found widespread acceptance by commercial satellite providers for on-orbit station keeping due to the total life cycle cost advantages these systems offer. NASA has also sought to benefit from the use of EP for primary propulsion onboard the Deep Space-1 and DAWN spacecraft. These applications utilized EP systems based on gridded ion thrusters, which offer performance unequaled by other electric propulsion thrusters. Through the In-Space Propulsion Project, a lower cost thruster technology is currently under development designed to make electric propulsion intended for primary propulsion applications cost competitive with chemical propulsion systems. The basis for this new technology is a very reliable electric propulsion thruster called the Hall thruster. Hall thrusters, which have been flown by the Russians dating back to the 1970s, have been used by the Europeans on the SMART-1 lunar orbiter and currently employed by 15 other geostationary spacecraft. Since the inception of the Hall thruster, over 100 of these devices have been used with no known failures. This paper describes the latest accomplishments of a development task that seeks to improve Hall thruster technology by increasing its specific impulse, throttle-ability, and lifetime to make this type of electric propulsion thruster applicable to NASA deep space science missions. In addition to discussing recent progress on this task, this paper describes the performance and cost benefits projected to result from the use of advanced Hall thrusters for deep space science missions.

  16. Theta-Pinch Thruster for Piloted Deep Space Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    LaPointe, Mike R.; Reddy, Dhanireddy (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    A new high-power propulsion concept that combines a rapidly pulsed theta-pinch discharge with upstream particle reflection by a magnetic mirror was evaluated under a Phase 1 grant awarded through the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts. Analytic and numerical models were developed to predict the performance of a theta-pinch thruster operated over a wide range of initial gas pressures and discharge periods. The models indicate that a 1 m radius, 10 m long thruster operated with hydrogen propellant could provide impulse-bits ranging from 1 N-s to 330 N-s with specific impulse values of 7,500 s to 2,500 s, respectively. A pulsed magnetic field strength of 2 T is required to compress and heat the preionized hydrogen over a 10(exp -3) second discharge period, with about 60% of the heated plasma exiting the chamber each period to produce thrust. The unoptimized thruster efficiency is low, peaking at approximately 16% for an initial hydrogen chamber pressure of 100 Torr. The specific impulse and impulse-bit at this operating condition are 3,500 s and 90 N-s, respectively, and the required discharge energy is approximately 9x10(exp 6) J. For a pulse repetition rate of 10 Hz, the engine would produce an average thrust of 900 N at 3,500 s specific impulse. Combined with the electrodeless nature of the device, these performance parameters indicate that theta-pinch thrusters could provide unique, long-life propulsion systems for piloted deep space mission applications.

  17. Fast Camera Imaging of Hall Thruster Ignition

    SciTech Connect

    C.L. Ellison, Y. Raitses and N.J. Fisch

    2011-02-24

    Hall thrusters provide efficient space propulsion by electrostatic acceleration of ions. Rotating electron clouds in the thruster overcome the space charge limitations of other methods. Images of the thruster startup, taken with a fast camera, reveal a bright ionization period which settles into steady state operation over 50 μs. The cathode introduces azimuthal asymmetry, which persists for about 30 μs into the ignition. Plasma thrusters are used on satellites for repositioning, orbit correction and drag compensation. The advantage of plasma thrusters over conventional chemical thrusters is that the exhaust energies are not limited by chemical energy to about an electron volt. For xenon Hall thrusters, the ion exhaust velocity can be 15-20 km/s, compared to 5 km/s for a typical chemical thruster

  18. MOA—The Magnetic Field Amplified Thruster, a Novel Concept for a Pulsed Plasma Accelerator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frischauf, Norbert; Hettmer, Manfred; Grassauer, Andreas; Bartusch, Tobias; Koudelka, Otto

    2008-01-01

    More than 60 years after the later Nobel laureate Hannes Alfvén had published a letter stating that oscillating magnetic fields can accelerate ionised matter via magneto-hydrodynamic interactions in a wave like fashion, the technical implementation of Alfvén waves for propulsive purposes has been proposed, patented and examined for the first time by a group of inventors. The name of the concept is MOA—Magnetic field Oscillating Amplified thruster. Based on computer simulations, MOA is a highly flexible propulsion system, whose performance parameters might easily be adapted, by changing the mass flow and/or the power level. As such the system is capable to deliver a maximum specific impulse of 13116 s (12.87 mN) at a power level of 11.16 kW, using Xe as propellant, but can also be attuned to provide a thrust of 236.5 mN (2411 s) at 6.15 kW of power. While space propulsion is expected to be the prime application for MOA and is supported by numerous applications such as Solar and/or Nuclear Electric Propulsion or even as an `afterburner system' for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion, other terrestrial applications can be thought of as well, making the system highly suited for a common space-terrestrial application research and utilisation strategy. This paper presents the recent developments of the MOA Thruster R&D activities at QASAR (www.qasar.at), the company in Vienna, which has been set up to further develop and test the Alfvén wave technology and its applications.

  19. MOA - The Magnetic Field Amplified Thruster, a Novel Concept for a Pulsed Plasma Accelerator

    SciTech Connect

    Frischauf, Norbert; Hettmer, Manfred; Grassauer, Andreas; Bartusch, Tobias; Koudelka, Otto

    2008-01-21

    More than 60 years after the later Nobel laureate Hannes Alfven had published a letter stating that oscillating magnetic fields can accelerate ionised matter via magneto-hydrodynamic interactions in a wave like fashion, the technical implementation of Alfven waves for propulsive purposes has been proposed, patented and examined for the first time by a group of inventors. The name of the concept is MOA - Magnetic field Oscillating Amplified thruster. Based on computer simulations, MOA is a highly flexible propulsion system, whose performance parameters might easily be adapted, by changing the mass flow and/or the power level. As such the system is capable to deliver a maximum specific impulse of 13116 s (12.87 mN) at a power level of 11.16 kW, using Xe as propellant, but can also be attuned to provide a thrust of 236.5 mN (2411 s) at 6.15 kW of power. While space propulsion is expected to be the prime application for MOA and is supported by numerous applications such as Solar and/or Nuclear Electric Propulsion or even as an 'afterburner system' for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion, other terrestrial applications can be thought of as well, making the system highly suited for a common space-terrestrial application research and utilisation strategy. This paper presents the recent developments of the MOA Thruster R and D activities at QASAR (www.qasar.at), the company in Vienna, which has been set up to further develop and test the Alfven wave technology and its applications.

  20. Engineering Risk Assessment of Space Thruster Challenge Problem

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mathias, Donovan L.; Mattenberger, Christopher J.; Go, Susie

    2014-01-01

    The Engineering Risk Assessment (ERA) team at NASA Ames Research Center utilizes dynamic models with linked physics-of-failure analyses to produce quantitative risk assessments of space exploration missions. This paper applies the ERA approach to the baseline and extended versions of the PSAM Space Thruster Challenge Problem, which investigates mission risk for a deep space ion propulsion system with time-varying thruster requirements and operations schedules. The dynamic mission is modeled using a combination of discrete and continuous-time reliability elements within the commercially available GoldSim software. Loss-of-mission (LOM) probability results are generated via Monte Carlo sampling performed by the integrated model. Model convergence studies are presented to illustrate the sensitivity of integrated LOM results to the number of Monte Carlo trials. A deterministic risk model was also built for the three baseline and extended missions using the Ames Reliability Tool (ART), and results are compared to the simulation results to evaluate the relative importance of mission dynamics. The ART model did a reasonable job of matching the simulation models for the baseline case, while a hybrid approach using offline dynamic models was required for the extended missions. This study highlighted that state-of-the-art techniques can adequately adapt to a range of dynamic problems.

  1. Qualification of Commercial XIPS(R) Ion Thrusters for NASA Deep Space Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goebel, Dan M.; Polk, James E.; Wirz, Richard E.; Snyder, J.Steven; Mikellides, Ioannis G.; Katz, Ira; Anderson, John

    2008-01-01

    Electric propulsion systems based on commercial ion and Hall thrusters have the potential for significantly reducing the cost and schedule-risk of Ion Propulsion Systems (IPS) for deep space missions. The large fleet of geosynchronous communication satellites that use solar electric propulsion (SEP), which will approach 40 satellites by year-end, demonstrates the significant level of technical maturity and spaceflight heritage achieved by the commercial IPS systems. A program to delta-qualify XIPS(R) ion thrusters for deep space missions is underway at JPL. This program includes modeling of the thruster grid and cathode life, environmental testing of a 25-centimeter electromagnetic (EM) thruster over DAWN-like vibe and temperature profiles, and wear testing of the thruster cathodes to demonstrate the life and benchmark the model results. This paper will present the delta-qualification status of the XIPS thruster and discuss the life and reliability with respect to known failure mechanisms.

  2. Space Shuttle vernier thruster long-life chamber development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Krohn, Douglas D.

    1990-01-01

    The Space Shuttle Reaction Control Subsystem (RCS) vernier thruster is a pressure fed engine that utilizes storable propellants to provide precise attitude control for the Orbiter. The current vernier thruster is life limited due to its chamber material. By developing an iridium-lined rhenium chamber for the vernier, substantial gains could be achieved in the operational life of the chamber. The present RCS vernier, its requirements, operating characteristics, and life limitations are described. The current technology status of iridium-lined rhenium is presented along with a description of the operational life capabilities to be gained from implementing this material into the design of a long life vernier chamber. Discussion of the proposed demonstration program to be performed by the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center to attain additional insight into the application of this technology to the RCS vernier, includes the technical objectives, approach, and program schedule. The plans for further development and integration with the Orbiter and the Shuttle system are also presented.

  3. Post-Test Analysis of the Deep Space One Spare Flight Thruster Ion Optics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, John R.; Sengupta, Anita; Brophy, John R.

    2004-01-01

    The Deep Space 1 (DSl) spare flight thruster (FT2) was operated for 30,352 hours during the extended life test (ELT). The test was performed to validate the service life of the thruster, study known and identify unknown life limiting modes. Several of the known life limiting modes involve the ion optics system. These include loss of structural integrity for either the screen grid or accelerator grid due to sputter erosion from energetic ions striking the grid, sputter erosion enlargement of the accelerator grid apertures to the point where the accelerator grid power supply can no longer prevent electron backstreaming, unclearable shorting between the grids causes by flakes of sputtered material, and rouge hole formation due to flakes of material defocusing the ion beam. Grid gap decrease, which increases the probability of electron backstreaming and of arcing between the grids, was identified as an additional life limiting mechanism after the test. A combination of accelerator grid aperture enlargement and grid gap decrease resulted in the inability to prevent electron backstreaming at full power at 26,000 hours of the ELT. Through pits had eroded through the accelerator grid webbing and grooves had penetrated through 45% of the grid thickness in the center of the grid. The upstream surface of the screen grid eroded in a chamfered pattern around the holes in the central portion of the grid. Sputter deposited material, from the accelerator grid, adhered to the downstream surface of the screen grid and did not spall to form flakes. Although a small amount of sputter deposited material protruded into the screen grid apertures, no rouge holes were found after the ELT.

  4. Systems and methods for cylindrical hall thrusters with independently controllable ionization and acceleration stages

    DOEpatents

    Diamant, Kevin David; Raitses, Yevgeny; Fisch, Nathaniel Joseph

    2014-05-13

    Systems and methods may be provided for cylindrical Hall thrusters with independently controllable ionization and acceleration stages. The systems and methods may include a cylindrical channel having a center axial direction, a gas inlet for directing ionizable gas to an ionization section of the cylindrical channel, an ionization device that ionizes at least a portion of the ionizable gas within the ionization section to generate ionized gas, and an acceleration device distinct from the ionization device. The acceleration device may provide an axial electric field for an acceleration section of the cylindrical channel to accelerate the ionized gas through the acceleration section, where the axial electric field has an axial direction in relation to the center axial direction. The ionization section and the acceleration section of the cylindrical channel may be substantially non-overlapping.

  5. A high power ion thruster for deep space missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polk, James E.; Goebel, Dan M.; Snyder, John S.; Schneider, Analyn C.; Johnson, Lee K.; Sengupta, Anita

    2012-07-01

    The Nuclear Electric Xenon Ion System ion thruster was developed for potential outer planet robotic missions using nuclear electric propulsion (NEP). This engine was designed to operate at power levels ranging from 13 to 28 kW at specific impulses of 6000-8500 s and for burn times of up to 10 years. State-of-the-art performance and life assessment tools were used to design the thruster, which featured 57-cm-diameter carbon-carbon composite grids operating at voltages of 3.5-6.5 kV. Preliminary validation of the thruster performance was accomplished with a laboratory model thruster, while in parallel, a flight-like development model (DM) thruster was completed and two DM thrusters fabricated. The first thruster completed full performance testing and a 2000-h wear test. The second successfully completed vibration tests at the full protoflight levels defined for this NEP program and then passed performance validation testing. The thruster design, performance, and the experimental validation of the design tools are discussed in this paper.

  6. Magnetic Nozzles for Plasma Thrusters: Acceleration, Thrust, and Detachment Mechanisms

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-10-01

    In the unmagnetized case the plasma is accelerated diffusively and some ion streamlines go backwards to the left dielectric wall , where ions are...processes related to the plasma wall interaction, virtual cathode considerations and anomalous diffusion. In this work, anomalous diffusion and virtual...demagnetized, which allows the development of the electric force and ion acceleration there, and increases the plasma flux to the wall . For β0 > 3 − 4

  7. Accelerated life test of sputtering and anode deposit spalling in a small mercury ion thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Power, J. L.

    1975-01-01

    Tantalum and molybdenum sputtered from discharge chamber components during operation of a 5 centimeter diameter mercury ion thruster adhered much more strongly to coarsely grit blasted anode surfaces than to standard surfaces. Spalling of the sputtered coating did occur from a coarse screen anode surface but only in flakes less than a mesh unit long. The results were obtained in a 200 hour accelerated life test conducted at an elevated discharge potential of 64.6 volts. The test approximately reproduced the major sputter erosion and deposition effects that occur under normal operation but at approximately 75 times the normal rate. No discharge chamber component suffered sufficient erosion in the test to threaten its structural integrity or further serviceability. The test indicated that the use of tantalum-surfaced discharge chamber components in conjunction with a fine wire screen anode surface should cure the problems of sputter erosion and sputtered deposits spalling in long term operation of small mercury ion thrusters.

  8. Magnetic Shielding of the Acceleration Channel Walls in a Long-Life Hall Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mikellides, Ioannis G.; Katz, Ira; Hofer, Richard R.; Goebel, Dan M.; de Grys, Kristi; Mathers, Alex

    2010-01-01

    In a Qualification Life Test (QLT) of the BPT-4000 Hall thruster that recently accumulated greater than 10,000 h it was found that the erosion of the acceleration channel practically stopped after approximately 5,600 h. Numerical simulations of this thruster using a 2-D axisymmetric, magnetic field-aligned-mesh (MFAM) plasma solver reveal that the process that led to this significant reduction of the erosion was multifaceted. It is found that when the channel receded from its early-in-life geometry to its steady-state configuration several changes in the near-wall plasma and sheath were induced by the magnetic field that, collectively, constituted an effective shielding of the walls from any significant ion bombardment. Because all such changes in the behavior of the ionized gas near the eroding surfaces were caused by the topology of the magnetic field there, we term this process "magnetic shielding."

  9. Space Shuttle reaction control system thruster metal nitrate removal and characterization

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Saulsberry, R. L.; Mccartney, P. A.

    1993-01-01

    The Space Shuttle hypergolic primary reaction control system (PRCS) thrusters continue to fail-leak or fail-off at a rate of approximately 1.5 per flight, attributed primarily to metal nitrate formation in the nitrogen tetroxide (N2O4) pilot operated valves (POV's). The failures have continued despite ground support equipment (GSE) and subsystem operational improvements. As a result, the Johnson Space Center (JSC) White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) performed a study to characterize the contamination in the N204 valves. This study prompted the development and implementation of a highly successful flushing technique using deionized (DI) water and gaseous nitrogen (GN2) to remove the contamination while minimizing Teflon seat damage. Following flushing a comprehensive acceptance test is performed before the thruster is deemed recovered. Between the time WSTF was certified to process flight thrusters (March 1992) and September 1993, a 68 percent thruster recovery rate was achieved. The contamination flushed from these thrusters was analyzed and has provided insight into the corrosion process, which is reported in this publication. Additionally, the long-term performance of 24 flushed thrusters installed in the WSTF Fleet Leader Shuttle reaction control subsystem (RCS) test articles is being assessed. WSTF continues to flush flight and test article thrusters and compile data to investigate metal nitrate formation characteristics in leaking and nonleaking valves.

  10. A Comparison of Ion Acceleration Characteristics for Krypton and Xenon Propellants within a 600 Watt Hall Thruster

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-07-20

    fluctuation.8,9 However, care must be taken to ensure that the relative effects of these phenomena are separable. In addition, magnetic ( Zeeman effect ...capability. This work compares the internal propellant acceleration of krypton within a laboratory medium power Hall effect thruster to historical xenon...Watt Hall Effect Thruster William A. Hargus, Jr.∗ Gregory M. Azarnia† Michael R. Nakles‡ Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards Air Force Base, CA

  11. Oxygen-hydrogen thrusters for Space Station auxiliary propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Berkman, D. K.

    1984-01-01

    The feasibility and technology requirements of a low-thrust, high-performance, long-life, gaseous oxygen (GO2)/gaseous hydrogen (GH2) thruster were examined. Candidate engine concepts for auxiliary propulsion systems for space station applications were identified. The low-thrust engine (5 to 100 lb sub f) requires significant departure from current applications of oxygen/hydrogen propulsion technology. Selection of the thrust chamber material and cooling method needed or long life poses a major challenge. The use of a chamber material requiring a minimum amount of cooling or the incorporation of regenerative cooling were the only choices available with the potential of achieving very high performance. The design selection for the injector/igniter, the design and fabrication of a regeneratively cooled copper chamber, and the design of a high-temperature rhenium chamber were documented and the performance and heat transfer results obtained from the test program conducted at JPL using the above engine components presented. Approximately 115 engine firings were conducted in the JPL vacuum test facility, using 100:1 expansion ratio nozzles. Engine mixture ratio and fuel-film cooling percentages were parametrically investigated for each test configuration.

  12. Space Charge Saturated Sheath Regime and Electron Temperature Saturation in Hall Thrusters

    SciTech Connect

    Y. Raitses; D. Staack; A. Smirnov; N.J. Fisch

    2005-03-16

    Secondary electron emission in Hall thrusters is predicted to lead to space charge saturated wall sheaths resulting in enhanced power losses in the thruster channel. Analysis of experimentally obtained electron-wall collision frequency suggests that the electron temperature saturation, which occurs at high discharge voltages, appears to be caused by a decrease of the Joule heating rather than by the enhancement of the electron energy loss at the walls due to a strong secondary electron emission.

  13. The Development of Plasma Thrusters and Its Importance for Space Technology and Science Education at University of Brasilia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferreira, Jose Leonardo; Calvoso, Lui; Gessini, Paolo; Ferreira, Ivan

    Since 2004 The Plasma Physics Laboratory of University of Brasilia (Brazil) is developing Hall Plasma Thurusters for Satellite station keeping and orbit control. The project is supported by CNPq, CAPES, FAP DF and from The Brazillian Space Agency-AEB. The project is part of The UNIESPAÇO Program for Space Activities Development in Brazillian Universities. In this work we are going to present the highlights of this project together with its vital contribution to include University of Brasilia in the Brazillian Space Program. Electric propulsion has already shown, over the years, its great advantages in being used as main and secondary thruster system of several space mission types. Between the many thruster concepts, one that has more tradition in flying real spacecraft is the Hall Effect Thruster (HET). These thrusters, first developed by the USSR in the 1960s, uses, in the traditional design, the radial magnetic field and axial electric field to trap electrons, ionize the gas and accelerate the plasma to therefore generate thrust. In contrast to the usual solution of using electromagnets to generate the magnetic field, the research group of the Plasma Physics Laboratory of University of Brasília has been working to develop new models of HETs that uses combined permanent magnets to generate the necessary magnetic field, with the main objective of saving electric power in the final system design. Since the beginning of this research line it was developed and implemented two prototypes of the Permanent Magnet Hall Thruster (PMHT). The first prototype, called P-HALL1, was successfully tested with the using of many diagnostics instruments, including, RF probe, Langmuir probe, Ion collector and Ion energy analyzer. The second prototype, P-HALL2, is currently under testing, and it’s planned the increasing of the plasma diagnostics and technology analysis, with the inclusion of a thrust balance, mass spectroscopy and Doppler broadening. We are also developing an

  14. Impingement-Current-Erosion Characteristics of Accelerator Grids on Two-Grid Ion Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barker, Timothy

    1996-01-01

    Accelerator grid sputter erosion resulting from charge-exchange-ion impingement is considered to be a primary cause of failure for electrostatic ion thrusters. An experimental method was developed and implemented to measure erosion characteristics of ion-thruster accel-grids for two-grid systems as a function of beam current, accel-grid potential, and facility background pressure. Intricate accelerator grid erosion patterns, that are typically produced in a short time (a few hours), are shown. Accelerator grid volumetric and depth-erosion rates are calculated from these erosion patterns and reported for each of the parameters investigated. A simple theoretical volumetric erosion model yields results that are compared to experimental findings. Results from the model and experiments agree to within 10%, thereby verifying the testing technique. In general, the local distribution of erosion is concentrated in pits between three adjacent holes and trenches that join pits. The shapes of the pits and trenches are shown to be dependent upon operating conditions. Increases in beam current and the accel-grid voltage magnitude lead to deeper pits and trenches. Competing effects cause complex changes in depth-erosion rates as background pressure is increased. Shape factors that describe pits and trenches (i.e. ratio of the average erosion width to the maximum possible width) are also affected in relatively complex ways by changes in beam current, ac tel-grid voltage magnitude, and background pressure. In all cases, however, gross volumetric erosion rates agree with theoretical predictions.

  15. Hydrogen-oxygen space shuttle ACPS thruster technology review

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gregory, J. W.; Herr, P. N.

    1972-01-01

    The generation of technology for injectors, cooled thrust chambers, valves, and ignition systems is discussed. The thrusters are designed to meet a unique and stringent set of requirements, including: long life for 100 mission reuses, high performance, light weight, ability to provide long duration firings as well as small impulse bits, ability to operate over wide ranges of propellant inlet conditions and to withstand reentry heating. The program has included evaluation of thrusters designed for ambient temperature and cold gaseous propellants at the vehicle interface.

  16. Accelerated testing of space batteries

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mccallum, J.; Thomas, R. E.; Waite, J. H.

    1973-01-01

    An accelerated life test program for space batteries is presented that fully satisfies empirical, statistical, and physical criteria for validity. The program includes thermal and other nonmechanical stress analyses as well as mechanical stress, strain, and rate of strain measurements.

  17. Liquid-metal-fed Pulsed Plasma Thrusters for In-space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Markusic, Thomas E.

    2004-01-01

    Liquid metal propellants may provide a path toward more reliable and efficient pulsed plasma thrusters (PPTs). Conceptual thruster designs which eliminate the need for high current switches and propellant metering valves are described. Propellant loading techniques are suggested that show promise to increase thruster propellant utilization, dynamic, and electrical efficiency. Calibration results from a compact, electromagnetically-pumped propellant feed system are presented. Results for lithium and gallium propellants show capability to meter propellant at flow rates up to 10 +/- 0.1 mg/s. Experiments investigating the initiation of arc discharges using liquid metal droplets are presented. High speed photography and laser interferometry provide spatially and temporally resolved information on the decomposition of liquid metal droplets , and the evolution of the accelerating current channel.

  18. Performance of Solar Electric Powered Deep Space Missions Using Hall Thruster Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Witzberger, Kevin E.; Manzella, David

    2006-01-01

    Power limited, low-thrust trajectories were assessed for missions to Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune utilizing a single Venus Gravity Assist (VGA) and a primary propulsion system based on either a 3-kW high voltage Hall thruster, of the type being developed by the NASA In-Space Propulsion Technology Program, or an 8-kW variant of this thruster. These Hall thrusters operate with specific impulses below 3,000 seconds. A trade study was conducted to examine mission parameters that include: net delivered mass (NDM), beginning-of-life (BOL) solar array power, heliocentric transfer time, required launch vehicle, number of operating thrusters, and throttle profile. The top performing spacecraft configuration was defined to be the one that delivered the highest mass for a range of transfer times. In order to evaluate the potential future benefit of using next generation Hall thrusters as the primary propulsion system, comparisons were made with the advanced state-of-the-art (ASOA), 7-kW, 4,100 second NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) for the same mission scenarios. For the BOL array powers considered in this study (less than 30 kW), the results show that the performance of the Hall thrusters, relative to NEXT, is largely dependant on the performance capability of the launch vehicle, and that at least a 10 percent performance gain, equating to at least an additional 200 kg dry mass at each target planet, is achieved over the higher specific impulse NEXT when launched on an Atlas 551.

  19. 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

  20. Accelerated testing of space mechanisms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Murray, S. Frank; Heshmat, Hooshang

    1995-01-01

    This report contains a review of various existing life prediction techniques used for a wide range of space mechanisms. Life prediction techniques utilized in other non-space fields such as turbine engine design are also reviewed for applicability to many space mechanism issues. The development of new concepts on how various tribological processes are involved in the life of the complex mechanisms used for space applications are examined. A 'roadmap' for the complete implementation of a tribological prediction approach for complex mechanical systems including standard procedures for test planning, analytical models for life prediction and experimental verification of the life prediction and accelerated testing techniques are discussed. A plan is presented to demonstrate a method for predicting the life and/or performance of a selected space mechanism mechanical component.

  1. Expanding the Capabilities of the Pulsed Plasma Thruster for In-Space and Atmospheric Operation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, Ian Kronheim

    Of all in-space propulsion systems to date, the Pulsed Plasma Thruster (PPT) is unique in its simplicity and wide range of operational parameters. This study examined multiple uses of the thruster for in-space and atmospheric propulsion, as well as the creation of a CubeSat satellite and atmospheric airship as test beds for the thruster. The PPT was tested as a solid-propellant feed source for the High Power Helicon Thruster, a compact plasma source capable of generating order of magnitude higher plasma densities than comparable power level systems. Replacing the gaseous feed system reduced the thruster size and complexity, as well as allowing for extremely discrete discharges, minimizing the influence of wall effects. Teflon (C2F4) has been the traditional propellant for PPTs due to a high exhaust velocity and ability to ablate without surface modification over long durations. A number of alternative propellants, including minerals and metallics commonly found on asteroids, were tested for use with the PPT. Compounds with significant fractions of sulfur showed the highest performance increase, with specific thrusts double that of Teflon. A PPT with sulfur propellant designed for CubeSat operation, as well as the subsystems necessary for autonomous operation, was built and tested in the laboratory. The PPT was modified for use at atmospheric pressures where the impulse was well defined as a function of the discharge chamber volume, capacitor energy, and background pressure. To demonstrate that the air-breathing PPT was a viable concept the device was launched on two atmospheric balloon flights.

  2. Increased capabilities of the 30-cm diameter Hg ion thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rawlin, V. K.; Hawkins, C. E.

    1979-01-01

    Some space flight missions require advanced ion thrusters which operate at conditions much different than those for which the baseline 30-cm Hg thruster was developed. Results of initial tests of a 30-cm Hg thruster with two and three grid ion accelerating systems, operated at higher values of both thrust and power and over a greater range of specific impulse than the baseline conditions are presented. Thruster lifetime at increased input power was evaluated both by extended tests and real time spectroscopic measurements.

  3. Space charge saturated sheath regime and electron temperature saturation in Hall thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raitses, Y.; Staack, D.; Smirnov, A.; Fisch, N. J.

    2005-07-01

    Existing electron-wall interaction models predict that secondary electron emission in Hall thrusters is significant and that the near-wall sheaths are space charge saturated. The experimental electron-wall collision frequency is computed using plasma parameters measured in a laboratory Hall thruster. In spite of qualitative similarities between the measured and predicted dependencies of the maximum electron temperature on the discharge voltage, the deduced electron-wall collision frequency for high discharge voltages is much lower than the theoretical value obtained for space charge saturated sheath regime, but larger than the wall recombination frequency. The observed electron temperature saturation appears to be directly associated with a decrease of the Joule heating rather than with the enhancement of the electron energy loss at the walls due to a strong secondary electron emission. Another interesting experimental result is related to the near-field plasma plume, where electron energy balance appears to be independent on the magnetic field.

  4. Plasma-Surface Interactions in Electric Thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goebel, Dan

    2013-09-01

    Of critical importance in electric propulsion missions in space is thruster life, which is determined to a large extent by wall erosion from plasma-materials interactions. While the plasmas generated in different thrusters vary, the particle fluxes, energies and temperatures in contact with the walls are somewhat similar. The erosion rates are then determined by details of materials, incident angles, etc. In ion and Hall thrusters commonly used today, for example, cathode life is determined by low energy (<=100 eV) Xe ion erosion of the cathode electrodes. Erosion of ion thruster accelerator grids is dominated by charge exchange ion bombardment with energies of 200 to 400 V. The incident angle of these ions is near normal, but the sputtered particles are ejected with a butterfly distribution that directs particles along the thruster axis and causes build up of material on the upstream and downstream surfaces. In Hall thrusters, the plasma materials interactions at the wall are complicated because the walls are typically ceramic and selected for a low secondary electron yield for thruster performance. The erosion rates at the wall vary due to non-uniform plasma contact with the surface causing grooves and surface changes. These effects will be discussed for various thrusters.

  5. A study of cylindrical Hall thruster for low power space applications

    SciTech Connect

    Y. Raitses; N.J. Fisch; K.M. Ertmer; C.A. Burlingame

    2000-07-27

    A 9 cm cylindrical thruster with a ceramic channel exhibited performance comparable to the state-of-the-art Hall thrusters at low and moderate power levels. Significantly, its operation is not accompanied by large amplitude discharge low frequency oscillations. Preliminary experiments on a 2 cm cylindrical thruster suggest the possibility of a high performance micro Hall thruster.

  6. Further study of the effect of the downstream plasma condition on accelerator grid erosion in an ion thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peng, Xiaohang; Ruyten, Wilhelmus M.; Keefer, Dennis

    1992-01-01

    Further numerical results are presented of earlier particle-in-cell/Monte Carlo calculations of accelerator grid erosion in an ion thruster. A comparison between numerical and experimental results suggests that the accelerator grid impingement is primarily due to ions created far downstream from the accelerator grid. In particular, for the same experimental conditions as those of Monheiser and Wilbur at Colorado State University, it is found that a downstream plasma density of 2 x 10 exp 14/cu m is required to give the same ratio of accelerator grid impingement current to beam current (5 percent). For this condition, a potential hill is found in the downstream region of 2.5 V.

  7. Ion Thruster Used to Propel the Deep Space 1 Spacecraft to Comet Encounters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sovey, James S.

    2000-01-01

    The NASA Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Applications Readiness (NSTAR) Project provided a xenon ion propulsion system to the Deep Space 1 (DS1) spacecraft to validate the propulsion system as well as perform primary propulsion for asteroid and comet encounters. The On-Board Propulsion Branch of the NASA Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field developed engineering model versions of the 30-cm-diameter ion thruster and the 2.5-kW power processor unit (PPU). Glenn then transferred the thruster and PPU technologies to Hughes Electron Dynamics and managed the contract, which supplied two flight sets of thrusters and PPU s to the Deep Space 1 spacecraft and to a ground-based life verification test at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). In addition to managing the DS1 spacecraft development, JPL was responsible for the NSTAR Project management, thruster life tests, the feed system, diagnostics, and propulsion subsystem integration. The ion propulsion development team included NASA Glenn, JPL, Hughes Electronics, Moog Inc., and Spectrum Astro Inc. The overall NSTAR subsystem dry mass, including thruster, PPU, controller, cables, and the xenon storage and feed system, is 48 kg. The mass of the xenon stored onboard DS1 was about 81 kg, and the spacecraft wet mass was approximately 500 kg.The DS1 spacecraft was launched on October 24, 1998, and on July 29, 1999, it flew within 16 miles of the small asteroid Braille (formerly 1992KD) at a relative speed of 35,000 mph. As of November 1999, the ion propulsion system had performed flawlessly for nearly 149 days of thrusting. NASA has approved an extension to the mission, which will allow DS1 to continue thrusting to encounters with two comets in 2001. The DS1 optical and plasma diagnostic instruments will be used to investigate the comet and space environments. The spacecraft is scheduled to fly past the dormant comet Wilson- Harrington in January 2001 and the very active comet Borrelly in September 2001, at which time

  8. A HiPIMS plasma source with a magnetic nozzle that accelerates ions: application in a thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bathgate, Stephen N.; Ganesan, Rajesh; Bilek, Marcela M. M.; McKenzie, David R.

    2017-01-01

    We demonstrate a solid fuel electrodeless ion thruster that uses a magnetic nozzle to collimate and accelerate copper ions produced by a high power impulse magnetron sputtering discharge (HiPIMS). The discharge is initiated using argon gas but in a practical device the consumption of argon could be minimised by exploiting the self-sputtering of copper. The ion fluence produced by the HiPIMS discharge was measured with a retarding field energy analyzer (RFEA) as a function of the magnetic field strength of the nozzle. The ion fraction of the copper was determined from the deposition rate of copper as a function of substrate bias and was found to exceed 87%. The ion fluence and ion energy increased in proportion with the magnetic field of the nozzle and the energy of the ions was found to follow a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution with a directed velocity. The effectiveness of the magnetic nozzle in converting the randomized thermal motion of the ions into a jet was demonstrated from the energy distribution of the ions. The maximum ion exhaust velocity of at least 15.1 km/s, equivalent to a specific impulse of 1543 s was measured which is comparable to existing Hall thrusters and exceeds that of Teflon pulsed plasma thrusters.

  9. Toroidal Plasma Thruster for Interplanetary and Interstellar Space Flights

    SciTech Connect

    N.N. Gorelenkov; L.E. Zakharov; and M.V. Gorelenkova

    2001-07-11

    This work involves a conceptual assessment for using the toroidal fusion reactor for deep space interplanetary and interstellar missions. Toroidal thermonuclear fusion reactors, such as tokamaks and stellarators, are unique for space propulsion, allowing for a design with the magnetic configuration localized inside toroidal magnetic field coils. Plasma energetic ions, including charged fusion products, can escape such a closed configuration at certain conditions, a result of the vertical drift in toroidal rippled magnetic field. Escaping particles can be used for direct propulsion (since toroidal drift is directed one way vertically) or to create and heat externally confined plasma, so that the latter can be used for propulsion. Deuterium-tritium fusion neutrons with an energy of 14.1 MeV also can be used for direct propulsion. A special design allows neutrons to escape the shield and the blanket of the tokamak. This provides a direct (partial) conversion of the fusion energy into the directed motion of the propellant. In contrast to other fusion concepts proposed for space propulsion, this concept utilizes the natural drift motion of charged particles out of the closed magnetic field configuration.

  10. Laser Fine-Adjustment Thruster For Space Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rezunkov, Yu. A.; Egorov, M. S.; Rebrov, S. G.; Repina, E. V.; Safronov, A. L.

    2010-05-01

    To the present time, a few laser propulsion engine devices have been developed by using dominant mechanisms of laser propulsion. Generally these mechanisms are laser ablation, laser breakdown of gases, and laser detonation waves that are induced due to extraction of the internal energy of polymer propellants. In the paper, we consider the Aero-Space Laser Propulsion Engine (ASLPE) developed earlier, in which all of these mechanisms are realized via interaction of laser radiation with polymers both in continuous wave (CW) and in repetitively pulsed modes of laser operation. The ASLPE is considered to be exploited as a unit of a laser propulsion device being arranged onboard space vehicles moving around the Earth or in interplanetary missions and intended to correct the vehicles orbits. To produce a thrust, a power of the solar pumped lasers designed to the present time is considered in the paper. The problem of increasing the efficiency of the laser propulsion device is analyzed as applied to space missions of vehicles by optimizing the laser propulsion propellant composition.

  11. Miniature Bipolar Electrostatic Ion Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hartley, Frank T.

    2006-01-01

    The figure presents a concept of a bipolar miniature electrostatic ion thruster for maneuvering a small spacecraft. The ionization device in the proposed thruster would be a 0.1-micron-thick dielectric membrane with metal electrodes on both sides. Small conical holes would be micromachined through the membrane and electrodes. An electric potential of the order of a volt applied between the membrane electrodes would give rise to an electric field of the order of several mega-volts per meter in the submicron gap between the electrodes. An electric field of this magnitude would be sufficient to ionize all the molecules that enter the holes. In a thruster-based on this concept, one or more propellant gases would be introduced into such a membrane ionizer. Unlike in larger prior ion thrusters, all of the propellant molecules would be ionized. This thruster would be capable of bipolar operation. There would be two accelerator grids - one located forward and one located aft of the membrane ionizer. In one mode of operation, which one could denote the forward mode, positive ions leaving the ionizer on the backside would be accelerated to high momentum by an electric field between the ionizer and an accelerator grid. Electrons leaving the ionizer on the front side would be ejected into free space by a smaller accelerating field. The equality of the ion and electron currents would eliminate the need for an additional electron- or ion-emitting device to keep the spacecraft charge-neutral. In another mode of operation, which could denote the reverse mode, the polarities of the voltages applied to the accelerator grids and to the electrodes of the membrane ionizer would be the reverse of those of the forward mode. The reversal of electric fields would cause the ion and electrons to be ejected in the reverse of their forward mode directions, thereby giving rise to thrust in the direction opposite that of the forward mode.

  12. Hydrogen-oxygen auxiliary propulsion for the space shuttle. Volume 2: Low pressure thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1973-01-01

    An abbreviated program was conducted to investigate igniter, injector, and thrust chamber technology for a 10.3 N/cm2 (15 psia) chamber pressure, 6660 N (1500 lbf) gaseous H2/O2 APS thruster for the Space Shuttle Vehicle. Successful catalytic igniter tests were conducted with ambient and cold propellants. Injector testing with a heat sink chamber (MR = 2.5, area ratio = 5.0) gave a measured specific impulse of 386 sec with 11% of the fuel used as film coolant. This coolant flow rate was demonstrated to be more than adequate to cool a spun adiabatic wall, flightweight thrust chamber.

  13. Study and Developement of Compact Permanent Magnet Hall Thrusters for Future Brazillian Space Missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferreira, Jose Leonardo; Martins, Alexandre; Cerda, Rodrigo

    2016-07-01

    The Plasma Physics Laboratory of UnB has been developing a Permanent Magnet Hall Thruster (PHALL) for the UNIESPAÇO program, part of the Space Activities Program conducted by AEB- The Brazillian Space Agency since 2004. Electric propulsion is now a very successful method for primary and secondary propulsion systems. It is essential for several existing geostationary satellite station keeping systems and for deep space long duration solar system missions, where the thrusting system can be designed to be used on orbit transfer maneuvering and/or for satellite attitude control in long term space missions. Applications of compact versions of Permanent Magnet Hall Thrusters on future brazillian space missions are needed and foreseen for the coming years beginning with the use of small divergent cusp field (DCFH) Hall Thrusters type on CUBESATS ( 5-10 kg , 1W-5 W power consumption) and on Micro satellites ( 50- 100 kg, 10W-100W). Brazillian (AEB) and German (DLR) space agencies and research institutions are developing a new rocket dedicated to small satellite launching. The VLM- Microsatellite Launch Vehicle. The development of PHALL compact versions can also be important for the recently proposed SBG system, a future brazillian geostationary satellite system that is already been developed by an international consortium of brazillian and foreign space industries. The exploration of small bodies in the Solar System with spacecraft has been done by several countries with increasing frequency in these past twenty five years. Since their historical beginning on the sixties, most of the Solar System missions were based on gravity assisted trajectories very much depended on planet orbit positioning relative to the Sun and the Earth. The consequence was always the narrowing of the mission launch window. Today, the need for Solar System icy bodies in situ exploration requires less dependence on gravity assisted maneuvering and new high precision low thrust navigation methods

  14. Propellantless precision formation flying with photonic laser thrusters for large space telescopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bae, Young K.

    2009-08-01

    One economically and technologically feasible bedrock structure for constructing large (diameter > 10 m) space telescopes is a segmented or sparse aperture system with subcomponents in precision formation flight. For UV/Visible/IR systems, initial targeting and targeting new objects to establish initial fringes requires the positioning precision to nm - μm accuracy, thus the control system should be capable of the required precision positioning and attitude controls without producing contaminations from thruster exhaust plumes. A nanometer accuracy contaminationfree formation architecture, Photon Tether Formation Flight (PTFF), based on Photonic Laser Thrusters (PLTs) and tethers has been proposed to exploit a force equilibrium formed by PLT thrust and tether tension for forming precision persistent 3-D formation structures ideal for the large UV/Visible/IR space telescopes. The range of the PLT force can theoretically extend over several kms. Under previous NASA sponsorship, we have successfully demonstrated a proofof- concept PLT. In addition, the demonstrations of required laser components, optics and tracking technologies developed under military laser applications now support that implementation of PLTs for large space telescopes is one step closer to reality.

  15. Permanent magnet Hall Thrusters development and applications on future brazilian space missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferreira, Jose Leonardo; Martins, Alexandre A.; Miranda, Rodrigo; Schelling, Adriane; de Souza Alves, Lais; Gonçalves Costa, Ernesto; de Oliveira Coelho Junior, Helbert; Castelo Branco, Artur; de Oliveira Lopes, Felipe Nathan

    2015-10-01

    The Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPLUnB) has been developing a Permanent Magnet Hall Thruster (PHALL) for the Space Research Program for Universities (UNIESPAÇO), part of the Brazilian Space Activities Program (PNAE) since 2004. The PHALL project consists on a plasma source design, construction and characterization of the Hall type that will function as a plasma propulsion engine and characterized by several plasma diagnostics sensors. PHALL is based on a plasma source in which a Hall current is generated inside a cylindrical annular channel with an axial electric field produced by a ring anode and a radial magnetic field produced by permanent magnets. In this work it is shown a brief description of the plasma propulsion engine, its diagnostics instrumentation and possible applications of PHALL on orbit transfer maneuvering for future Brazilian geostationary satellite space missions.

  16. Optimization of Cylindrical Hall Thrusters

    SciTech Connect

    Yevgeny Raitses, Artem Smirnov, Erik Granstedt, and Nathaniel J. Fi

    2007-07-24

    The cylindrical Hall thruster features high ionization efficiency, quiet operation, and ion acceleration in a large volume-to-surface ratio channel with performance comparable with the state-of-the-art annular Hall thrusters. These characteristics were demonstrated in low and medium power ranges. Optimization of miniaturized cylindrical thrusters led to performance improvements in the 50-200W input power range, including plume narrowing, increased thruster efficiency, reliable discharge initiation, and stable operation. __________________________________________________

  17. Optimization of Cylindrical Hall Thrusters

    SciTech Connect

    Yevgeny Raitses, Artem Smirnov, Erik Granstedt, and Nathaniel J. Fisch

    2007-11-27

    The cylindrical Hall thruster features high ionization efficiency, quiet operation, and ion acceleration in a large volume-to-surface ratio channel with performance comparable with the state-of-the-art annular Hall thrusters. These characteristics were demonstrated in low and medium power ranges. Optimization of miniaturized cylindrical thrusters led to performance improvements in the 50-200W input power range, including plume narrowing, increased thruster efficiency, reliable discharge initiation, and stable operation.

  18. Metallographic Preparation of Space Shuttle Reaction Control System Thruster Electron Beam Welds for Electron Backscatter Diffraction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Martinez, James

    2011-01-01

    A Space Shuttle Reaction Control System (RCS) thruster failed during a firing test at the NASA White Sands Test Facility (WSTF), Las Cruces, New Mexico. The firing test was being conducted to investigate a previous electrical malfunction. A number of cracks were found associated with the fuel closure plate/injector assembly (Fig 1). The firing test failure generated a flight constraint to the launch of STS-133. A team comprised of several NASA centers and other research institutes was assembled to investigate and determine the root cause of the failure. The JSC Materials Evaluation Laboratory was asked to compare and characterize the outboard circumferential electron beam (EB) weld between the fuel closure plate (Titanium 6Al-4V) and the injector (Niobium C-103 alloy) of four different RCS thrusters, including the failed RCS thruster. Several metallographic challenges in grinding/polishing, and particularly in etching were encountered because of the differences in hardness, ductility, and chemical resistance between the two alloys and the bimetallic weld. Segments from each thruster were sectioned from the outboard weld. The segments were hot-compression mounted using a conductive, carbon-filled epoxy. A grinding/polishing procedure for titanium alloys was used [1]. This procedure worked well on the titanium; but a thin, disturbed layer was visible on the niobium surface by means of polarized light. Once polished, each sample was micrographed using bright field, differential interference contrast optical microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) using a backscatter electron (BSE) detector. No typical weld anomalies were observed in any of the cross sections. However, areas of large atomic contrast were clearly visible in the weld nugget, particularly along fusion line interfaces between the titanium and the niobium. This prompted the need to better understand the chemistry and microstructure of the weld (Fig 2). Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS

  19. Cylindrical geometry hall thruster

    DOEpatents

    Raitses, Yevgeny; Fisch, Nathaniel J.

    2002-01-01

    An apparatus and method for thrusting plasma, utilizing a Hall thruster with a cylindrical geometry, wherein ions are accelerated in substantially the axial direction. The apparatus is suitable for operation at low power. It employs small size thruster components, including a ceramic channel, with the center pole piece of the conventional annular design thruster eliminated or greatly reduced. Efficient operation is accomplished through magnetic fields with a substantial radial component. The propellant gas is ionized at an optimal location in the thruster. A further improvement is accomplished by segmented electrodes, which produce localized voltage drops within the thruster at optimally prescribed locations. The apparatus differs from a conventional Hall thruster, which has an annular geometry, not well suited to scaling to small size, because the small size for an annular design has a great deal of surface area relative to the volume.

  20. The NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT): NASA's Next Step for U.S. Deep Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmidt, George R.; Patterson, Michael J.; Benson, Scott W.

    2008-01-01

    NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) project is developing next generation ion propulsion technologies to enhance the performance and lower the costs of future NASA space science missions. This is being accomplished by producing Engineering Model (EM) and Prototype Model (PM) components, validating these via qualification-level and integrated system testing, and preparing the transition of NEXT technologies to flight system development. The project is currently completing one of the final milestones of the effort, that is operation of an integrated NEXT Ion Propulsion System (IPS) in a simulated space environment. This test will advance the NEXT system to a NASA Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6 (i.e., operation of a prototypical system in a representative environment), and will confirm its readiness for flight. Besides its promise for upcoming NASA science missions, NEXT may have excellent potential for future commercial and international spacecraft applications.

  1. Development of a high power microwave thruster, with a magnetic nozzle, for space applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Power, John L.; Chapman, Randall A.

    1989-01-01

    This paper describes the current development of a high-power microwave electrothermal thruster (MET) concept at the NASA Lewis Research Center. Such a thruster would be employed in space for applications such as orbit raining, orbit maneuvering, station change, and possibly trans-lunar or trans-planetary propulsion of spacecraft. The MET concept employs low frequency continuous wave (CW) microwave power to create and continuously pump energy into a flowing propellant gas at relative high pressure via a plasma discharge. The propellant is heated to very high bulk temperatures while passing through the plasma discharge region and then is expanded through a throat-nozzle assembly to produce thrust, as in a conventional rocket engine. Apparatus, which is described, is being assembled at NASA Lewis to test the MET concept to CW power levels of 30 kW at a frequency of 915 MHz. The microwave energy is applied in a resonant cavity applicator and is absorbed by a plasma discharge in the flowing propellant. The ignited plasma acts as a lossy load, and with optimal tuning, energy absorption efficiencies over 95 percent (based on the applied microwave power) are expected. Nitrogen, helium, and hydrogen will be tested as propellants in the MET, at discharge chamber pressures to 10 atm.

  2. Acceleration Environment of the International Space Station

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McPherson, Kevin; Kelly, Eric; Keller, Jennifer

    2009-01-01

    Measurement of the microgravity acceleration environment on the International Space Station has been accomplished by two accelerometer systems since 2001. The Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System records the quasi-steady microgravity environment, including the influences of aerodynamic drag, vehicle rotation, and venting effects. Measurement of the vibratory/transient regime, comprised of vehicle, crew, and equipment disturbances, has been accomplished by the Space Acceleration Measurement System-II. Until the arrival of the Columbus Orbital Facility and the Japanese Experiment Module, the location of these sensors, and therefore, the measurement of the microgravity acceleration environment, has been limited to within the United States Laboratory. Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency has developed a vibratory acceleration measurement system called the Microgravity Measurement Apparatus which will be deployed within the Japanese Experiment Module to make distributed measurements of the Japanese Experiment Module's vibratory acceleration environment. Two Space Acceleration Measurement System sensors from the United States Laboratory will be re-deployed to support vibratory acceleration data measurement within the Columbus Orbital Facility. The additional measurement opportunities resulting from the arrival of these new laboratories allows Principal Investigators with facilities located in these International Space Station research laboratories to obtain microgravity acceleration data in support of their sensitive experiments. The Principal Investigator Microgravity Services project, at NASA Glenn Research Center, in Cleveland, Ohio, has supported acceleration measurement systems and the microgravity scientific community through the processing, characterization, distribution, and archival of the microgravity acceleration data obtained from the International Space Station acceleration measurement systems. This paper summarizes the PIMS capabilities available

  3. NASA's Hall Thruster Program 2002

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jankovsky, Robert S.; Jacobson, David T.; Pinero, Luis R.; Manzella, David H.; Hofer, Richard R.; Peterson, Peter Y.

    2002-01-01

    The NASA Hall thruster program currently supports a number of tasks related to high power thruster development for a number of customers including the Energetics Program (formerly called the Space-based Program), the Space Solar Power Program, and the In-space Propulsion Program. In program year 2002, two tasks were central to the NASA Hall thruster program: 1) the development of a laboratory Hall thruster capable of providing high thrust at high power-, and 2) investigations into operation of Hall thrusters at high specific impulse. In addition to these two primary thruster development activities, there are a number of other on-going activities supported by the NASA Hall thruster program. These additional activities are related to issues such as high-power power processor architecture, thruster lifetime, and spacecraft integration.

  4. Conceptual study of manned space transportation vehicle using laser thruster in combination with the H-II rocket

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Minami, Yoshinari; Uchida, Shigeaki

    2013-02-01

    This paper describes the conceptual study of a Manned Space Transportation Vehicle (MSTV) using a laser thruster in combination with the H-II Rocket. By combining the use of a laser thruster and H-II Rocket, space trip to the International Space Station (ISS) or a round trip mission around the moon can be performed. Once MSTV with one crew achieves a circular orbit at an altitude of 200 km around the earth (parking orbit) by use of H-II Rocket, MSTV will then put into a circular orbit into an altitude of 400 km (ISS orbit) from 200 km circular orbit by use of the laser thruster. H-II Rocket has the following launch capability with payloads for LEO (300 km): 10 t (H-II A Rocket), 16.5 t (H-II B Rocket). Laser thruster using water propellant, power source for the laser, orbital transfer calculations (to ISS or the Moon) and other practical aspects are examined.

  5. Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators (SEPAC)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roberts, W. T.

    1985-01-01

    The space experiments with particle accelerators (SEPAC) instruments consist of an electron accelerator, a plasma accelerator, a neutral gas (N2) release device, particle and field diagnostic instruments, and a low light level television system. These instruments are used to accomplish multiple experiments: to study beam particle interactions and other plasma processes; as probes to investigate magnetospheric processes; and as perturbation devices to study energy coupling mechanisms in the magnetosphere, ionosphere, and upper atmosphere.

  6. Tailoring accelerating beams in phase space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wen, Yuanhui; Chen, Yujie; Zhang, Yanfeng; Chen, Hui; Yu, Siyuan

    2017-02-01

    An appropriate wave-front design will enable light fields that propagate along arbitrary trajectories, thus forming accelerating beams in free space. Previous strategies for designing such accelerating beams rely mainly on caustic methods, which start from diffraction integrals and deal only with two-dimensional fields. Here we introduce an alternate perspective to construct accelerating beams in phase space by designing the corresponding Wigner distribution function (WDF). We find that such a WDF-based method is capable of providing both the initial field distribution and the angular spectrum in need by projecting the WDF into the real space and the Fourier space, respectively. Moreover, this approach applies to the construction of both two- and three-dimensional fields, greatly generalizing previous caustic methods. It may therefore open a new route for construction of highly tailored accelerating beams and facilitate applications ranging from particle manipulation and trapping to optical routing as well as material processing.

  7. The Impact of Back-Sputtered Carbon on the Accelerator Grid Wear Rates of the NEXT and NSTAR Ion Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Soulas, George C.

    2013-01-01

    A study was conducted to quantify the impact of back-sputtered carbon on the downstream accelerator grid erosion rates of the NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) Long Duration Test (LDT1). A similar analysis that was conducted for the NASA's Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Applications Readiness Program (NSTAR) Life Demonstration Test (LDT2) was used as a foundation for the analysis developed herein. A new carbon surface coverage model was developed that accounted for multiple carbon adlayers before complete surface coverage is achieved. The resulting model requires knowledge of more model inputs, so they were conservatively estimated using the results of past thin film sputtering studies and particle reflection predictions. In addition, accelerator current densities across the grid were rigorously determined using an ion optics code to determine accelerator current distributions and an algorithm to determine beam current densities along a grid using downstream measurements. The improved analysis was applied to the NSTAR test results for evaluation. The improved analysis demonstrated that the impact of back-sputtered carbon on pit and groove wear rate for the NSTAR LDT2 was negligible throughout most of eroded grid radius. The improved analysis also predicted the accelerator current density for transition from net erosion to net deposition considerably more accurately than the original analysis. The improved analysis was used to estimate the impact of back-sputtered carbon on the accelerator grid pit and groove wear rate of the NEXT Long Duration Test (LDT1). Unlike the NSTAR analysis, the NEXT analysis was more challenging because the thruster was operated for extended durations at various operating conditions and was unavailable for measurements because the test is ongoing. As a result, the NEXT LDT1 estimates presented herein are considered preliminary until the results of future post-test analyses are incorporated. The worst-case impact of carbon

  8. The Impact of Back-Sputtered Carbon on the Accelerator Grid Wear Rates of the NEXT and NSTAR Ion Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Soulas, George C.

    2013-01-01

    A study was conducted to quantify the impact of back-sputtered carbon on the downstream accelerator grid erosion rates of the NEXT (NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster) Long Duration Test (LDT1). A similar analysis that was conducted for the NSTAR (NASA's Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Applications Readiness Program) Life Demonstration Test (LDT2) was used as a foundation for the analysis developed herein. A new carbon surface coverage model was developed that accounted for multiple carbon adlayers before complete surface coverage is achieved. The resulting model requires knowledge of more model inputs, so they were conservatively estimated using the results of past thin film sputtering studies and particle reflection predictions. In addition, accelerator current densities across the grid were rigorously determined using an ion optics code to determine accelerator current distributions and an algorithm to determine beam current densities along a grid using downstream measurements. The improved analysis was applied to the NSTAR test results for evaluation. The improved analysis demonstrated that the impact of back-sputtered carbon on pit and groove wear rate for the NSTAR LDT2 was negligible throughout most of eroded grid radius. The improved analysis also predicted the accelerator current density for transition from net erosion to net deposition considerably more accurately than the original analysis. The improved analysis was used to estimate the impact of back-sputtered carbon on the accelerator grid pit and groove wear rate of the NEXT Long Duration Test (LDT1). Unlike the NSTAR analysis, the NEXT analysis was more challenging because the thruster was operated for extended durations at various operating conditions and was unavailable for measurements because the test is ongoing. As a result, the NEXT LDT1 estimates presented herein are considered preliminary until the results of future posttest analyses are incorporated. The worst-case impact of carbon back

  9. Ion beam thruster shield

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Power, J. L. (Inventor)

    1976-01-01

    An ion thruster beam shield is provided that comprises a cylindrical housing that extends downstream from the ion thruster and a plurality of annular vanes which are spaced along the length of the housing, and extend inwardly from the interior wall of the housing. The shield intercepts and stops all charge exchange and beam ions, neutral propellant, and sputter products formed due to the interaction of beam and shield emanating from the ion thruster outside of a fixed conical angle from the thruster axis. Further, the shield prevents the sputter products formed during the operation of the engine from escaping the interior volume of the shield.

  10. Space Acceleration Measurement System-II

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Foster, William

    2009-01-01

    Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS-II) is an ongoing study of the small forces (vibrations and accelerations) on the ISS that result from the operation of hardware, crew activities, as well as dockings and maneuvering. Results will be used to generalize the types of vibrations affecting vibration-sensitive experiments. Investigators seek to better understand the vibration environment on the space station to enable future research.

  11. Development of D+3He Fusion Electric Thrusters and Power Supplies for Space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morse, Thomas M.

    1994-07-01

    Development of D+3He Fusion Electric Thrusters (FET) and Power Supplies (FPS) should occur at a lunar base because of the following: availability of helium-3, a vacuum better than on Earth, low K in shade reachable by radiant cooling, supply of ``high temp'' superconducting ceramic-metals, and a low G environment. The early FET will be much smaller than an Apollo engine, with specific impulse of 10,000-100,000-s. Solar power and low G will aid early development. To counter the effect of low G on humans, centrifuges will be employed for sleeping and resting. Work will be done by telerobotic view control. The FPS will be of comparable size, and will generate power mainly by having replaceable rectennas, resonant to the fusion synchrotron radiation. FPSs are used for house keeping power and initiating superconduction. Spaceships will carry up to ten FETs and two FPSs. In addition to fusion fuel, the FET will inject H or Li low mass propellant into the fusion chamber. Developing an FET would be difficult on Earth. FET spaceships will park between missions in L1, and an FET Bus will fetch humans/supplies from Moon and Earth. Someday FETs, with rocket assist, will lift spaceships from Earth, and make space travel to planets far cheaper, faster, and safer, than at present. Too long a delay due to the space station, or the huge cost of getting into space by current means, will damage the morale of the space program.

  12. Modelling of thruster plume induced erosion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alred, John; Boeder, Paul; Mikatarian, Ron; Pankop, Courtney; Schmidl, William

    2003-09-01

    One source of external induced contamination on the International Space Station (ISS) is thruster plume exhausts. The contamination from these plumes onto ISS sensitive surfaces is due to liquid drops of unreacted or partially reacted propellants. However, the drag acceleration of these particles (drops) from the exhaust gases produces high velocity (~km/s) drops that will mechanically damage surfaces in the exhaust. Previous space flight experiments on the Space Shuttle Orbiter which studied thruster plume induced contamination also demonstrated the pitting nature of these particles. The External Contamination/Plasma Team of the Boeing ISS Program Office in Houston has developed an approach to modeling the mechanical erosion on surfaces due to the impact of particles in thruster plumes. This approach melds damage simulation data from a smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) code from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) into Boeing's own contamination computer tool (NASAN-II). The Boeing team has conducted several analyses simulating bipropellant thruster droplets impacting ISS sensitive surfaces. Computational results of various thrusters firing onto the ISS, at different build-stages, were completed and show a concern for particular solar array orientations during attitude control firings. Mitigation techniques for minimizing the erosion effects have also been determined and are presented.

  13. Diagnostics Systems for Permanent Hall Thrusters Development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferreira, Jose Leonardo; Soares Ferreira, Ivan; Santos, Jean; Miranda, Rodrigo; Possa, M. Gabriela

    This work describes the development of Permanent Magnet Hall Effect Plasma Thruster (PHALL) and its diagnostic systems at The Plasma Physics Laboratory of University of Brasilia. The project consists on the construction and characterization of plasma propulsion engines based on the Hall Effect. Electric thrusters have been employed in over 220 successful space missions. Two types stand out: the Hall-Effect Thruster (HET) and the Gridded Ion Engine (GIE). The first, which we deal with in this project, has the advantage of greater simplicity of operation, a smaller weight for the propulsion subsystem and a longer shelf life. It can operate in two configurations: magnetic layer and anode layer, the difference between the two lying in the positioning of the anode inside the plasma channel. A Hall-Effect Thruster-HET is a type of plasma thruster in which the propellant gas is ionized and accelerated by a magneto hydrodynamic effect combined with electrostatic ion acceleration. So the essential operating principle of the HET is that it uses a J x B force and an electrostatic potential to accelerate ions up to high speeds. In a HET, the attractive negative charge is provided by electrons at the open end of the Thruster instead of a grid, as in the case of the electrostatic ion thrusters. A strong radial magnetic field is used to hold the electrons in place, with the combination of the magnetic field and the electrostatic potential force generating a fast circulating electron current, the Hall current, around the axis of the Thruster, mainly composed by drifting electrons in an ion plasma background. Only a slow axial drift towards the anode occurs. The main attractive features of the Hall-Effect Thruster are its simple design and operating principles. Most of the Hall-Effect Thrusters use electromagnet coils to produce the main magnetic field responsible for plasma generation and acceleration. In this paper we present a different new concept, a Permanent Magnet Hall

  14. Particle-in-cell simulation of a Hall thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Hui; Wu, Boying; Yu, Daren; Cao, Yong; Duan, Ping

    2010-04-01

    Hall thrusters are widely used as space electric propulsion devices. Due to the complex plasma phenomenon and high computation cost, currently it is difficult to fully simulate the real physical process in Hall thrusters. Recently, Szabo and Taccogna have proposed two different methods to simplify and accelerate the simulation, respectively. In this paper, both these methods of acceleration are analysed and compared, and then a modified method of acceleration is proposed. In order to verify the modified method of acceleration, the influence of magnetic field gradient on plasma parameter distribution in the channel is simulated. The numerical results show that the magnetic field gradient can significantly alter the position of the ionization region and thruster performance.

  15. Study of Conical Pulsed Inductive Thruster with Multiple Modes of Operation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, Robert; Eskridge, Richard; Martin, Adam; Rose, Frank

    2008-01-01

    An electrodeless, pulsed, inductively coupled thruster has several advantages over current electric propulsion designs. The efficiency of a pulsed inductive thruster is dependent upon the pulse characteristics of the device. Therefore, these thrusters are throttleable over a wide range of thrust levels by varying the pulse rate without affecting the thruster efficiency. In addition, by controlling the pulse energy and the mass bit together, the ISP of the thruster can also be varied with minimal efficiency loss over a wide range of ISP levels. Pulsed inductive thrusters will work with a multitude of propellants, including ammonia. Thus, a single pulsed inductive thruster could be used to handle a multitude of mission needs from high thrust to high ISP with one propulsion solution that would be variable in flight. A conical pulsed inductive lab thruster has been built to study this form of electric propulsion in detail. This thruster incorporates many advantages that are meant to enable this technology as a viable space propulsion technology. These advantages include incorporation of solid state switch technology for all switching needs of the thruster and pre-ionization of the propellant gas prior to acceleration. Pre-ionizing will significantly improve coupling efficiency between drive and bias fields and the plasma. This enables lower pulse energy levels without efficiency reduction. Pre-ionization can be accomplished at a small fraction of the drive pulse energy.

  16. Space experiments with particle accelerators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Obayashi, T.; Kawashima, N.; Kuriki, K.; Nagatomo, M.; Ninomiya, K.; Sasaki, S.; Roberts, W. T.; Chappell, C. R.; Reasoner, D. L.; Garriott, O. K.; Taylor, W. W. L.

    1984-01-01

    Electron and plasma beams and neutral gas plumes were injected into the space environment by instruuments on Spacelab 1, and various diagnostic measurements including television camera observations were performed. The results yield information on vehicle charging and neutralization, beam-plasma interactions, and ionization enhancement by neutral beam injection.

  17. Particle accelerator employing transient space charge potentials

    DOEpatents

    Post, Richard F.

    1990-01-01

    The invention provides an accelerator for ions and charged particles. The plasma is generated and confined in a magnetic mirror field. The electrons of the plasma are heated to high temperatures. A series of local coils are placed along the axis of the magnetic mirror field. As an ion or particle beam is directed along the axis in sequence the coils are rapidly pulsed creating a space charge to accelerate and focus the beam of ions or charged particles.

  18. MPD Thruster Performance Analytic Models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gilland, James; Johnston, Geoffrey

    2007-01-01

    Magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters are capable of accelerating quasi-neutral plasmas to high exhaust velocities using Megawatts (MW) of electric power. These characteristics make such devices worthy of consideration for demanding, far-term missions such as the human exploration of Mars or beyond. Assessment of MPD thrusters at the system and mission level is often difficult due to their status as ongoing experimental research topics rather than developed thrusters. However, in order to assess MPD thrusters utility in later missions, some adequate characterization of performance, or more exactly, projected performance, and system level definition are required for use in analyses. The most recent physical models of self-field MPD thrusters have been examined, assessed, and reconfigured for use by systems and mission analysts. The physical models allow for rational projections of thruster performance based on physical parameters that can be measured in the laboratory. The models and their implications for the design of future MPD thrusters are presented.

  19. MPD Thruster Performance Analytic Models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gilland, James; Johnston, Geoffrey

    2003-01-01

    Magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters are capable of accelerating quasi-neutral plasmas to high exhaust velocities using Megawatts (MW) of electric power. These characteristics make such devices worthy of consideration for demanding, far-term missions such as the human exploration of Mars or beyond. Assessment of MPD thrusters at the system and mission level is often difficult due to their status as ongoing experimental research topics rather than developed thrusters. However, in order to assess MPD thrusters utility in later missions, some adequate characterization of performance, or more exactly, projected performance, and system level definition are required for use in analyses. The most recent physical models of self-field MPD thrusters have been examined, assessed, and reconfigured for use by systems and mission analysts. The physical models allow for rational projections of thruster performance based on physical parameters that can be measured in the laboratory. The models and their implications for the design of future MPD thrusters are presented.

  20. NASA's Hall Thruster Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jankovsky, Robert S.; Jacobson, David T.; Rawlin, Vincent K.; Mason, Lee S.; Mantenieks, Maris A.; Manzella, David H.; Hofer, Richard R.; Peterson, Peter Y.

    2001-01-01

    NASA's Hall thruster program has base research and focused development efforts in support of the Advanced Space Transportation Program, Space-Based Program, and various other programs. The objective of the base research is to gain an improved understanding of the physical processes and engineering constraints of Hall thrusters to enable development of advanced Hall thruster designs. Specific technical questions that are current priorities of the base effort are: (1) How does thruster life vary with operating point? (2) How can thruster lifetime and wear rate be most efficiently evaluated? (3) What are the practical limitations for discharge voltage as it pertains to high specific impulse operation (high discharge voltage) and high thrust operation (low discharge voltage)? (4) What are the practical limits for extending Hall thrusters to very high input powers? and (5) What can be done during thruster design to reduce cost and integration concerns? The objective of the focused development effort is to develop a 50 kW-class Hall propulsion system, with a milestone of a 50 kW engineering model thruster/system by the end of program year 2006. Specific program wear 2001 efforts, along with the corporate and academic participation, are described.

  1. The MPD thruster program at JPL

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barnett, John; Goodfellow, Keith; Polk, James; Pivirotto, Thomas

    1991-01-01

    The main topics covered include: (1) the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) context; (2) critical issues of MPD Thruster design; and (3) the Magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) Thruster Program at JPL. Under the section on the SEI context the nuclear electric propulsion system and some electric thruster options are addressed. The critical issues of MPD Thruster development deal with the requirements, status, and approach taken. The following areas are covered with respect to the MPD Thruster Program at JPL: (1) the radiation-cooled MPD thruster; (2) the High-Current Cathode Test Facility; (3) thruster component thermal modeling; and (4) alkali metal propellant studies.

  2. NASA's 2004 Hall Thruster Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jacobson, David T.; Manzella, David H.; Hofer, Richard R.; Peterson, Peter Y.

    2004-01-01

    An overview of NASA's Hall thruster research and development tasks conducted during fiscal year 2004 is presented. These tasks focus on: raising the technology readiness level of high power Hall thrusters, developing a moderate-power/ moderate specific impulse Hall thruster, demonstrating high-power/high specific impulse Hall thruster operation, and addressing the fundamental technical challenges of emerging Hall thruster concepts. Programmatic background information, technical accomplishments and out year plans for each program element performed under the sponsorship of the In-Space Transportation Program, Project Prometheus, and the Energetics Project are provided.

  3. The interaction of the atmosphere with the space shuttle thruster plume: The NH (A-X) 336-nm emission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viereck, Rodney A.; Murad, Edmond; Knecht, David J.; Pike, Charles P.; Bernstein, Lawrence S.; Elgin, James B.; Broadfoot, A. Lyle

    1996-03-01

    Observations of the optical emissions from the space shuttle's thrusters have been examined. Particular attention has been paid to the interaction of the thruster plume with the atmosphere. Emissions from CN, CH, C2, HNO, and NO2 have been observed near the nozzle of the thruster in the vacuum core region of the plume, but these emissions are the direct result of the combustion process. Other emissions including OI and NH have been observed in the downstream region of the plume, where the plume effluents interact with the atmosphere. The NH emission is one of the most dominant UV/visible wavelength emissions observed in the plumes. This emission was observed to extend several thousand meters from the shuttle, and detailed analysis shows that the total intensity of the emission depends on the ram angle (angle in the shuttle reference frame between the plume effluents and the ramming atmosphere) and altitude, indicating an interaction process with the atmosphere. Data from two observational experiments are presented. The Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment includes ground-based spectral and spatial measurements of the shuttle plumes as the thrusters were fired over the AMOS site on top of Haliakala Volcano on the island of Maui in the mid-Pacific. The GLO experiment was flown in the payload bay of the space shuttle and also includes spectral and spatial measurements of the shuttle plumes. During both of these experiments, the primary reaction control system (PRCS) engines (870 lb (394 kgf) thrust) and Vernier reaction control system (VRCS) engines (25 lb (11 kgf) thrust) were fired at various angles relative to the ram, thus providing a range of collision velocities (4.5-11 km/s) between the thruster plume and the atmosphere. In this report the dependence of the NH emission on ram angle, thruster size, and distance from the shuttle is presented and analyzed using a three-dimensional Monte Carlo simulation of the plume-atmosphere interactions called

  4. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Tri-gas Thruster Performance Characterization

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dorado, Vanessa; Grunder, Zachary; Schaefer, Bryce; Sung, Meagan; Pedersen, Kevin

    2013-01-01

    Historically, spacecraft reaction control systems have primarily utilized cold gas thrusters because of their inherent simplicity and reliability. However, cold gas thrusters typically have a low specific impulse. It has been determined that a higher specific impulse can be achieved by passing a monopropellant fluid mixture through a catalyst bed prior to expulsion through the thruster nozzle. This research analyzes the potential efficiency improvements from using tri-gas, a mixture of hydrogen, oxygen, and an inert gas, which in this case is helium. Passing tri-gas through a catalyst causes the hydrogen and oxygen to react and form water vapor, ultimately heating the exiting fluid and generating a higher specific impulse. The goal of this project was to optimize the thruster performance by characterizing the effects of varying several system components including catalyst types, catalyst lengths, and initial catalyst temperatures.

  5. Operational experiments and thruster performance plan for the Nuclear Electric Propulsion Space Test Program (NEPSTP)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bythrow, P. F.; Mauk, B. H.; Gatsonis, N. A.; Bokulic, R. S.

    1993-06-01

    The Nuclear Electric Propulsion Space Test Program (NEPSTP) is designed as a technology testbed for Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP). A Topaz II nuclear reactor will provide the required power and an array of Ion and Hall engines will be used for propulsion. NEPSTP will evaluate on orbit, and under the same set of environmental parameters, the performance and operational characteristics of competitive electric propulsion technologies each using Xenon gas as a propellant. NEPSTP, will be operating in the so called induced environment which is the result of interactions between the ambient and the contaminant environment and the spacecraft itself. The interactions of a conventional solar/chemical spacecraft with the induced environment have been studied extensively and certain aspects are now well understood. Other aspects specific to electric propulsion such as spacecraft interactions with the plasma environment, charging, or the motion of plasma clouds about spacecraft are still active research areas. To adequately evaluate these and other effects the NEPSTP science program includes a dedicated effort to assess Thruster Performance and to conduct a number of so called 'Operational Experiments' to evaluate unresolved aspects of the NEP environment. This paper will review our planned efforts.

  6. Development of Electrothermal Pulsed Plasma Thrusters for Osaka-Institute-of-Technology Electric-Rocket-Engine onboard Small Space Ship

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ishii, Yushuke; Yamamoto, Tsuyoshi; Yamada, Minetsugu; Tahara, Hirokazu

    2008-12-01

    The Project of Osaka-Institute-of-Technology Electric-Rocket-Engine onboard Small Space Ship (PROITERES) was started at Osaka Institute of Technology. In PROITERES, a 10-kg small satellite with electrothermal pulsed plasma thrusters (PPTs), named JOSHO, will be launched in 2010. The main mission is powered flight of small satellite by electric thruster itself. Electrothermal PPTs were studied with both experiments and numerical simulations. An electrothermal PPT with a side-fed propellant feeding mechanism achieved a total impulse of 3.6 Ns with a repetitive 10000-shot operation. An unsteady numerical simulation showed the existence of considerable amount of ablation delaying to the discharge. However, it was also shown that this phenomenon should not be regarded as the ``late time ablation'' for electrothermal PPTs.

  7. Development of Electrothermal Pulsed Plasma Thrusters for Osaka-Institute-of-Technology Electric-Rocket-Engine onboard Small Space Ship

    SciTech Connect

    Ishii, Yushuke; Yamamoto, Tsuyoshi; Yamada, Minetsugu; Tahara, Hirokazu

    2008-12-31

    The Project of Osaka-Institute-of-Technology Electric-Rocket-Engine onboard Small Space Ship (PROITERES) was started at Osaka Institute of Technology. In PROITERES, a 10-kg small satellite with electrothermal pulsed plasma thrusters (PPTs), named JOSHO, will be launched in 2010. The main mission is powered flight of small satellite by electric thruster itself. Electrothermal PPTs were studied with both experiments and numerical simulations. An electrothermal PPT with a side-fed propellant feeding mechanism achieved a total impulse of 3.6 Ns with a repetitive 10000-shot operation. An unsteady numerical simulation showed the existence of considerable amount of ablation delaying to the discharge. However, it was also shown that this phenomenon should not be regarded as the 'late time ablation' for electrothermal PPTs.

  8. Comparison of Medium Power Hall Effect Thruster Ion Acceleration for Krypton and Xenon Propellants

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-09-14

    electric transfer vehicles that would strain world-wide xenon production. This work compares the internal propellant acceleration of krypton ions...acceleration rate is lower and produces a lower effective electric field. As a result, energy conversion is lower than xenon for this flow matched case. In...lower cost replacement for xenon, may optimize to similar or potentially higher performance, and is enabling for very large solar electric transfer

  9. Delivery of Colloid Micro-Newton Thrusters for the Space Technology 7 Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ziemer, John K.; Randolph, Thomas M.; Franklin, Garth W.; Hruby, Vlad; Spence, Douglas; Demmons, Nathaniel; Roy, Thomas; Ehrbar, Eric; Zwahlen, Jurg; Martin, Roy; Connolly, William

    2008-01-01

    Two flight-qualified clusters of four Colloid Micro-Newton Thruster (CMNT) systems have been delivered to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The clusters will provide precise spacecraft control for the drag-free technology demonstration mission, Space Technology 7 (ST7). The ST7 mission is sponsored by the NASA New Millennium Program and will demonstrate precision formation flying technologies for future missions such as the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission. The ST7 disturbance reduction system (DRS) will be on the ESA LISA Pathfinder spacecraft using the European gravitational reference sensor (GRS) as part of the ESA LISA Technology Package (LTP). Developed by Busek Co. Inc., with support from JPL in design and testing, the CMNT has been developed over the last six years into a flight-ready and flight-qualified microthruster system, the first of its kind. Recent flight-unit qualification tests have included vibration and thermal vacuum environmental testing, as well as performance verification and acceptance tests. All tests have been completed successfully prior to delivery to JPL. Delivery of the first flight unit occurred in February of 2008 with the second unit following in May of 2008. Since arrival at JPL, the units have successfully passed through mass distribution, magnetic, and EMI/EMC measurements and tests as part of the integration and test (I&T) activities including the integrated avionics unit (IAU). Flight software sequences have been tested and validated with the full flight DRS instrument successfully to the extent possible in ground testing, including full functional and 72 hour autonomous operations tests. Delivery of the cluster assemblies along with the IAU to ESA for integration into the LISA Pathfinder spacecraft is planned for the summer of 2008 with a planned launch and flight demonstration in late 2010.

  10. Thermal Modeling for Pulsed Inductive FRC Plasmoid Thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pfaff, Michael

    Due to the rising importance of space based infrastructure, long-range robotic space missions, and the need for active attitude control for spacecraft, research into Electric Propulsion is becoming increasingly important. Electric Propulsion (EP) systems utilize electric power to accelerate ions in order to produce thrust. Unlike traditional chemical propulsion, this means that thrust levels are relatively low. The trade-off is that EP thrusters have very high specific impulses (Isp), and can therefore make do with far less onboard propellant than cold gas, monopropellant, or bipropellant engines. As a consequence of the high power levels used to accelerate the ionized propellant, there is a mass and cost penalty in terms of solar panels and a power processing unit. Due to the large power consumption (and waste heat) from electric propulsion thrusters, accurate measurements and predictions of thermal losses are needed. Excessive heating in sensitive locations within a thruster may lead to premature failure of vital components. Between the fixed cost required to purchase these components, as well as the man-hours needed to assemble (or replace) them, attempting to build a high-power thruster without reliable thermal modeling can be expensive. This paper will explain the usage of FEM modeling and experimental tests in characterizing the ElectroMagnetic Plasmoid Thruster (EMPT) and the Electrodeless Lorentz Force (ELF) thruster at the MSNW LLC facility in Redmond, Washington. The EMPT thruster model is validated using an experimental setup, and steady state temperatures are predicted for vacuum conditions. Preliminary analysis of the ELF thruster indicates possible material failure in absence of an active cooling system for driving electronics and for certain power levels.

  11. Hg ion thruster component testing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mantenieks, M. A.

    1979-01-01

    Electron bombardment thrusters, under development to provide both auxiliary and primary propulsion functions for a large variety of space missions are tested. Thruster design verification which requires life tests of durations of the order of the time anticipated in space applications, are discussed. The life time and reliability of an electron bombardment thruster is dependent upon the performance of several critical components including cathodes, vaporizers, and isolators. The performances of the cathode, vaporizer, and propellant isolaters during fatigue analyses are examined.

  12. Eight-cm mercury ion thruster system technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1974-01-01

    The technology status of 8 cm diameter electron bombardment ion thrusters is presented. Much of the technology resulting from the 5 cm diameter thruster has been adapted and improved upon to increase the reliability, durability, and efficiency of the 8 cm thruster. Technology discussed includes: dependence of neutralizer tip erosion upon neutralizer flow rate; impregnated and rolled-foil insert cathode performance and life testing; neutralizer position studies; thruster ion beam profile measurements; high voltage pulse ignition; high utilization ion machined accelerator grids; deposition internal and external to the thruster; thruster vectoring systems; thruster cycling life testing and thruster system weights for typical mission applications.

  13. Miniature cold gas thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bzibziak, R. J., Sr.

    1992-07-01

    Cold gas thrusters provide a safe, inexpensive, lightweight and reliable means of propulsive control for small satellites, projectiles and maneuvering control systems. Moog Inc. has designed and developed a family of miniature cold gas thrusters for use on Strategic Defense Iniative flight simulation experiments, sounding rockets, small satellite applications, astronaut control systems, and close proximity maneuvering systems for Space System. Construction features such as coil assembly, core assembly, armature assembly, external housing and valve body are discussed. The design approach, performance characteristics and functional description of cold gas thrusters designed for various applications are presented.

  14. Accurate design of ICRF antennas for RF plasma thruster acceleration units with TOPICA

    SciTech Connect

    Lancellotti, V.; Maggiora, R.; Vecchi, G.; Milanesio, D.; Meneghini, O.

    2007-09-28

    In recent years electromagnetic (RF) plasma generation and acceleration concepts for plasma-based propulsion systems have received growing interest, inasmuch as they can yield continuous thrust as well as highly controllable and wide-ranging exhaust velocities. The acceleration units mostly adopt the Ion Cyclotron Resonance Frequency (ICRF) - a proven technology in fusion experiments for transferring large RF powers into magnetized plasmas, and also used by the VASIMR propulsion system. In this work we propose and demonstrate the use of TOPICA code to design and optimize the ICRF antenna of a typical acceleration stage. To this end, TOPICA was extended to cope with magnetized cylindricaily-symmetric radially-inhomogeneous warm plasmas, which required coding a new module charged with solving Maxwell's equations within the plasma to obtain the relevant Green's function Y-tilde(m,k{sub z}) in the Fourier domain, i.e. the relation between the transverse magnetic and electric fields at the air-plasma interface. Then, calculating the antenna input impedance - and hence the loading - relies on an integral-equation formulation and subsequent finite-element weighted-residual solution scheme for the self-consistent evaluation of the current density distribution on the conducting bodies and at the air-plasma interface.

  15. Accurate design of ICRF antennas for RF plasma thruster acceleration units with TOPICA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lancellotti, V.; Maggiora, R.; Vecchi, G.; Milanesio, D.; Meneghini, O.

    2007-09-01

    In recent years electromagnetic (RF) plasma generation and acceleration concepts for plasma-based propulsion systems have received growing interest, inasmuch as they can yield continuous thrust as well as highly controllable and wide-ranging exhaust velocities. The acceleration units mostly adopt the Ion Cyclotron Resonance Frequency (ICRF)—a proven technology in fusion experiments for transferring large RF powers into magnetized plasmas, and also used by the VASIMR propulsion system. In this work we propose and demonstrate the use of TOPICA code to design and optimize the ICRF antenna of a typical acceleration stage. To this end, TOPICA was extended to cope with magnetized cylindricaily-symmetric radially-inhomogeneous warm plasmas, which required coding a new module charged with solving Maxwell's equations within the plasma to obtain the relevant Green's function Ỹ(m,kz) in the Fourier domain, i.e. the relation between the transverse magnetic and electric fields at the air-plasma interface. Then, calculating the antenna input impedance—and hence the loading—relies on an integral-equation formulation and subsequent finite-element weighted-residual solution scheme for the self-consistent evaluation of the current density distribution on the conducting bodies and at the air-plasma interface.

  16. Space Acceleration Measurement System for Free Flyers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kacpura, Thomas J.

    1999-01-01

    Experimenters from the fluids, combustion, materials, and life science disciplines all use the microgravity environment of space to enhance their understanding of fundamental physical phenomena caused by disturbances from events such as spacecraft maneuvers, equipment operations, atmospheric drag, and (for manned flights) crew movement. Space conditions reduce gravity but do not eliminate it. To quantify the level of these disturbances, NASA developed the Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) series to collect data characterizing the acceleration environment on the space shuttles. This information is provided to investigators so that they can evaluate how the microgravity environment affects their experiments. Knowledge of the microgravity environment also helps investigators to plan future experiments. The original SAMS system flew 20 missions on the shuttle as well as on the Russian space station Mir. Presently, Lewis is developing SAMS-II for the International Space Station; it will be a distributed system using digital output sensor heads. The latest operational version of SAMS, SAMS-FF, was originally designed for free flyer spacecraft and unmanned areas. SAMS-FF is a flexible, modular system, housed in a lightweight package, and it uses advances in technology to improve performance. The hardware package consists of a control and data acquisition module, three different types of sensors, data storage devices, and ground support equipment interfaces. Three different types of sensors are incorporated to measure both high- and low-frequency accelerations and the roll rate velocity. Small, low-power triaxial sensor heads (TSH's) offer high resolution and selectable bandwidth, and a special low-frequency accelerometer is available for high-resolution, low-frequency applications. A state-of-the-art, triaxial fiberoptic gyroscope that measures extremely low roll rates is housed in a compact package. The versatility of the SAMS-FF system is shown in the three

  17. Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators: SEPAC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burch, J. L.; Roberts, W. T.; Taylor, W. W. L.; Kawashima, N.; Marshall, J. A.; Moses, S. L.; Neubert, T.; Mende, S. B.; Choueiri, E. Y.

    1994-01-01

    The Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators (SEPAC), which flew on the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS) 1 mission, used new techniques to study natural phenomena in the Earth's upper atmosphere, ionosphere and magnetosphere by introducing energetic perturbations into the system from a high power electron beam with known characteristics. Properties of auroras were studied by directing the electron beam into the upper atmosphere while making measurements of optical emissions. Studies were also performed of the critical ionization velocity phenomenon.

  18. Development of an iron nitrate resistant injector valve for the Space Shuttle orbiter primary thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wichmann, Horst; Marquardt, Kaiser; Goforth, Alyssa

    1993-01-01

    Design of a direct-acting valve (DAV) for a primary thruster which is fully interchangeable with a thruster equipped with pilot-operated valves is described. The DAV is based on a bellows to isolate propellants form the actuator for maximum resistance to iron nitrate and other contamination and to select optimum materials for the actuator. It provides improved seal performance under all operating conditions and insensitivity to pressure transients. As compared with the existing pilot-operated valve, the DAV design is much simpler, consists of fewer parts, and will be lower in cost.

  19. NEXT Ion Thruster Performance Dispersion Analyses

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Soulas, George C.; Patterson, Michael J.

    2008-01-01

    The NEXT ion thruster is a low specific mass, high performance thruster with a nominal throttling range of 0.5 to 7 kW. Numerous engineering model and one prototype model thrusters have been manufactured and tested. Of significant importance to propulsion system performance is thruster-to-thruster performance dispersions. This type of information can provide a bandwidth of expected performance variations both on a thruster and a component level. Knowledge of these dispersions can be used to more conservatively predict thruster service life capability and thruster performance for mission planning, facilitate future thruster performance comparisons, and verify power processor capabilities are compatible with the thruster design. This study compiles the test results of five engineering model thrusters and one flight-like thruster to determine unit-to-unit dispersions in thruster performance. Component level performance dispersion analyses will include discharge chamber voltages, currents, and losses; accelerator currents, electron backstreaming limits, and perveance limits; and neutralizer keeper and coupling voltages and the spot-to-plume mode transition flow rates. Thruster level performance dispersion analyses will include thrust efficiency.

  20. Verification of MEMS fabrication process for the application of MEMS solid propellant thruster arrays in space through launch and on-orbit environment tests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oh, Hyun-Ung; Kim, Tae-Gyu; Han, Sung-Hyeon; Lee, Jongkwang

    2017-02-01

    One of the most significant barriers encountered to the space application of MEMS technology is its lack of reliability and flight heritage in space environments. In this study a MEMS solid propellant thruster array was selected for the verification test of MEMS technology in space. The function and performance of MEMS solid thruster have been previously verified by laboratory-level research in universities. To ensure the successful operation of the MEMS thruster module before flight demonstration on-orbit, launch and on-orbit environment tests were performed at the qualification level. In the launch test, sine burst, and random vibration loads were applied to the MEMS thruster module. The thermal vacuum tests were carried out for the on-orbit environment test. As a result of the launch vibration test and on-orbit environment test, the variations of the characteristics were less than 0.7%, and all the functional requirements were successfully verified after the vibration tests. The tests successfully verified the manufacturing process because the thruster module showed stable normal function before the ignition. The test result outputs will be helpful in establishing MEMS fabrication guidelines for space applications.

  1. Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators (SEPAC)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Obayashi, Tatsuzo

    1988-01-01

    The purpose of Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators (SEPAC) on the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS 1) mission, is to carry out active and interactive experiments on and in the earth's ionosphere, atmosphere, and magnetosphere. The instruments to be used are an electron beam accelerator (EBA), plasma contactor, and associated instruments the purpose of which is to perform diagnostic, monitoring, and general data taking functions. Four major classes of investigations are to be performed by SEPAC. They are: beam plasma physics, beam-atmosphere interactions, the use of modulated electron beams as transmitting antennas, and the use of electron beams for remote sensing of electric and magnetic fields. The first class consists mainly of onboard plasma physics experiments to measure the effects of phenomena in the vicinity of the shuttle. The last three are concerned with remote effects and are supported by other ATLAS 1 investigations as well as by ground-based observations.

  2. Inert gas thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kaufman, H. R.; Robinson, R. S.

    1980-01-01

    Some advances in component technology for inert gas thrusters are described. The maximum electron emission of a hollow cathode with Ar was increased 60-70% by the use of an enclosed keeper configuration. Operation with Ar, but without emissive oxide, was also obtained. A 30 cm thruster operated with Ar at moderate discharge voltages give double-ion measurements consistent with a double ion correlation developed previously using 15 cm thruster data. An attempt was made to reduce discharge losses by biasing anodes positive of the discharge plasma. The reason this attempt was unsuccessful is not yet clear. The performance of a single-grid ion-optics configuration was evaluated. The ion impingement on the single grid accelerator was found to approach the value expected from the projected blockage when the sheath thickness next to the accelerator was 2-3 times the aperture diameter.

  3. Integrated thruster assembly program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1973-01-01

    The program is reported which has provided technology for a long life, high performing, integrated ACPS thruster assembly suitable for use in 100 typical flights of a space shuttle vehicle over a ten year period. The four integrated thruster assemblies (ITA) fabricated consisted of: propellant injector; a capacitive discharge, air gap torch type igniter assembly; fast response igniter and main propellant valves; and a combined regen-dump film cooled chamber. These flightweight 6672 N (1500 lb) thruster assemblies employed GH2/GO2 as propellants at a chamber pressure of 207 N/sq cm (300 psia). Test data were obtained on thrusted performance, thermal and hydraulic characteristics, dynamic response in pulsing, and cycle life. One thruster was fired in excess of 42,000 times.

  4. Ray-tracing WKB analysis of Whistler waves in non-uniform magnetic fields applied to space thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cardinali, A.; Melazzi, D.; Manente, M.; Pavarin, D.

    2014-02-01

    Radiofrequency magnetized cylindrical plasma sources are proposed for the development of space thrusters, whose thrust efficiency and specific impulse depend on the power coupled into the plasma. At this stage of research, emphasis has been on the absorption of Whistler wave energy by non-uniform plasmas but not much on the role played by the magneto-static confinement field, considered uniform, constant and aligned with the axis of the source. We present RAYWh (RAY-tracing Whistler), a three-dimensional (3D) ray-tracing solver for electromagnetic propagation and power deposition in cylindrical plasma sources for space plasma thrusters, where actual magnetic confinement configurations along with plasma density profiles are included. The propagation and absorption of Whistler waves are investigated by solving the 3D Maxwell-Vlasov model equations by a Wentzel-Kramers-Brillouin (WKB) asymptotic expansion. The reduced set of equations for the wave phase and for the square amplitude of the electric field is solved numerically by means of a modified Runge-Kutta algorithm. Unexpected cut-offs, resonances, radial reflections, mode conversions and power deposition profile of the excited waves are found, when realistic confinement magnetic fields are considered. An analysis of the influence of axial wavenumbers and the axial length of the system on the power deposition is presented.

  5. Extended Performance 8-cm Mercury Ion Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mantenieks, M. A.

    1981-01-01

    A slightly modified 8-cm Hg ion thruster demonstrated significant increase in performance. Thrust was increased by almost a factor of five over that of the baseline thruster. Thruster operation with various three grid ion optics configurations; thruster performance as a function of accelerator grid open area, cathode baffle, and cathode orifice size; and a life test of 614 hours at a beam current of 250 mA (17.5 mN thrust) are discussed. Highest thruster efficiency was obtained with the smallest open area accelerator grid. The benefits in efficiency from the low neutral loss grids were mitigated, however, by the limitation such grids place on attainable ion beam current densities. The thruster components suffered negligible weight losses during a life test, which indicated that operation of the 8-cm thruster at extended levels of thrust and power is possible with no significant loss of lifetime.

  6. Space experiments with particle accelerators. [Spacelab

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Obayashi, T.

    1981-01-01

    The purpose of space experiments with particle accelerators (SEPAC) is to carry out active and interactive experiments on and in the Earth's ionosphere and magnetosphere. It is also intended to make an initial performance test for an overall program of Spacelab/SEPAC experiments. The instruments to be used are an electron beam accelerator, magnetoplasma dynamic arcjet, and associated diagnostic equipment. The accelerators are installed on the pallet, with monitoring and diagnostic observations being made by the gas plume release, beam-monitor TV, and particle-wave measuring instruments also mounted on the pallet. Command and display systems are installed in the module. Three major classes of investigations to be performed are vehicle charge neutralization, beam plasma physics, and beam atmosphere interactions. The first two are mainly onboard plasma physics experiments to measure the effect of phenomena in the vicinity of Spacelab. The last one is concerned with atmospheric modification and is supported by other Spacelab 1 investigations as well as by ground-based, remote sensing observations.

  7. Causes and Mitigation of Fuel Pilot Operated Valve Pilot Seal Extrusion in Space Shuttle Orbiter Primary RCS Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Waller, Jess M.; Roth, Tim E.; Saulsberry, Regor L.; Haney, William A.; Kelly, Terence S; Forsyth, Bradley S.

    2004-01-01

    Extrusion of a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) pilot seal located in the Space Shuttle Orbiter Primary Reaction Control Subsystem (PRCS) thruster fuel valve has been implicated in 68 ground and on-orbit fuel valve failures. A rash of six extrusion-related in-flight anomalies over a six-mission span from December 2001 to October 2002 led to heightened activity at various NASA centers, and the formation of a multidisciplinary team to solve the problem. Empirical and theoretical approaches were used. For example, thermomechanical analysis (TMA) and exposure tests showed that some extrusion is produced by thermal cycling; however, a review of thruster service histories did not reveal a strong link between thermal cycling and extrusion. Calculations showed that the amount of observed extrusion often exceeded the amount allowed by thermally-induced stress relief. Failure analysis of failed hardware also revealed the presence of fuel-oxidizer reaction product (FORP) inside the fuel valve pilot seal cavity, and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) showed that the FORP was intimately associated with the pilot seal material. Component-level exposure tests showed that FORP of similar composition could be produced by adjacent oxidizer valve leakage in the absence of thruster firing. Specific gravity data showed that extruded fuel valve pilot seals were less dense than new pilot seals or oxidizer valve pilot seals, indicating permanent modification of the PTFE occurred during service. It is concluded that some thermally-induced extrusion is unavoidable; however, oxidizer leakage-induced extrusion is mostly avoidable and can be mitigated. Several engineering level mitigation strategies are discussed.

  8. Miniature Electrostatic Ion Thruster With Magnet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hartley, Frank T.

    2006-01-01

    A miniature electrostatic ion thruster is proposed that, with one exception, would be based on the same principles as those of the device described in the previous article, "Miniature Bipolar Electrostatic Ion Thruster". The exceptional feature of this thruster would be that, in addition to using electric fields for linear acceleration of ions and electrons, it would use a magnetic field to rotationally accelerate slow electrons into the ion stream to neutralize the ions.

  9. Artificial Neural Network Test Support Development for the Space Shuttle PRCS Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lehr, Mark E.

    2005-01-01

    A significant anomaly, Fuel Valve Pilot Seal Extrusion, is affecting the Shuttle Primary Reaction Control System (PRCS) Thrusters, and has caused 79 to fail. To help address this problem, a Shuttle PRCS Thruster Process Evaluation Team (TPET) was formed. The White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) and Boeing members of the TPET have identified many discrete valve current trace characteristics that are predictive of the problem. However, these are difficult and time consuming to identify and trend by manual analysis. Based on this exhaustive analysis over months, 22 thrusters previously delivered by the Depot were identified as high risk for flight failures. Although these had only recently been installed, they had to be removed from Shuttles OV103 and OV104 for reprocessing, by directive of the Shuttle Project Office. The resulting impact of the thruster removal, replacement, and valve replacement was significant (months of work and hundreds of thousands of dollars). Much of this could have been saved had the proposed Neural Network (NN) tool described in this paper been in place. In addition to the significant benefits to the Shuttle indicated above, the development and implementation of this type of testing will be the genesis for potential Quality improvements across many areas of WSTF test data analysis and will be shared with other NASA centers. Future tests can be designed to incorporate engineering experience via Artificial Neural Nets (ANN) into depot level acceptance of hardware. Additionally, results were shared with a NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) Super Problem Response Team (SPRT). There was extensive interest voiced among many different personnel from several centers. There are potential spin-offs of this effort that can be directly applied to other data acquisition systems as well as vehicle health management for current and future flight vehicles.

  10. Diagnostic of plasma streams from ion thrusters for space propulsion using emissive probes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Conde, L.; Tierno, S. P.; Domenech-Garret, J. L.; Donoso, J. M.; Castillo, M. A.; Eíriz, I.; Sáez de Ocáriz, I.

    2016-10-01

    The emissive probes are employed for the determination of the local plasma potential of plasma streams produced by ion thrusters. Its operation basically relies on electron collection and emission and are less sensitive to the ion motion than collecting probes. The diagnostic using emissive probes is reviewed with emphasis in low density plasmas. Our results support the conclusion that potential structures around the probe, as virtual cathodes, would be responsible for the operation of emissive probes in low density plasmas.

  11. Enhanced Performance of Cylindrical Hall Thrusters

    SciTech Connect

    Y. Raitses, A. Smirnov, and N.J. Fisch

    2007-05-14

    The cylindrical thruster differs significantly in its underlying physical mechanisms from the conventional annular Hall thruster. It features high ionization efficiency, quiet operation, ion acceleration in a large volume-to-surface ratio channel, and performance comparable with the state-of-the-art conventional Hall thrusters. Very significant plume narrowing, accompanied by the increase of the energetic ion fraction and improvement of ion focusing, led to 50%–60% increase of the thruster anode efficiency. These improvements were achieved by overrunning the discharge current in the magnetized thruster plasma.

  12. Helical plasma thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Beklemishev, A. D.

    2015-10-15

    A new scheme of plasma thruster is proposed. It is based on axial acceleration of rotating magnetized plasmas in magnetic field with helical corrugation. The idea is that the propellant ionization zone can be placed into the local magnetic well, so that initially the ions are trapped. The E × B rotation is provided by an applied radial electric field that makes the setup similar to a magnetron discharge. Then, from the rotating plasma viewpoint, the magnetic wells of the helically corrugated field look like axially moving mirror traps. Specific shaping of the corrugation can allow continuous acceleration of trapped plasma ions along the magnetic field by diamagnetic forces. The accelerated propellant is expelled through the expanding field of magnetic nozzle. By features of the acceleration principle, the helical plasma thruster may operate at high energy densities but requires a rather high axial magnetic field, which places it in the same class as the VASIMR{sup ®} rocket engine.

  13. Helical plasma thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beklemishev, A. D.

    2015-10-01

    A new scheme of plasma thruster is proposed. It is based on axial acceleration of rotating magnetized plasmas in magnetic field with helical corrugation. The idea is that the propellant ionization zone can be placed into the local magnetic well, so that initially the ions are trapped. The E × B rotation is provided by an applied radial electric field that makes the setup similar to a magnetron discharge. Then, from the rotating plasma viewpoint, the magnetic wells of the helically corrugated field look like axially moving mirror traps. Specific shaping of the corrugation can allow continuous acceleration of trapped plasma ions along the magnetic field by diamagnetic forces. The accelerated propellant is expelled through the expanding field of magnetic nozzle. By features of the acceleration principle, the helical plasma thruster may operate at high energy densities but requires a rather high axial magnetic field, which places it in the same class as the VASIMR® rocket engine.

  14. Development of Eddy Current Technique for the Detection of Stress Corrosion Cracking in Space Shuttle Primary Reaction Control Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wincheski, Buzz; Simpson, John; Koshti, Ajay

    2006-01-01

    A recent identification of stress corrosion cracking in the Space Shuttle Primary Reaction Control System (PRCS) thrusters triggered an extensive nondestructive evaluation effort to develop techniques capable of identifying such damage on installed shuttle hardware. As a part of this effort, specially designed eddy current probes inserted into the acoustic cavity were explored for the detection of such flaws and for evaluation of the remaining material between the crack tip and acoustic cavity. The technique utilizes two orthogonal eddy current probes which are scanned under stepper motor control in the acoustic cavity to identify cracks hidden with as much as 0.060 remaining wall thickness to the cavity. As crack growth rates in this area have been determined to be very slow, such an inspection provides a large safety margin for continued operation of the critical shuttle hardware. Testing has been performed on thruster components with both actual and fabricated defects. This paper will review the design and performance of the developed eddy current inspection system. Detection of flaws as a function of remaining wall thickness will be presented along with the proposed system configuration for depot level or on-vehicle inspection capabilities.

  15. Development of Eddy Current Techniques for the Detection of Cracking in Space Shuttle Primary Reaction Control Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wincheski, Buzz A.; Simpson, John W.; Koshti, Ajay

    2007-01-01

    A recent identification of cracking in the Space Shuttle Primary Reaction Control System (PRCS) thrusters triggered an extensive nondestructive evaluation effort to develop techniques capable of identifying such damage on installed shuttle hardware. As a part of this effort, specially designed eddy current probes inserted into the acoustic cavity were explored for the detection of such flaws and for evaluation of the remaining material between the crack tip and acoustic cavity. The technique utilizes two orthogonal eddy current probes which are scanned under stepper motor control in the acoustic cavity to identify cracks hidden with as much as 0.060 remaining wall thickness to the cavity. As crack growth rates in this area have been determined to be very slow, such an inspection provides a large safety margin for continued operation of the critical shuttle hardware. Testing has been performed on thruster components with both actual and fabricated defects. This paper will review the design and performance of the developed eddy current inspection system. Detection of flaws as a function of remaining wall thickness will be presented along with the proposed system configuration for depot level or on-vehicle inspection capabilities.

  16. Design and Preliminary Performance Testing of Electronegative Gas Plasma Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Liu, Thomas M.; Schloeder, Natalie R.; Walker, Mitchell L. R.; Polzin, Kurt A.; Dankanich, John W.; Aanesland, Ane

    2014-01-01

    In classical gridded electrostatic ion thrusters, positively charged ions are generated from a plasma discharge of noble gas propellant and accelerated to provide thrust. To maintain overall charge balance on the propulsion system, a separate electron source is required to neutralize the ion beam as it exits the thruster. However, if high-electronegativity propellant gases (e.g., sulfur hexafluoride) are instead used, a plasma discharge can result consisting of both positively and negatively charged ions. Extracting such electronegative plasma species for thrust generation (e.g., with time-varying, bipolar ion optics) would eliminate the need for a separate neutralizer cathode subsystem. In addition for thrusters utilizing a RF plasma discharge, further simplification of the ion thruster power system may be possible by also using the RF power supply to bias the ion optics. Recently, the PEGASES (Plasma propulsion with Electronegative gases) thruster prototype successfully demonstrated proof-of-concept operations in alternatively accelerating positively and negatively charged ions from a RF discharge of a mixture of argon and sulfur hexafluoride.i In collaboration with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), the Georgia Institute of Technology High-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory (HPEPL) is applying the lessons learned from PEGASES design and testing to develop a new thruster prototype. This prototype will incorporate design improvements and undergo gridless operational testing and diagnostics checkout at HPEPL in April 2014. Performance mapping with ion optics will be conducted at NASA MSFC starting in May 2014. The proposed paper discusses the design and preliminary performance testing of this electronegative gas plasma thruster prototype.

  17. Accelerating the Design of Space Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Laufenberg, Larry (Editor)

    2003-01-01

    One of NASA's key goals is to increase the safety and reduce the cost of space transportation. Thus, a key element of NASA's new Integrated Space Transportation Plan is to develop new propulsion, structures, and operations for future generations of reusable launch vehicles (RLVs). As part of this effort to develop the next RLV, the ClCT Program's Computing, Networking, and Information Systems (CNIS) Project is developing and demonstrating collaborative software technologies that use the collective power of the NASA Grid to accelerate spacecraft design. One of these technologies, called AeroDB, automates the execution and monitoring of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) parameter studies on the NASA Grid. About the NASA Grid The NASA Grid, or Information Power Grid,. is being developed to leverage the distributed resources of NASA's many computers. instruments, simulators, and data storage systems. The goal is to use these combined resources to sdve difficult NASA challenges, such as iimulating the entire flight of a space vehicle from ascent to descent.To realize the vision of the NASA Grid, the CNIS Project is developing the software framework and protocols for building domain-specific environments and interfaces, new Grid services based on emerging industry standards, and advanced networking and computing testbeds to support new Grid-based applications such as AeroDB.

  18. Ion Thruster Support and Positioning System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haag, Thomas W. (Inventor)

    1998-01-01

    A system for supporting and selectively positioning an ion thruster relative to a surface of a spacecraft includes three angularly spaced thruster support assemblies. Each thruster support assembly includes a frame which has a rotary actuator mounted thereon. The rotary actuator is connected to an actuator member which is rotatably connected to a thruster attachment member connected to a body of the thruster. A stabilizer member is rotatably mounted to the frame and to the thruster attachment member. The thruster is selectively movable in the pitch and yaw directions responsive to movement of the actuator members by the actuators on the thruster support assemblies. A failure of any one actuator on a thruster support assembly will generally still enable limited thruster positioning capability in two directions. In a retracted position the thruster attachment members are held in nested relation in saddles supported on the frames of the thruster support assemblies. The thruster is securely held in the retracted position during periods of high loading such as during launch of the spacecraft.

  19. Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators (SEPAC)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Taylor, William W. L.

    1994-01-01

    The scientific emphasis of this contract has been on the physics of beam ionosphere interactions, in particular, what are the plasma wave levels stimulated by the Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators (SEPAC) electron beam as it is ejected from the Electron Beam Accelerator (EBA) and passes into and through the ionosphere. There were two different phenomena expected. The first was generation of plasma waves by the interaction of the DC component of the beam with the plasma of the ionosphere, by wave particle interactions. The second was the generation of waves at the pulsing frequency of the beam (AC component). This is referred to as using the beam as a virtual antenna, because the beam of electrons is a coherent electrical current confined to move along the earth's magnetic field. As in a physical antenna, a conductor at a radio or TV station, the beam virtual antenna radiates electromagnetic waves at the frequency of the current variations. These two phenomena were investigated during the period of this contract.

  20. Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators (SEPAC)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Obayashi, T.; Kawashima, N.; Kuriki, K.; Nagatomo, M.; Ninomiya, K.; Sasaki, S.; Ushirokawa, A.; Kudo, I.; Ejiri, M.; Roberts, W. T.

    1982-01-01

    Plans for SEPAC, an instrument array to be used on Spacelab 1 to study vehicle charging and neutralization, beam-plasma interaction in space, beam-atmospheric interaction exciting artificial aurora and airglow, and the electromagnetic-field configuration of the magnetosphere, are presented. The hardware, consisting of electron beam accelerator, magnetoplasma arcjet, neutral-gas plume generator, power supply, diagnostic package (photometer, plasma probes, particle analyzers, and plasma-wave package), TV monitor, and control and data-management unit, is described. The individual SEPAC experiments, the typical operational sequence, and the general outline of the SEPAC follow-on mission are discussed. Some of the experiments are to be joint ventures with AEPI (INS 003) and will be monitored by low-light-level TV.

  1. Electric thruster research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kaufman, H. R.; Robinson, R. S.

    1982-01-01

    It has been customary to assume that ions flow nearly equally in all directions from the ion production region within an electron-bombardment discharge chamber. In general, the electron current through a magnetic field can alter the electron density, and hence the ion density, in such a way that ions tend to be directed away from the region bounded by the magnetic field. When this mechanism is understood, it becomes evident that many past discharge chamber designs have operated with a preferentially directed flow of ions. Thermal losses were calculated for an oxide-free hollow cathode. At low electron emissions, the total of the radiation and conduction losses agreed with the total discharge power. At higher emissions, though, the plasma collisions external to the cathode constituted an increasingly greater fraction of the discharge power. Experimental performance of a Hall-current thruster was adversely affected by nonuniformities in the magnetic field, produced by the cathode heating current. The technology of closed-drift thrusters was reviewed. The experimental electron diffusion in the acceleration channel was found to be within about a factor of 3 of the Bohm value for the better thruster designs at most operating conditions. Thruster efficiencies of about 0.5 appear practical for the 1000 to 2000 s range of specific impulse. Lifetime information is limited, but values of several thousands of hours should be possible with anode layer thrusters operated or = to 2000 s.

  2. Performance characteristics of the deep space 1 flight spare ion thruster long duration test, the first 21,300 hours of operation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sengupta, A.; Anderson, J.; Brophy, J.; Rawlin, V.; Sovey, J.

    2002-01-01

    A long duration test of the DSl flight spare ion thruster (FT2) is presently being conducted at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. To, date the thruster has accumulated over 23,500 hours of operation, and 190 kg of Xenon propellant, over 230% of the initial design life. The primary objectives of the test include the processing of 200 kg of Xenon propellant, the identification of unknown failure modes, the characterization and drivers of these failure modes, and to measure performance degradation as the thruster wears. The test is fitted with an extensive array of diagnostics to measure engine wear and performance degradation. To date the most notable erosion processes include severe discharge cathode keeper erosion, accelerator grid erosion, reduction in electrical isolation of the neutralizer assembly, and deposit formation within the neutralizer orifice, reducing margin from plume mode. Over the past 23,500 hours of operation, performance degradation has been minimal, and it is anticipated that the above erosion processes will not preclude the thruster from processing over 200 kg of Xenon.

  3. Temperature Gradient in Hall Thrusters

    SciTech Connect

    D. Staack; Y. Raitses; N.J. Fisch

    2003-11-24

    Plasma potentials and electron temperatures were deduced from emissive and cold floating probe measurements in a 2 kW Hall thruster, operated in the discharge voltage range of 200-400 V. An almost linear dependence of the electron temperature on the plasma potential was observed in the acceleration region of the thruster both inside and outside the thruster. This result calls into question whether secondary electron emission from the ceramic channel walls plays a significant role in electron energy balance. The proportionality factor between the axial electron temperature gradient and the electric field is significantly smaller than might be expected by models employing Ohmic heating of electrons.

  4. A Pulsed Laser-Electromagnetic Hybrid Accelerator For Space Propulsion Application

    SciTech Connect

    Shinohara, Tadaki; Horisawa, Hideyuki; Baba, Msahumi; Tei, Kazuyoku

    2010-05-06

    A fundamental study of a newly developed rectangular pulsed laser-electromagnetic hybrid thruster was conducted, in which laser-ablation plasma was induced through laser beam irradiation onto a solid target and accelerated by electrical means instead of direct acceleration only by using a laser beam. The performance of the thruster was evaluated by measuring the mass per shot and impulse bit. As results, significantly high specific impulse ranging from 5,000 approx6,000 sec were obtained at energies of 0.1 and 8.6 J, respectively. In addition, the typical thrust efficiency varied from 17% to 19% depending on the charge energy.

  5. NEXT Propellant Management System Integration With Multiple Ion Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sovey, James S.; Soulas, George C.; Herman, Daniel A.

    2011-01-01

    As a critical part of the NEXT test validation process, a multiple-string integration test was performed on the NEXT propellant management system and ion thrusters. The objectives of this test were to verify that the PMS is capable of providing stable flow control to multiple thrusters operating over the NEXT system throttling range and to demonstrate to potential users that the NEXT PMS is ready for transition to flight. A test plan was developed for the sub-system integration test for verification of PMS and thruster system performance and functionality requirements. Propellant management system calibrations were checked during the single and multi-thruster testing. The low pressure assembly total flow rates to the thruster(s) were within 1.4 percent of the calibrated support equipment flow rates. The inlet pressures to the main, cathode, and neutralizer ports of Thruster PM1R were measured as the PMS operated in 1-thruster, 2-thruster, and 3-thruster configurations. It was found that the inlet pressures to Thruster PM1R for 2-thruster and 3-thruster operation as well as single thruster operation with the PMS compare very favorably indicating that flow rates to Thruster PM1R were similar in all cases. Characterizations of discharge losses, accelerator grid current, and neutralizer performance were performed as more operating thrusters were added to the PMS. There were no variations in these parameters as thrusters were throttled and single and multiple thruster operations were conducted. The propellant management system power consumption was at a fixed voltage to the DCIU and a fixed thermal throttle temperature of 75 C. The total power consumed by the PMS was 10.0, 17.9, and 25.2 W, respectively, for single, 2-thruster, and 3-thruster operation with the PMS. These sub-system integration tests of the PMS, the DCIU Simulator, and multiple thrusters addressed, in part, the NEXT PMS and propulsion system performance and functionality requirements.

  6. Iodine Hall Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Szabo, James

    2015-01-01

    Iodine enables dramatic mass and cost savings for lunar and Mars cargo missions, including Earth escape and near-Earth space maneuvers. The demonstrated throttling ability of iodine is important for a singular thruster that might be called upon to propel a spacecraft from Earth to Mars or Venus. The ability to throttle efficiently is even more important for missions beyond Mars. In the Phase I project, Busek Company, Inc., tested an existing Hall thruster, the BHT-8000, on iodine propellant. The thruster was fed by a high-flow iodine feed system and supported by an existing Busek hollow cathode flowing xenon gas. The Phase I propellant feed system was evolved from a previously demonstrated laboratory feed system. Throttling of the thruster between 2 and 11 kW at 200 to 600 V was demonstrated. Testing showed that the efficiency of iodine fueled BHT-8000 is the same as with xenon, with iodine delivering a slightly higher thrust-to-power (T/P) ratio. In Phase II, a complete iodine-fueled system was developed, including the thruster, hollow cathode, and iodine propellant feed system. The nominal power of the Phase II system is 8 kW; however, it can be deeply throttled as well as clustered to much higher power levels. The technology also can be scaled to greater than 100 kW per thruster to support megawatt-class missions. The target thruster efficiency for the full-scale system is 65 percent at high specific impulse (Isp) (approximately 3,000 s) and 60 percent at high thrust (Isp approximately 2,000 s).

  7. NASA GRC High Power Electromagnetic Thruster Program

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lapointe, Michael R.; Pencil, Eric J.

    2004-02-01

    Interest in high power electromagnetic propulsion has been revived to support a variety of future space missions, such as platform maneuvering in low earth orbit, cost-effective cargo transport to lunar and Mars bases, asteroid and outer planet sample return, deep space robotic exploration, and piloted missions to Mars and the outer planets. Magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters have demonstrated, at the laboratory level, the capacity to process megawatts of electrical power while providing higher thrust densities than current electric propulsion systems. The ability to generate higher thrust densities permits a reduction in the number of thrusters required to perform a given mission and alleviates the system complexity associated with multiple thruster arrays. The specific impulse of an MPD thruster can be optimized to meet given mission requirements, from a few thousand seconds with heavier gas propellants up to 10,000 seconds with hydrogen propellant. In support of NASA space science and human exploration strategic initiatives, Glenn Research Center is developing and testing pulsed, MW-class MPD thrusters as a prelude to long-duration high power thruster tests. The research effort includes numerical modeling of self-field and applied-field MPD thrusters and experimental testing of quasi-steady MW-class MPD thrusters in a high power pulsed thruster facility. This paper provides an overview of the GRC high power electromagnetic thruster program and the pulsed thruster test facility.

  8. Scale Model Thruster Acoustic Measurement Results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kenny, R. Jeremy; Vargas, Magda B.

    2013-01-01

    Subscale rocket acoustic data is used to predict acoustic environments for full scale rockets. Over the last several years acoustic data has been collected during horizontal tests of solid rocket motors. Space Launch System (SLS) Scale Model Acoustic Test (SMAT) was designed to evaluate the acoustics of the SLS vehicle including the liquid engines and solid rocket boosters. SMAT is comprised of liquid thrusters scalable to the Space Shuttle Main engines (SSME) and Rocket Assisted Take Off (RATO) motors scalable to the 5-segment Reusable Solid Rocket Motor (RSTMV). Horizontal testing of the liquid thrusters provided an opportunity to collect acoustic data from liquid thrusters to characterize the acoustic environments. Acoustic data was collected during the horizontal firings of a single thruster and a 4-thruster (Quad) configuration. Presentation scope. Discuss the results of the single and 4-thruster acoustic measurements. Compare the measured acoustic levels of the liquid thrusters to the Solid Rocket Test Motor V - Nozzle 2 (SRTMV-N2).

  9. Magnetoplasmadynamic Thruster Workshop

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    On May 16, 1991, the NASA Headquarters Propulsion, Power, and Energy Division and the NASA Lewis Research Center Low Thrust Propulsion Branch hosted a workshop attended by key experts in magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters and associated sciences. The scope was limited to high power MPD thrusters suitable for major NASA space exploration missions, and its purpose was to initiate the process of increasing the expectations and prospects for MPD research, primarily by increasing the level of cooperation, interaction, and communication between parties within the MPD community.

  10. Electron dynamics in Hall thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marini, Samuel; Pakter, Renato

    2015-11-01

    Hall thrusters are plasma engines those use an electromagnetic fields combination to confine electrons, generate and accelerate ions. Widely used by aerospace industries those thrusters stand out for its simple geometry, high specific impulse and low demand for electric power. Propulsion generated by those systems is due to acceleration of ions produced in an acceleration channel. The ions are generated by collision of electrons with propellant gas atoms. In this context, we can realize how important is characterizing the electronic dynamics. Using Hamiltonian formalism, we derive the electron motion equation in a simplified electromagnetic fields configuration observed in hall thrusters. We found conditions those must be satisfied by electromagnetic fields to have electronic confinement in acceleration channel. We present configurations of electromagnetic fields those maximize propellant gas ionization and thus make propulsion more efficient. This work was supported by CNPq.

  11. The development of reactive fuel grains for pyrophoric relight of in-space hybrid rocket thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steiner, Matthew Wellington

    This study presents and investigates a novel hybrid fuel grain that reacts pyrophorically with gaseous oxidizer to achieve restart of a hybrid rocket motor propulsion system while reducing cost and handling concerns. This reactive fuel grain (RFG) relies on the pyrophoric nature of finely divided metal particles dispersed in a solid dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) binder, which has been shown to encapsulate air-sensitive additives until they are exposed to combustion gases. An RFG is thus effectively inert in open air in the absence of an ignition source, though the particles encapsulated within remain pyrophoric. In practice, this means that an RFG that is ignited in the vacuum of space and then extinguished will expose unoxidized pyrophoric particles, which can be used to generate sufficient heat to relight the propellant when oxidizer is flowed. The experiments outlined in this work aim to develop a suitable pyrophoric material for use in an RFG, demonstrate pyrophoric relight, and characterize performance under conditions relevant to a hybrid rocket thruster. Magnesium, lithium, calcium, and an alloy of titanium, chromium, and manganese (TiCrMn) were investigated to determine suitability of pure metals as RFG additives. Additionally, aluminum hydride (AlH3), lithium aluminum hydride (LiAlH4), lithium borohydride (LiBH4), and magnesium hydride (MgH2) were investigated to determine suitability of metals hydrides as RFG additives or as precursors for pure-metal RFG additives. Pyrophoric metals have been previously investigated as additives for increasing the regression rate of hybrid fuels, but to the author's knowledge, these materials have not been specifically investigated for their ability to ignite a propellant pyrophorically. Commercial research-grade metals were obtained as coarse powders, then ball-milled to attempt to reduce particle size below a critical diameter needed for pyrophoricity. Magnesium hydride was ball-milled and then cycled in a hydride cycling

  12. Electron-wall Interaction in Hall Thrusters

    SciTech Connect

    Y. Raitses; D. Staack; M. Keidar; N.J. Fisch

    2005-02-11

    Electron-wall interaction effects in Hall thrusters are studied through measurements of the plasma response to variations of the thruster channel width and the discharge voltage. The discharge voltage threshold is shown to separate two thruster regimes. Below this threshold, the electron energy gain is constant in the acceleration region and therefore, secondary electron emission (SEE) from the channel walls is insufficient to enhance electron energy losses at the channel walls. Above this voltage threshold, the maximum electron temperature saturates.

  13. Magnetic Field Tailored Annular Hall Thruster with Anode Layer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Seunghun; Kim, Holak; Kim, Junbum; Lim, Youbong; Choe, Wonho; Korea Adv Inst of Sci; Tech Team; Korea Institute of Materials Science Collaboration

    2016-09-01

    Plasma propulsion system is one of the key components for advanced missions of satellites as well as deep space exploration. A typical plasma propulsion system is Hall effect thruster that uses crossed electric and magnetic fields to ionize a propellant gas and to accelerate the ionized gas to generate momentum. In Hall thruster plasmas, magnetic field configuration is important due to the fact that electron confinement in the electromagnetic fields affects both plasma and ion beam characteristics as well as thruster performance parameters including thrust, specific impulse, power efficiency, and life time. In this work, development of an anode layer Hall thruster (TAL) with magnetic field tailoring has been attempted. The TAL is possible to keep discharge in 1 to 2 kilovolts of anode voltage, which is useful to obtain high specific impulse. The magnetic field tailoring is used to minimize undesirable heat dissipation and secondary electron emission from the wall surrounding the plasma. We will report 3 W and 200 W thrusters performances measured by a pendulum thrust stand according to the magnetic field configuration. Also, the measured result will be compared with the plasma diagnostics conducted by an angular Faraday probe, a retarding potential analyzer, and a ExB probe.

  14. 20-mN Variable Specific Impulse (Isp) Colloid Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Demmons, Nathaniel

    2015-01-01

    Busek Company, Inc., has designed and manufactured an electrospray emitter capable of generating 20 mN in a compact package (7x7x1.7 in). The thruster consists of nine porous-surface emitters operating in parallel from a common propellant supply. Each emitter is capable of supporting over 70,000 electrospray emission sites with the plume from each emitter being accelerated through a single aperture, eliminating the need for individual emission site alignment to an extraction grid. The total number of emission sites during operation is expected to approach 700,000. This Phase II project optimized and characterized the thruster fabricated during the Phase I effort. Additional porous emitters also were fabricated for full-scale testing. Propellant is supplied to the thruster via existing feed-system and microvalve technology previously developed by Busek, under the NASA Space Technology 7's Disturbance Reduction System (ST7-DRS) mission and via follow-on electric propulsion programs. This project investigated methods for extending thruster life beyond the previously demonstrated 450 hours. The life-extending capabilities will be demonstrated on a subscale version of the thruster.

  15. Cathode-less gridded ion thrusters for small satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aanesland, Ane

    2016-10-01

    Electric space propulsion is now a mature technology for commercial satellites and space missions that requires thrust in the order of hundreds of mN, and with available electric power in the order of kW. Developing electric propulsion for SmallSats (1 to 500 kg satellites) are challenging due to the small space and limited available electric power (in the worst case close to 10 W). One of the challenges in downscaling ion and Hall thrusters is the need to neutralize the positive ion beam to prevent beam stalling. This neutralization is achieved by feeding electrons into the downstream space. In most cases hollow cathodes are used for this purpose, but they are fragile and difficult to implement, and in particular for small systems they are difficult to downscale, both in size and electron current. We describe here a new alternative ion thruster that can provide thrust and specific impulse suitable for mission control of satellites as small as 3 kg. The originality of our thruster lies in the acceleration principles and propellant handling. Continuous ion acceleration is achieved by biasing a set of grids with Radio Frequency voltages (RF) via a blocking capacitor. Due to the different mobility of ions and electrons, the blocking capacitor charges up and rectifies the RF voltage. Thus, the ions are accelerated by the self-bias DC voltage. Moreover, due to the RF oscillations, the electrons escape the thruster across the grids during brief instants in the RF period ensuring a full space charge neutralization of the positive ion beam. Due to the RF nature of this system, the space charge limited current increases by almost a factor of 2 compared to classical DC biased grids, which translates into a specific thrust two times higher than for a similar DC system. This new thruster is called Neptune and operates with only one RF power supply for plasma generation, ion acceleration and electron neutralization. We will present the downscaling of this thruster to a 3cm

  16. Heaterless ignition of inert gas ion thruster hollow cathodes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schatz, M. F.

    1985-01-01

    Heaterless inert gas ion thruster hollow cathodes were investigated with the aim of reducing ion thruster complexity and increasing ion thruster reliability. Cathodes heated by glow discharges are evaluated for power requirements, flowrate requirements, and life limiting mechanisms. An accelerated cyclic life test is presented.

  17. Electric thruster research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kaufman, H. R.; Robinson, R. S.

    1981-01-01

    The multipole discharge chamber of an electrostatic ion thruster is discussed. No reductions in discharge losses were obtained, despite repeated demonstration of anode potentials more positive than the bulk of the discharge plasma. The penalty associated with biased anode operation was reduced as the magnetic integral above the biased anodes was increased. The hollow cathode is discussed. The experimental configuration of the Hall current thruster had a uniform field throughout the ion generation and acceleration regions. To obtain reliable ion generation, it was necessary to reduce the magnetic field strength, to the point where excessive electron backflow was required to establish ion acceleration. The theoretical study of ion acceleration with closed electron drift paths resulted in two classes of solutions. One class has the continuous potential variation in the acceleration region that is normally associated with a Hall current accelerator. The other class has an almost discontinuous potential step near the anode end of the acceleration region. This step includes a significant fraction of the total acceleration potential difference.

  18. Advanced ion thruster and electrochemical launcher research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilbur, P. J.

    1983-01-01

    The theoretical model of orificed hollow cathode operation predicted experimentally observed cathode performance with reasonable accuracy. The deflection and divergence characteristics of ion beamlets emanating from a two grid optics system as a function of the relative offset of screen and accel grids hole axes were described. Ion currents associated with discharge chamber operation were controlled to improve ion thruster performance markedly. Limitations imposed by basic physical laws on reductions in screen grid hole size and grid spacing for ion optics systems were described. The influence of stray magnetic fields in the vicinity of a neutralizer on the performance of that neutralizer was demonstrated. The ion current density extracted from a thruster was enhanced by injecting electrons into the region between its ion accelerating grids. Theoretical analysis of the electrothermal ramjet concept of launching space bound payloads at high acceleration levels is described. The operation of this system is broken down into two phases. In the light gas gun phase the payload is accelerated to the velocity at which the ramjet phase can commence. Preliminary models of operation are examined and shown to yield overall energy efficiences for a typical Earth escape launch of 60 to 70%. When shock losses are incorporated these efficiencies are still observed to remain at the relatively high values of 40 to 50%.

  19. Azimuthal Spoke Propagation in Hall Effect Thrusters

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-08-01

    Approved for public release; distribution unlimited. IEPC-2013- Background Pressure Effects on Krypton Hall Effect Thruster Internal Acceleration...Why are we doing this work? – Continued examination of alternative Hall effect thruster propellants: Krypton – Interest in effects of test...Distribution unlimited 2 Photograph of BHT-600 operating on krypton Long exposure photograph of BHT-600 operating on krypton showing extended plume

  20. Magnesium Hall Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Szabo, James J.

    2015-01-01

    This Phase II project is developing a magnesium (Mg) Hall effect thruster system that would open the door for in situ resource utilization (ISRU)-based solar system exploration. Magnesium is light and easy to ionize. For a Mars- Earth transfer, the propellant mass savings with respect to a xenon Hall effect thruster (HET) system are enormous. Magnesium also can be combusted in a rocket with carbon dioxide (CO2) or water (H2O), enabling a multimode propulsion system with propellant sharing and ISRU. In the near term, CO2 and H2O would be collected in situ on Mars or the moon. In the far term, Mg itself would be collected from Martian and lunar regolith. In Phase I, an integrated, medium-power (1- to 3-kW) Mg HET system was developed and tested. Controlled, steady operation at constant voltage and power was demonstrated. Preliminary measurements indicate a specific impulse (Isp) greater than 4,000 s was achieved at a discharge potential of 400 V. The feasibility of delivering fluidized Mg powder to a medium- or high-power thruster also was demonstrated. Phase II of the project evaluated the performance of an integrated, highpower Mg Hall thruster system in a relevant space environment. Researchers improved the medium power thruster system and characterized it in detail. Researchers also designed and built a high-power (8- to 20-kW) Mg HET. A fluidized powder feed system supporting the high-power thruster was built and delivered to Busek Company, Inc.

  1. Space experiments with particle accelerators: SEPAC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roberts, B.

    1986-01-01

    The SEPAC instruments consist of an electron accelerator, a plasma accelerator, a neutral gas (N2) release device, particle and field diagnostic instruments, and a low light level television system. These instruments are used to accomplish multiple experiments: to study beam-particle interactions and other plasma processes; as probes to investigate magnetospheric processes; and as perturbation devices to study energy coupling mechanisms in the magnetosphere, ionosphere, and upper atmosphere.

  2. The Plasmoid Thruster Experiment (PTX)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eskridge, Richard; Martin, Adam; Koelfgen, Syri; Lee, Mike; Smith, James W.

    2003-01-01

    A plasmoid is a compact plasma structure with an integral magnetic field. They have been studied extensively in controlled fusion research and are categorized according to the relative strength of the poloidal and toroidal magnetic field (B(phi), and B(tau), respectively). An object with B(phi)/B(tau) >> 1 is classified as a Field Reverse Configuration (FRC); if B(phi) = B(tau), it is called a Spheromak. There are a number of possible advantages to using accelerated plasmoids for in-space propulsion. A thruster based on this concept would operate by repetitively producing plasmoids and ejecting them from the device at high velocity. The plasmoid is formed inside of a single turn conical theta-pinch coil; as this process is inductive, there are no life-limiting electrodes. Similar experiments have yielded plasmoid velocities of at least 50 km/s (l), and calculations indicate that velocities in excess of 100 km/s are possible. A thruster based on this concept would be capable of producing an I(sp) in the range of 5,000 - 10,OOO s, with thrust densities of order 10(exp 5) N/m(exp 2). The current experiment is designed to produce jet powers in the range of 5-10 kW, although the concept should be scalable to higher power. The purpose of this experiment is to determine the feasibility of this plasma propulsion concept. To accomplish this, it will be necessary to determine: a.) specific impulse and thrust, b.) efficiency and mass utilization, c.) which type of plasmoid (FRC-like or Spheromak-like) gives the best performance, and d.) the characteristics required of actual thruster components (i.e., switch and capacitor technology). The plasmoid mass and velocity will be measured with a variety of diagnostics, including internal and external B-dot probes, flux loops, Langmuir probes, high-speed cameras, and an interferometer. Simulations of the plasmoid thruster using MOQUI, a time dependent MHD code, will be carried out concurrently with experimental testing. The PTX

  3. Proton and heavy ion acceleration facilities for space radiation research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, Jack

    2003-01-01

    The particles and energies commonly used for medium energy nuclear physics and heavy charged particle radiobiology and radiotherapy at particle accelerators are in the charge and energy range of greatest interest for space radiation health. In this article we survey some of the particle accelerator facilities in the United States and around the world that are being used for space radiation health and related research, and illustrate some of their capabilities with discussions of selected accelerator experiments applicable to the human exploration of space.

  4. A Microwave Thruster for Spacecraft Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Chiravalle, Vincent P

    2012-07-23

    This presentation describes how a microwave thruster can be used for spacecraft propulsion. A microwave thruster is part of a larger class of electric propulsion devices that have higher specific impulse and lower thrust than conventional chemical rocket engines. Examples of electric propulsion devices are given in this presentation and it is shown how these devices have been used to accomplish two recent space missions. The microwave thruster is then described and it is explained how the thrust and specific impulse of the thruster can be measured. Calculations of the gas temperature and plasma properties in the microwave thruster are discussed. In addition a potential mission for the microwave thruster involving the orbit raising of a space station is explored.

  5. Measurements of neutral and ion velocity distribution functions in a Hall thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Svarnas, Panagiotis; Romadanov, Iavn; Diallo, Ahmed; Raitses, Yevgeny

    2015-11-01

    Hall thruster is a plasma device for space propulsion. It utilizes a cross-field discharge to generate a partially ionized weakly collisional plasma with magnetized electrons and non-magnetized ions. The ions are accelerated by the electric field to produce the thrust. There is a relatively large number of studies devoted to characterization of accelerated ions, including measurements of ion velocity distribution function using laser-induced fluorescence diagnostic. Interactions of these accelerated ions with neutral atoms in the thruster and the thruster plume is a subject of on-going studies, which require combined monitoring of ion and neutral velocity distributions. Herein, laser-induced fluorescence technique has been employed to study neutral and single-charged ion velocity distribution functions in a 200 W cylindrical Hall thruster operating with xenon propellant. An optical system is installed in the vacuum chamber enabling spatially resolved axial velocity measurements. The fluorescence signals are well separated from the plasma background emission by modulating the laser beam and using lock-in detectors. Measured velocity distribution functions of neutral atoms and ions at different operating parameters of the thruster are reported and analyzed. This work was supported by DOE contract DE-AC02-09CH11466.

  6. Inert gas thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kaufman, H. R.; Robinson, R. S.

    1979-01-01

    Inert gas thrusters considered for space propulsion systems were investigated. Electron diffusion across a magnetic field was examined utilizing a basic model. The production of doubly charged ions was correlated using only overall performance parameters. The use of this correlation is therefore possible in the design stage of large gas thrusters, where detailed plasma properties are not available. Argon hollow cathode performance was investigated over a range of emission currents, with the positions of the inert, keeper, and anode varied. A general trend observed was that the maximum ratio of emission to flow rate increased at higher propellant flow rates. It was also found that an enclosed keeper enhances maximum cathode emission at high flow rates. The maximum cathode emission at a given flow rate was associated with a noisy high voltage mode. Although this mode has some similarities to the plume mode found at low flows and emissions, it is encountered by being initially in the spot mode and increasing emission. A detailed analysis of large, inert-gas thruster performance was carried out. For maximum thruster efficiency, the optimum beam diameter increases from less than a meter at under 2000 sec specific impulse to several meters at 10,000 sec. The corresponding range in input power ranges from several kilowatts to megawatts.

  7. Inert-gas thruster technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kaufman, H. R.; Robinson, R. S.; Trock, D. C.

    1981-01-01

    Attention is given to recent advances in component technology for inert-gas thrusters. It is noted that the maximum electron emission of a hollow cathode with Ar can be increased 60-70% by using an enclosed keeper configuration. Operation with Ar but without emissive oxide has also been attained. A 30-cm thruster operated with Ar at moderate discharge voltages is found to give double-ion measurements consistent with a double-ion correlation developed earlier on the basis of 15-cm thruster data. An attempt is made to reduce discharge losses by biasing anodes positive of the discharge plasma. The performance of a single-grid ion-optics configuration is assessed. The ion impingement on the single-grid accelerator is found to approach the value expected from the projected blockage when the sheath thickness next to the accelerator is 2-3 times the aperture diameter.

  8. Improvement of Space Shuttle Main Engine Low Frequency Acceleration Measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stec, Robert C.

    1999-01-01

    The noise floor of low frequency acceleration data acquired on the Space Shuttle Main Engines is higher than desirable. Difficulties of acquiring high quality acceleration data on this engine are discussed. The approach presented in this paper for reducing the acceleration noise floor focuses on a search for an accelerometer more capable of measuring low frequency accelerations. An overview is given of the current measurement system used to acquire engine vibratory data. The severity of vibration, temperature, and moisture environments are considered. Vibratory measurements from both laboratory and rocket engine tests are presented.

  9. A Small Modular Laboratory Hall Effect Thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Ty Davis

    Electric propulsion technologies promise to revolutionize access to space, opening the door for mission concepts unfeasible by traditional propulsion methods alone. The Hall effect thruster is a relatively high thrust, moderate specific impulse electric propulsion device that belongs to the class of electrostatic thrusters. Hall effect thrusters benefit from an extensive flight history, and offer significant performance and cost advantages when compared to other forms of electric propulsion. Ongoing research on these devices includes the investigation of mechanisms that tend to decrease overall thruster efficiency, as well as the development of new techniques to extend operational lifetimes. This thesis is primarily concerned with the design and construction of a Small Modular Laboratory Hall Effect Thruster (SMLHET), and its operation on argon propellant gas. Particular attention was addressed at low-cost, modular design principles, that would facilitate simple replacement and modification of key thruster parts such as the magnetic circuit and discharge channel. This capability is intended to facilitate future studies of device physics such as anomalous electron transport and magnetic shielding of the channel walls, that have an impact on thruster performance and life. Preliminary results demonstrate SMLHET running on argon in a manner characteristic of Hall effect thrusters, additionally a power balance method was utilized to estimate thruster performance. It is expected that future thruster studies utilizing heavier though more expensive gases like xenon or krypton, will observe increased efficiency and stability.

  10. Improving the Total Impulse Capability of the NSTAR Ion Thruster With Thick-Accelerator-Grid Ion Optics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Soulas, George C.

    2001-01-01

    The results of performance tests with thick-accelerator-grid (TAG) ion optics are presented. TAG ion optics utilize a 50 percent thicker accelerator grid to double ion optics' service life. NSTAR ion optics were also tested to provide a baseline performance for comparison. Impingement-limited total voltages for the TAG ion optics were only 0 to 15 V higher than those of the NSTAR ion optics. Electron backstreaming limits for the TAG ion optics were 3 to 9 V higher than those for the NSTAR optics due to the increased accelerator grid thickness for the TAG ion optics. Screen grid ion transparencies for the TAG ion optics were only about 2 percent lower than those for the NSTAR optics, reflecting the lower physical screen grid open area fraction of the TAG ion optics. Accelerator currents for the TAG ion optics were 19 to 43 percent greater than those for the NSTAR ion optics due, in part, to a sudden increase in accelerator current during TAG ion optics' performance tests for unknown reasons and to the lower-than-nominal accelerator aperture diameters. Beam divergence half-angles that enclosed 95 percent of the total beam current and beam divergence thrust correction factors for the TAG ion optics were within 2 degrees and 1 percent, respectively, of those for the NSTAR ion optics.

  11. 3-D Simulations of NSTAR Ion Thruster Plasma Interactions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, J.; Brophy, J.; Polk, J.; Brinza, D.

    1996-01-01

    Described is a Particle-in-Cell with Monte Carlo Collision code developed to perform detailed three-dimensional ion thruster simulations. To capture the full kinetic behavior of ion thruster plumes, both the electrons and ions are treated as test particles. Simulation results are given of the NSTAR ion thruster under ground test and in space conditions. Numerical results are compared.

  12. Modeling Ion Beam Neutralization and Near-Thruster Plume Interactions

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2005-08-31

    desired because it leads to faster thruster erosion. Finally, the thruster was assumed to be a perfect conductor. Any absorbed electrons were re...NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT), http://space-power.grc.nasa.gov/ ppo /projects/next/accomp.html 13Chen, F. F., Introduction to Plasma Physics

  13. Space Launch System Accelerated Booster Development Cycle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arockiam, Nicole; Whittecar, William; Edwards, Stephen

    2012-01-01

    With the retirement of the Space Shuttle, NASA is seeking to reinvigorate the national space program and recapture the public s interest in human space exploration by developing missions to the Moon, near-earth asteroids, Lagrange points, Mars, and beyond. The would-be successor to the Space Shuttle, NASA s Constellation Program, planned to take humans back to the Moon by 2020, but due to budgetary constraints was cancelled in 2010 in search of a more "affordable, sustainable, and realistic" concept2. Following a number of studies, the much anticipated Space Launch System (SLS) was unveiled in September of 2011. The SLS core architecture consists of a cryogenic first stage with five Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs), and a cryogenic second stage using a new J-2X engine3. The baseline configuration employs two 5-segment solid rocket boosters to achieve a 70 metric ton payload capability, but a new, more capable booster system will be required to attain the goal of 130 metric tons to orbit. To this end, NASA s Marshall Space Flight Center recently released a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) entitled "Space Launch System (SLS) Advanced Booster Engineering Demonstration and/or Risk Reduction." The increased emphasis on affordability is evident in the language used in the NRA, which is focused on risk reduction "leading to an affordable Advanced Booster that meets the evolved capabilities of SLS" and "enabling competition" to "enhance SLS affordability. The purpose of the work presented in this paper is to perform an independent assessment of the elements that make up an affordable and realistic path forward for the SLS booster system, utilizing advanced design methods and technology evaluation techniques. The goal is to identify elements that will enable a more sustainable development program by exploring the trade space of heavy lift booster systems and focusing on affordability, operability, and reliability at the system and subsystem levels5. For this study

  14. Space experiments with particle accelerators: SEPAC

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burch, J. L.; Roberts, W. T.; Taylor, W. W. L.; Kawashima, N.; Marshall, J. A.; Moses, S. L.; Neubert, T.; Mende, S. B.; Choueiri, E. Y.

    1994-09-01

    The Space Experiments with Particle Accelarators (SEPAC), which flew on the ATLAS 1 mission, used new techniques to study natural phenomena in the Earth's upper atmosphere, ionosphere and magnetosphere by introducing energetic perturbations into the system from a high power electron beam with known characteristics. Properties of auroras were studied by directing the electron beam into the upper atmosphere while making measurements of optical emissions. Studies were also performed of the critical ionization velocity phenomenon.

  15. A particle accelerator employing transient space charge potentials

    DOEpatents

    Post, R.F.

    1988-02-25

    The invention provides an accelerator for ions and charged particles. The plasma is generated and confined in a magnetic mirror field. The electrons of the plasma are heated to high temperatures. A series of local coils are placed along the axis of the magnetic mirror field. As an ion or particle beam is directed along the axis in sequence the coils are rapidly pulsed creating a space charge to accelerate and focus the beam of ions or charged particles. 3 figs.

  16. CubeSat Packaged Electrospray Thruster Evaluation for Enhanced Operationally Responsive Space Capabilities

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-03-24

    These satellites can perform many missions including: close formation flying with other CubeSats, and possible docking with a large satellite to...in 2008 to fly on the NASA LISA mission. LISA, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, is a joint NASA–ESA mission to observe astrophysical and...for mass spectrometry of large organic molecules popularized the technology and made components such as needles or other components readily

  17. High Power MPD Thruster Performance Measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    LaPointe, Michael R.; Strzempkowski, Eugene; Pencil, Eric

    2004-01-01

    High power magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters are being developed as cost effective propulsion systems for cargo transport to lunar and Mars bases, crewed missions to Mars and the outer planets, and robotic deep space exploration missions. Electromagnetic MPD thrusters have demonstrated, at the laboratory level, the ability to process megawatts of electrical power while providing significantly higher thrust densities than electrostatic electric propulsion systems. The ability to generate higher thrust densities permits a reduction in the number of thrusters required to perform a given mission, and alleviates the system complexity associated with multiple thruster arrays. The specific impulse of an MPD thruster can be optimized to meet given mission requirements, from a few thousand seconds with heavier gas propellants up to 10,000 seconds with hydrogen propellant. In support of programs envisioned by the NASA Office of Exploration Systems, Glenn Research Center is developing and testing quasi-steady MW-class MPD thrusters as a prelude to steady state high power thruster tests. This paper provides an overview of the GRC high power pulsed thruster test facility, and presents preliminary performance data for a quasi-steady baseline MPD thruster geometry.

  18. Rayleigh-Taylor mixing with space-dependent acceleration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abarzhi, Snezhana

    2016-11-01

    We extend the momentum model to describe Rayleigh-Taylor (RT) mixing driven by a space-dependent acceleration. The acceleration is a power-law function of space coordinate, similarly to astrophysical and plasma fusion applications. In RT flow the dynamics of a fluid parcel is driven by a balance per unit mass of the rates of momentum gain and loss. We find analytical solutions in the cases of balanced and imbalanced gains and losses, and identify their dependence on the acceleration exponent. The existence is shown of two typical sub-regimes of self-similar RT mixing - the acceleration-driven Rayleigh-Taylor-type mixing and dissipation-driven Richtymer-Meshkov-type mixing with the latter being in general non-universal. Possible scenarios are proposed for transitions from the balanced dynamics to the imbalanced self-similar dynamics. Scaling and correlations properties of RT mixing are studied on the basis of dimensional analysis. Departures are outlined of RT dynamics with space-dependent acceleration from canonical cases of homogeneous turbulence as well as blast waves with first and second kind self-similarity. The work is supported by the US National Science Foundation.

  19. Space acceleration measurement system triaxial sensor head error budget

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas, John E.; Peters, Rex B.; Finley, Brian D.

    1992-01-01

    The objective of the Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) is to measure and record the microgravity environment for a given experiment aboard the Space Shuttle. To accomplish this, SAMS uses remote triaxial sensor heads (TSH) that can be mounted directly on or near an experiment. The errors of the TSH are reduced by calibrating it before and after each flight. The associated error budget for the calibration procedure is discussed here.

  20. Space experiments with particle accelerators (SEPAC): Description of instrumentation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Taylor, W. W. L.; Roberts, W. T.; Reasoner, D. L.; Chappell, C. R.; Baker, B. B.; Burch, J. L.; Gibson, W. C.; Black, R. K.; Tomlinson, W. M.; Bounds, J. R.

    1987-01-01

    SEPAC (Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators) flew on Spacelab 1 (SL 1) in November and December 1983. SEPAC is a joint U.S.-Japan investigation of the interaction of electron, plasma, and neutral beams with the ionosphere, atmosphere and magnetosphere. It is scheduled to fly again on Atlas 1 in August 1990. On SL 1, SEPAC used an electron accelerator, a plasma accelerator, and neutral gas source as active elements and an array of diagnostics to investigate the interactions. For Atlas 1, the plasma accelerator will be replaced by a plasma contactor and charge collection devices to improve vehicle charging meutralization. This paper describes the SEPAC instrumentation in detail for the SL 1 and Atlas 1 flights and includes a bibliography of SEPAC papers.

  1. High-Power Electron Accelerators for Space (and other) Applications

    SciTech Connect

    Nguyen, Dinh Cong; Lewellen, John W.

    2016-05-23

    This is a presentation on high-power electron accelerators for space and other applications. The main points covered are: electron beams for space applications, new designs of RF accelerators, high-power high-electron mobility transistors (HEMT) testing, and Li-ion battery design. In summary, the authors have considered a concept of 1-MeV electron accelerator that can operate up to several seconds. This concept can be extended to higher energy to produce higher beam power. Going to higher beam energy requires adding more cavities and solid-state HEMT RF power devices. The commercial HEMT have been tested for frequency response and RF output power (up to 420 W). Finally, the authors are testing these HEMT into a resonant load and planning for an electron beam test in FY17.

  2. Duration test of an annular colloid thruster.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Perel, J.; Mahoney, J. F.; Daley, H. L.

    1972-01-01

    An annular colloid thruster was continuously operated for 1023 hours. Performance was stable with no sparking and negligible drain currents observed. An average thrust of 25.1 micropounds and an average specific impulse of 1160 seconds were obtained at an accelerating voltage of 15 k he thruster exhaust beam was continuously neutralized using electrons and electrostatic vectoring was demonstrated periodically. The only clear trend with time was an increase in specific impulse during the last third of the test period. From these results the thruster lifetime was estimated to be over an order of magnitude greater than the test duration.

  3. Recent work on an RF ion thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, R. Q.; Nakanishi, S.

    1981-01-01

    An experimental investigation of an rf ion thruster using an immersed coupler in an argon discharge is reported. The conical coil, used to couple rf power into the discharge, is placed inside the discharge vessel. The discharge was self-sustained by 100-150 MHz rf power at low environmental pressures. The ion extraction was accomplished by conventional accelerated grid optics from an unoptimized 8 cm diameter ion thruster.

  4. Stationary plasma thruster evaluation in Russia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brophy, John R.

    1992-01-01

    A team of electric propulsion specialists from U.S. government laboratories experimentally evaluated the performance of a 1.35-kW Stationary Plasma Thruster (SPT) at the Scientific Research Institute of Thermal Processes in Moscow and at 'Fakel' Enterprise in Kaliningrad, Russia. The evaluation was performed using a combination of U.S. and Russian instrumentation and indicated that the actual performance of the thruster appears to be close to the claimed performance. The claimed performance was a specific impulse of 16,000 m/s, an overall efficiency of 50 percent, and an input power of 1.35 kW, and is superior to the performance of western electric thrusters at this specific impulse. The unique performance capabilities of the stationary plasma thruster, along with claims that more than fifty of the 660-W thrusters have been flown in space on Russian spacecraft, attracted the interest of western spacecraft propulsion specialists. A two-phase program was initiated to evaluate the stationary plasma thruster performance and technology. The first phase of this program, to experimentally evaluate the performance of the thruster with U.S. instrumentation in Russia, is described in this report. The second phase objective is to determine the suitability of the stationary plasma thruster technology for use on western spacecraft. This will be accomplished by bringing stationary plasma thrusters to the U.S. for quantification of thruster erosion rates, measurements of the performance variation as a function of long-duration operation, quantification of the exhaust beam divergence angle, and determination of the non-propellant efflux from the thruster. These issues require quantification in order to maximize the probability for user application of the SPT technology and significantly increase the propulsion capabilities of U.S. spacecraft.

  5. Scale Model Thruster Acoustic Measurement Results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vargas, Magda; Kenny, R. Jeremy

    2013-01-01

    The Space Launch System (SLS) Scale Model Acoustic Test (SMAT) is a 5% scale representation of the SLS vehicle, mobile launcher, tower, and launch pad trench. The SLS launch propulsion system will be comprised of the Rocket Assisted Take-Off (RATO) motors representing the solid boosters and 4 Gas Hydrogen (GH2) thrusters representing the core engines. The GH2 thrusters were tested in a horizontal configuration in order to characterize their performance. In Phase 1, a single thruster was fired to determine the engine performance parameters necessary for scaling a single engine. A cluster configuration, consisting of the 4 thrusters, was tested in Phase 2 to integrate the system and determine their combined performance. Acoustic and overpressure data was collected during both test phases in order to characterize the system's acoustic performance. The results from the single thruster and 4- thuster system are discussed and compared.

  6. Cathode-less gridded ion thrusters for small satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aanesland, Ane; Rafalskyi, Dmytro

    2015-09-01

    We present here a new gridded ion thruster, called Neptune, that operates with only one Radio Frequency (RF) power source for ionization, ion acceleration and beam neutralization in addition to solid iodine as propellant. Thus significant simplifications, over excising gridded thrusters, might allow downscaling to satellites as small as 6 kg. The combined acceleration and neutralization is achieved by applying an RF voltage to the grid system via a blocking capacitor. As for similar RF capacitive systems, a self-bias is formed such that ions are continuously accelerated while electrons are emitted in brief instants within the RF sheath collapse. Moreover, the RF nature of the acceleration system leads to a higher space charge limited current extracted across the grids compared to classical DC operated systems. Measurements of the ion and electron energy distribution functions in the plasma plume show that in addition to the directed beam of ions, the electrons are also anisotropic resulting in a flowing plasma, rather than a beam of positive ions. Experimental characterization of this RF accelerated plume is detailed. This work received financial state aid managed by the ANR as part of the program ``Investissements d'avenir'' under the reference ANR-11-IDEX-0003-02 (Project MINIATURE).

  7. Developing a scalable inert gas ion thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    James, E.; Ramsey, W.; Steiner, G.

    1982-01-01

    Analytical studies to identify and then design a high performance scalable ion thruster operating with either argon or xenon for use in large space systems are presented. The magnetoelectrostatic containment concept is selected for its efficient ion generation capabilities. The iterative nature of the bounding magnetic fields allows the designer to scale both the diameter and length, so that the thruster can be adapted to spacecraft growth over time. Three different thruster assemblies (conical, hexagonal and hemispherical) are evaluated for a 12 cm diameter thruster and performance mapping of the various thruster configurations shows that conical discharge chambers produce the most efficient discharge operation, achieving argon efficiencies of 50-80% mass utilization at 240-310 eV/ion and xenon efficiencies of 60-97% at 240-280 eV/ion. Preliminary testing of the large 30 cm thruster, using argon propellant, indicates a 35% improvement over the 12 cm thruster in mass utilization efficiency. Since initial performance is found to be better than projected, a larger 50 cm thruster is already in the development stage.

  8. NEXT Thruster Component Verification Testing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pinero, Luis R.; Sovey, James S.

    2007-01-01

    Component testing is a critical part of thruster life validation activities under NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) project testing. The high voltage propellant isolators were selected for design verification testing. Even though they are based on a heritage design, design changes were made because the isolators will be operated under different environmental conditions including temperature, voltage, and pressure. The life test of two NEXT isolators was therefore initiated and has accumulated more than 10,000 hr of operation. Measurements to date indicate only a negligibly small increase in leakage current. The cathode heaters were also selected for verification testing. The technology to fabricate these heaters, developed for the International Space Station plasma contactor hollow cathode assembly, was transferred to Aerojet for the fabrication of the NEXT prototype model ion thrusters. Testing the contractor-fabricated heaters is necessary to validate fabrication processes for high reliability heaters. This paper documents the status of the propellant isolator and cathode heater tests.

  9. Direct longitudinal laser acceleration of electrons in free space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carbajo, Sergio; Nanni, Emilio A.; Wong, Liang Jie; Moriena, Gustavo; Keathley, Phillip D.; Laurent, Guillaume; Miller, R. J. Dwayne; Kärtner, Franz X.

    2016-02-01

    Compact laser-driven accelerators are pursued heavily worldwide because they make novel methods and tools invented at national laboratories widely accessible in science, health, security, and technology [V. Malka et al., Principles and applications of compact laser-plasma accelerators, Nat. Phys. 4, 447 (2008)]. Current leading laser-based accelerator technologies [S. P. D. Mangles et al., Monoenergetic beams of relativistic electrons from intense laser-plasma interactions, Nature (London) 431, 535 (2004); T. Toncian et al., Ultrafast laser-driven microlens to focus and energy-select mega-electron volt protons, Science 312, 410 (2006); S. Tokita et al. Single-shot ultrafast electron diffraction with a laser-accelerated sub-MeV electron pulse, Appl. Phys. Lett. 95, 111911 (2009)] rely on a medium to assist the light to particle energy transfer. The medium imposes material limitations or may introduce inhomogeneous fields [J. R. Dwyer et al., Femtosecond electron diffraction: "Making the molecular movie,", Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 364, 741 (2006)]. The advent of few cycle ultraintense radially polarized lasers [S. Carbajo et al., Efficient generation of ultraintense few-cycle radially polarized laser pulses, Opt. Lett. 39, 2487 (2014)] has ushered in a novel accelerator concept [L. J. Wong and F. X. Kärtner, Direct acceleration of an electron in infinite vacuum by a pulsed radially polarized laser beam, Opt. Express 18, 25035 (2010); F. Pierre-Louis et al. Direct-field electron acceleration with ultrafast radially polarized laser beams: Scaling laws and optimization, J. Phys. B 43, 025401 (2010); Y. I. Salamin, Electron acceleration from rest in vacuum by an axicon Gaussian laser beam, Phys. Rev. A 73, 043402 (2006); C. Varin and M. Piché, Relativistic attosecond electron pulses from a free-space laser-acceleration scheme, Phys. Rev. E 74, 045602 (2006); A. Sell and F. X. Kärtner, Attosecond electron bunches accelerated and compressed by radially polarized laser

  10. Ram accelerator direct space launch system - New concepts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bogdanoff, David W.

    1992-01-01

    The ram accelerator, a chemically driven ramjet-in-tube device is a new option for direct launch of acceleration-insensitive payloads into earth orbit. The projectile is the centerbody of a ramjet and travels through a tube filled with a premixed fuel-oxidizer mixture. The tube acts as the cowl of the ramjet. A number of new concepts for a ram accelerator space launch system are presented. The velocity and acceleration capabilities of a number of ram accelerator drive modes, including several new modes, are given. Passive (fin) stabilization during atmospheric transit is investigated and found to be promising. Gasdynamic heating in-tube and during atmospheric transit is studied; the former is found to be severe, but may be alleviated by the selection of the most suitable drive modes, transpiration cooling, or a hydrogen gas core in the launch tube. To place the payload in earth orbit, scenarios using one impulse and three impulses (with an aeropass) and a new scenario involving an auxiliary vehicle are studied. The auxiliary vehicle scenario is found to be competitive regarding payload, and requires a much simpler projectile, but has the disadvantage of requiring the auxiliary vehicle.

  11. Microgravity Acceleration Environment of the International Space Station (panel)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DeLombard, Richard; Hrovat, Kenneth; Kelly, Eric; McPherson, Kevin; Foster, William M.; Schafer, Craig P.

    2001-01-01

    This paper examines the microgravity environment provided to the early science experiments by the International Space Station vehicle which is under construction. The microgravity environment will be compared with predicted levels for this stage of assembly. Included are initial analyses of the environment and preliminary identification of some sources of accelerations. Features of the operations of the accelerometer instruments, the data processing system, and data dissemination to users are also described.

  12. Inert gas thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kaufman, H. R.

    1976-01-01

    Inert gases are of interest as possible alternatives to the usual electric thruster propellants of mercury and cesium. The multipole discharge chamber investigated was shown capable of low discharge chamber losses and flat ion beam profiles with a minimum of optimization. Minimum discharge losses were 200 to 250 eV/ion for xenon and 300 to 350 eV/ion for argon, while flatness parameters in the plane of the accelerator grid were 0.85 to 0.95. The design used employs low magnetic field strengths, which permits the use of sheet-metal parts. The corner problem of the discharge chamber was resolved with recessed corner anodes, which approximately equalized both the magnetic field above the anodes and the electron currents to these anodes. Argon hollow cathodes were investigated at currents up to about 5 amperes using internal thermionic emitters. Cathode chamber diameter optimized in the 1.0 to 2.5 cm range, while orifices diameter optimized in the 0.5 to 5 mm range. The use of a bias voltage for the internal emitter extended the operating range and facilitated starting. The masses of 15 and 30 cm flight type thrusters were estimated at about 4.2 and 10.8 kg.

  13. Effect of a Second, Parallel Capacitor on the Performance of a Pulse Inductive Plasma Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polzin, Kurt A.; Balla, Joseph V.

    2010-01-01

    Pulsed inductive plasma accelerators are electrodeless space propulsion devices where a capacitor is charged to an initial voltage and is then discharged through an inductive coil that couples energy into the propellant, ionizing and accelerating it to produce thrust. A model that employs a set of circuit equations (as illustrated in Fig. 1a) coupled to a one-dimensional momentum equation has been previously used by Lovberg and Dailey [1] and Polzin et al. [2-4] to model the plasma acceleration process in pulsed inductive thrusters. In this paper an extra capacitor, inductor, and resistor are added to the system in the manner illustrated in the schematic shown in Fig. 1b. If the second capacitor has a smaller value than the initially charged capacitor, it can serve to increase the current rise rate through the inductive coil. Increasing the current rise rate should serve to better ionize the propellant. The equation of motion is solved to find the effect of an increased current rise rate on the acceleration process. We examine the tradeoffs between enhancing the breakdown process (increasing current rise rate) and altering the plasma acceleration process. These results provide insight into the performance of modified circuits in an inductive thruster, revealing how this design permutation can affect an inductive thruster's performance.

  14. Electromagnetic thrusters for spacecraft prime propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rudolph, L. K.; King, D. Q.

    1984-01-01

    The benefits of electromagnetic propulsion systems for the next generation of US spacecraft are discussed. Attention is given to magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) and arc jet thrusters, which form a subset of a larger group of electromagnetic propulsion systems including pulsed plasma thrusters, Hall accelerators, and electromagnetic launchers. Mission/system study results acquired over the last twenty years suggest that for future prime propulsion applications high-power self-field MPD thrusters and low-power arc jets have the greatest potential of all electromagnetic thruster systems. Some of the benefits they are expected to provide include major reductions in required launch mass compared to chemical propulsion systems (particularly in geostationary orbit transfer) and lower life-cycle costs (almost 50 percent less). Detailed schematic drawings are provided which describe some possible configurations for the various systems.

  15. Requirements for Simulating Space Radiation With Particle Accelerators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schimmerling, W.; Wilson, J. W.; Cucinotta, F.; Kim, M-H Y.

    2004-01-01

    Interplanetary space radiation consists of fully ionized nuclei of atomic elements with high energy for which only the few lowest energy ions can be stopped in shielding materials. The health risk from exposure to these ions and their secondary radiations generated in the materials of spacecraft and planetary surface enclosures is a major limiting factor in the management of space radiation risk. Accurate risk prediction depends on a knowledge of basic radiobiological mechanisms and how they are modified in the living tissues of a whole organism. To a large extent, this knowledge is not currently available. It is best developed at ground-based laboratories, using particle accelerator beams to simulate the components of space radiation. Different particles, in different energy regions, are required to study different biological effects, including beams of argon and iron nuclei in the energy range 600 to several thousand MeV/nucleon and carbon beams in the energy range of approximately 100 MeV/nucleon to approximately 1000 MeV/nucleon. Three facilities, one each in the United States, in Germany and in Japan, currently have the partial capability to satisfy these constraints. A facility has been proposed using the Brookhaven National Laboratory Booster Synchrotron in the United States; in conjunction with other on-site accelerators, it will be able to provide the full range of heavy ion beams and energies required. International cooperation in the use of these facilities is essential to the development of a safe international space program.

  16. Effect of Anode Dielectric Coating on Hall Thruster Operation

    SciTech Connect

    L. Dorf; Y. Raitses; N.J. Fisch; V. Semenov

    2003-10-20

    An interesting phenomenon observed in the near-anode region of a Hall thruster is that the anode fall changes from positive to negative upon removal of the dielectric coating, which is produced on the anode surface during the normal course of Hall thruster operation. The anode fall might affect the thruster lifetime and acceleration efficiency. The effect of the anode coating on the anode fall is studied experimentally using both biased and emissive probes. Measurements of discharge current oscillations indicate that thruster operation is more stable with the coated anode.

  17. Second Magnetoplasmadynamic Thruster Workshop

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1992-01-01

    The meeting focused on progress made in establishing performance and lifetime expectations of magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters as functions of power, propellant, and design; models for the plasma flow and electrode components; viability and transportability of quasi-steady thruster testing; engineering requirements for high power, long life thrusters; and facilities and their requirements for performance and life testing.

  18. Human Outer Solar System Exploration via Q-Thruster Technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Joosten, B. Kent; White, Harold G.

    2014-01-01

    Propulsion technology development efforts at the NASA Johnson Space Center continue to advance the understanding of the quantum vacuum plasma thruster (QThruster), a form of electric propulsion. Through the use of electric and magnetic fields, a Q-thruster pushes quantum particles (electrons/positrons) in one direction, while the Qthruster recoils to conserve momentum. This principle is similar to how a submarine uses its propeller to push water in one direction, while the submarine recoils to conserve momentum. Based on laboratory results, it appears that continuous specific thrust levels of 0.4 - 4.0 N/kWe are achievable with essentially no onboard propellant consumption. To evaluate the potential of this technology, a mission analysis tool was developed utilizing the Generalized Reduced Gradient non-linear parameter optimization engine contained in the Microsoft Excel® platform. This tool allowed very rapid assessments of "Q-Ship" minimum time transfers from earth to the outer planets and back utilizing parametric variations in thrust acceleration while enforcing constraints on planetary phase angles and minimum heliocentric distances. A conservative Q-Thruster specific thrust assumption (0.4 N/kWe) combined with "moderate" levels of space nuclear power (1 - 2 MWe) and vehicle specific mass (45 - 55 kg/kWe) results in continuous milli-g thrust acceleration, opening up realms of human spaceflight performance completely unattainable by any current systems or near-term proposed technologies. Minimum flight times to Mars are predicted to be as low as 75 days, but perhaps more importantly new "retro-phase" and "gravity-augmented" trajectory shaping techniques were revealed which overcome adverse planetary phasing and allow virtually unrestricted departure and return opportunities. Even more impressively, the Jovian and Saturnian systems would be opened up to human exploration with round-trip times of 21 and 32 months respectively including 6 to 12 months of

  19. Ion Engine and Hall Thruster Development at the NASA Glenn Research Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Domonkos, Matthew T.; Patterson, Michael J.; Jankovsky, Robert S.

    2002-01-01

    NASA's Glenn Research Center has been selected to lead development of NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) system. The central feature of the NEXT system is an electric propulsion thruster (EPT) that inherits the knowledge gained through the NSTAR thruster that successfully propelled Deep Space 1 to asteroid Braille and comet Borrelly, while significantly increasing the thruster power level and making improvements in performance parameters associated with NSTAR. The EPT concept under development has a 40 cm beam diameter, twice the effective area of the Deep-Space 1 thruster, while maintaining a relatively-small volume. It incorporates mechanical features and operating conditions to maximize the design heritage established by the flight NSTAR 30 cm engine, while incorporating new technology where warranted to extend the power and throughput capability. The NASA Hall thruster program currently supports a number of tasks related to high power thruster development for a number of customers including the Energetics Program (formerly called the Space-based Program), the Space Solar Power Program, and the In-space Propulsion Program. In program year 2002, two tasks were central to the NASA Hall thruster program: 1.) the development of a laboratory Hall thruster capable of providing high thrust at high power; 2.) investigations into operation of Hall thrusters at high specific impulse. In addition to these two primary thruster development activities, there are a number of other on-going activities supported by the NASA Hall thruster program, These additional activities are related to issues such as thruster lifetime and spacecraft integration.

  20. The PEGASES gridded ion-ion thruster physics, performance and predictions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aanesland, Ane; Rafalskyi, Dmytro; Bredin, Jerome; Grondein, Pascaline; Oudini, Noureddine; Chabert, Pascal

    2013-09-01

    The PEGASES (Plasma propulsion with Electronegative gases) thruster is a gridded ion thruster that accelerates alternately positively and negatively charged ions to provide thrust. Over the last years various prototypes have been tested, adequate diagnostics have been developed and analytical models and simulations are made to better understand and control the physics involved. The plasma density in the region of the ion-ion plasma predicts that the performance of the PEGASES thruster can be comparable to existing thrusters on the market. We have recently provided the first experimental proof-of-concept, accelerating alternately positive and negative ions from an ion-ion plasma within a 10 kHz cycle. Here we present the state of the art in the PEGASES development and discuss the various physics involved and its possible future in space. This work is funded by EADS Astrium, ANR (Agence nationale de la recherche) under contract ANR-11-BS09-040 and FP7 under contract PIIF-GA-2012-326054.

  1. Titanium Optics for Ion Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Soulas, George C.; Haag, Thomas W.; Patterson, Michael J.; Rawlin, Vincent K.

    1999-01-01

    Ion thruster total impulse capability is limited, in part, by accelerator grid sputter erosion. A development effort was initiated to identify a material with a lower accelerator grid volumetric sputter erosion rate than molybdenum, but that could utilize the present NSTAR thruster grid design and fabrication techniques to keep development costs low, and perform as well as molybdenum optics. After comparing the sputter erosion rates of several atomic materials to that of molybdenum at accelerator voltages, titanium was found to offer a 45% reduction in volumetric erosion rates. To ensure that screen grid sputter erosion rates are not higher at discharge chamber potentials, titanium and molybdenum sputter erosion rates were measured at these potentials. Preliminary results showed only a slightly higher volumetric erosion rate for titanium, so that screen grid erosion is insignificant. A number of material, thermal, and mechanical properties were also examined to identify any fabrication, launch environment, and thruster operation issues. Several titanium grid sets were successfully fabricated. A titanium grid set was mounted onto an NSTAR 30 cm engineering model ion thruster and tested to determine optics performance. The titanium optics operated successfully over the entire NSTAR power range of 0.5 to 2.3 kW. Differences in impingement-limited perveances and electron backstreaming limits were found to be due to a larger cold gap for the titanium optics. Discharge losses for titanium grids were lower than those for molybdenum, likely due to a slightly larger titanium screen grid open area fraction. Radial distributions of beam current density with titanium optics were very similar to those with molybdenum optics at all power levels. Temporal electron backstreaming limit measurements showed that titanium optics achieved thermal equilibrium faster than molybdenum optics.

  2. Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS)/Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment (OARE)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hakimzadeh, Roshanak

    1998-01-01

    The Life and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS) payload flew on the Orbiter Columbia on mission STS-78 from June 20th to July 7th, 1996. The LMS payload on STS-78 was dedicated to life sciences and microgravity experiments. Two accelerometer systems managed by the NASA Lewis Research Center (LERC) flew to support these experiments, namely the Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment (OARE) and the Space Acceleration Measurements System (SAMS). In addition, the Microgravity Measurement Assembly (NOAA), managed by the European Space Research and Technology Center (ESA/ESTEC), and sponsored by NASA, collected acceleration data in support of the experiments on-board the LMS mission. OARE downlinked real-time quasi-steady acceleration data, which was provided to the investigators. The SAMS recorded higher frequency data on-board for post-mission analysis. The MMA downlinked real-time quasi-steady as well as higher frequency acceleration data, which was provided to the investigators. The Principal Investigator Microgravity Services (PIMS) project at NASA LERC supports principal investigators of microgravity experiments as they evaluate the effects of varying acceleration levels on their experiments. A summary report was prepared by PIMS to furnish interested experiment investigators with a guide to evaluate the acceleration environment during STS-78, and as a means of identifying areas which require further study. The summary report provides an overview of the STS-78 mission, describes the accelerometer systems flown on this mission, discusses some specific analyses of the accelerometer data in relation to the various activities which occurred during the mission, and presents plots resulting from these analyses as a snapshot of the environment during the mission. Numerous activities occurred during the STS-78 mission that are of interest to the low-gravity community. Specific activities of interest during this mission were crew exercise, radiator deployment, Vernier Reaction

  3. NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) Project Qualification Propellant Throughput Milestone: Performance, Erosion, and Thruster Service Life Prediction After 450 kg

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herman, Daniel A.

    2010-01-01

    The NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) program is tasked with significantly improving and extending the capabilities of current state-of-the-art NSTAR thruster. The service life capability of the NEXT ion thruster is being assessed by thruster wear test and life-modeling of critical thruster components, such as the ion optics and cathodes. The NEXT Long-Duration Test (LDT) was initiated to validate and qualify the NEXT thruster propellant throughput capability. The NEXT thruster completed the primary goal of the LDT; namely to demonstrate the project qualification throughput of 450 kg by the end of calendar year 2009. The NEXT LDT has demonstrated 28,500 hr of operation and processed 466 kg of xenon throughput--more than double the throughput demonstrated by the NSTAR flight-spare. Thruster performance changes have been consistent with a priori predictions. Thruster erosion has been minimal and consistent with the thruster service life assessment, which predicts the first failure mode at greater than 750 kg throughput. The life-limiting failure mode for NEXT is predicted to be loss of structural integrity of the accelerator grid due to erosion by charge-exchange ions.

  4. Investigation of the Effects of Facility Background Pressure on the Performance and Voltage-Current Characteristics of the High Voltage Hall Accelerator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kamhawi, Hani; Huang, Wensheng; Haag, Thomas; Spektor, Rostislav

    2014-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate In-Space Propulsion Technology office is sponsoring NASA Glenn Research Center to develop a 4 kW-class Hall thruster propulsion system for implementation in NASA science missions. A study was conducted to assess the impact of varying the facility background pressure on the High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAc) thruster performance and voltage-current characteristics. This present study evaluated the HiVHAc thruster performance in the lowest attainable background pressure condition at NASA GRC Vacuum Facility 5 to best simulate space-like conditions. Additional tests were performed at selected thruster operating conditions to investigate and elucidate the underlying physics that change during thruster operation at elevated facility background pressure. Tests were performed at background pressure conditions that are three and ten times higher than the lowest realized background pressure. Results indicated that the thruster discharge specific impulse and efficiency increased with elevated facility background pressure. The voltage-current profiles indicated a narrower stable operating region with increased background pressure. Experimental observations of the thruster operation indicated that increasing the facility background pressure shifted the ionization and acceleration zones upstream towards the thruster's anode. Future tests of the HiVHAc thruster are planned at background pressure conditions that are expected to be two to three times lower than what was achieved during this test campaign. These tests will not only assess the impact of reduced facility background pressure on thruster performance, voltage-current characteristics, and plume properties; but will also attempt to quantify the magnitude of the ionization and acceleration zones upstream shifting as a function of increased background pressure.

  5. Ram accelerator direct launch system for space cargo

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1987-01-01

    A new method of efficiently accelerating relatively large masses (up to several metric tons) to velocities of 0.6 km/sec up to 12 km/sec using chemical energy has been developed. The vehicle travels through a tube filled with a premixed gaseous fuel and oxidizer mixture. There is no propellant on-board the vehicle. The tube acts as the outer cowling of a ram jet and the energy release process travels with the vehicle. The ballistic efficiency remains high up to extremely high velocities and the acceleration can be maintained at a nearly constant level. Five modes of ram accelerator operation have been investigated; these modes differ primarily in the method of chemical heat release and the operational velocity range, and include two subsonic combustion modes (one of which involves thermally choke a combustion behind the vehicle) and three detonation drive modes. These modes of propulsion are capable of efficient acceleration in the range of 0.6-12 km/sec, although aerodynamic heating becomes severe above about 8 km/sec. Experiments carried out to date at the University of Washington up to 2 km/sec have established proof of principle of the ram accelerator concept and have shown close agreement between predicted and measured performance. A launch system capable of delivering two metric tons into low earth orbit was selected for the purposes of the present study. The preliminary analysis indicates that the overall dimensions of a restricted acceleration (less than approx. 1000 g) launch facility would require a tube 1 m in diameter, with an overall length of approximately 4 km. As in any direct launch scheme, a small on-board rocket is required to circularize the otherwise highly elliptical orbit which intersects the Earth. Various orbital insertion scenarios have been explored for the case of a 9 km/sec ram accelerator launch. These include direct insertion through a single circularization maneuver (i.e., on rocket burn), insertion involving two burns, and a

  6. Design and Preliminary Testing Plan of Electronegative Ion Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schloeder, Natalie R.; Liu, Thomas M.; Walker, Mitchell L. R.; Polzin, Kurt A.; Dankanich, John W.; Aanesland, Ane

    2014-01-01

    Electronegative ion thrusters are a new iteration of existing gridded ion thruster technology differentiated by their ability to produce and accelerate both positive and negative ions. The primary motivations for electronegative ion thruster development include the elimination of lifetime-limiting cathodes from a thruster system and the ability to generate appreciable thrust through the acceleration of both positive or negative-charged ions. Proof-of-concept testing of the PEGASES (Plasma Propulsion with Electronegative GASES) thruster demonstrated the production of positively and negatively-charged ions (argon and sulfur hexafluoride, respectively) in an RF discharge and the subsequent acceleration of each charge species through the application of a time-varying electric field to a pair of metallic grids similar to those found in gridded ion thrusters. Leveraging the knowledge gained through experiments with the PEGASES I and II prototypes, the MINT (Marshall's Ion-ioN Thruster) is being developed to provide a platform for additional electronegative thruster proof-of-concept validation testing including direct thrust measurements. The design criteria used in designing the MINT are outlined and the planned tests that will be used to characterize the performance of the prototype are described.

  7. Inert gas thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kaufman, H. R.

    1978-01-01

    Inert gas thrusters have continued to be of interest for space propulsion applications. Xenon is of interest in that its physical characteristics are well suited to propulsion. High atomic weight and low tankage fraction were major factors in this choice. If a large amount of propellant was required, so that cryogenic storage was practical, argon is a more economical alternative. Argon was also the preferred propellant for ground applications of thruster technology, such as sputter etching and deposition. Additional magnetic field measurements are reported. These measurements should be of use in magnetic field design. The diffusion of electrons through the magnetic field above multipole anodes was studied in detail. The data were consistent with Bohm diffusion across a magnetic field. The theory based on Bohm diffusion was simple and easily used for diffusion calculations. Limited startup data were obtained for multipole discharge chambers. These data were obtained with refractory cathodes, but should be useful in predicting the upper limits for starting with hollow cathodes.

  8. Plume and Discharge Plasma Measurements of an NSTAR-type Ion Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Foster, John E; Soulas, George C.; Patterson, Michael J.

    2000-01-01

    The success of the NASA Deep Space I spacecraft has demonstrated that ion propulsion is a viable option for deep space science missions. More aggressive missions such as Comet Nuclear Sample Return and Europa lander will require higher power, higher propellant throughput and longer thruster lifetime than the NASA Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Application Readiness (NSTAR) engine. Presented here are thruster plume and discharge plasma measurements of an NSTAR-type thruster operated from 0.5 kW to 5 kW. From Faraday plume sweeps, beam divergence was determined. From Langmuir probe plume measurements on centerline, low energy ion production on axis due to charge-exchange and direct ionization was assessed. Additionally, plume plasma potential measurements made on axis were used to determine the upper energy limits at which ions created on centerline could be radially accelerated. Wall probes flush-mounted to the thruster discharge chamber anode were used to assess plasma conditions. Langmuir probe measurements at the wall indicated significant differences in the electron temperature in the cylindrical and conical sections of the discharge chamber.

  9. Uranium ARC Fission Reactor for Space Power and Propulsion

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1992-03-01

    thruster or MHD accelerator/generator. Uranium arc technology is being developed for use in space nuclear thermal and electric propulsion reactors. In...specific impulse propulsion or ultrahigh temperature power conversion. Fission events in the nuclear arc plasma provide for additional dissociation and...I Technical Objectives 3 2. URANIUM ARC FISSION REACTOR CONCEPT AND NUCLEAR -AUGMENTED THRUSTER CONCEPT 4 2.1 Physics Basis 4 2.2 Uranium Arc

  10. Low-Isp derated ion thruster operation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, Michael J.

    1992-01-01

    The performance and lifetime expectations of 30 cm xenon ion thruster technology at low values of specific impulse were evaluated, with emphasis on 1000-2500 s operation. Power levels of up to 2.0 kW, appropriate for auxiliary and orbit maneuvering propulsion, were processed at thrust-to-power ratios up to 57 mN/kW. These tests were conducted using a derated 30 cm ion thruster with high-perveance design two-grid ion optics with xenon propellent. Lifetime projections were made based on a simple analysis of critical component erosion rates, and it was found that a strong correlation exists with the ratio of the specific impulse-to-input power. Under all operating conditions for which the projected thruster lifetime is less than 10,000 hrs, the life-limiting component of this technology is erosion of the accelerator grid due to charge-exchange ions. The use of alternative grid materials such as carbon is estimated to increase useful thruster lifetimes by as much as an order of magnitude and may enable long-life high thrust-density, sub-2500 s Isp operation. The performance and life of the derated thruster appears similar to that of the Russian SPT-100 thruster in the 1.0-2.0 kW, 1600-2000 s operational envelope.

  11. An Innovative Manufacturing of CCC Ion Thruster Grids by North Carolina A&T's RTM Carbon/Carbon Process

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haag, Thomas W. (Technical Monitor); Shivakumar, Kunigal N.

    2003-01-01

    Electric ion thrusters are the preferred engines for deep space missions, because of very high specific impulse. The ion engine consists of screen and accelerator grids containing thousands of concentric very small holes. The xenon gas accelerates between the two grids, thus developing the impulse force. The dominant life-limiting mechanism in the state-of-the-art molybdenum thrusters is the xenon ion sputter erosion of the accelerator grid. Carbon/carbon composites (CCC) have shown to be have less than 1/7 the erosion rates than the molybdenum, thus for interplanetary missions CCC engines are inevitable. Early effort to develop CCC composite thrusters had a limited success because of limitations of the drilling technology and the damage caused by drilling. The proposed is an in-situ manufacturing of holes while the CCC is made. Special low CTE molds will be used along with the NC A&T s patented resin transfer molding (RTM) technology to manufacture the CCC grids. First, a manufacture process for 10-cm diameter thruster grids will be developed and verified. Quality of holes, density, CTE, tension, flexure, transverse fatigue and sputter yield properties will be measured. After establishing the acceptable quality and properties, the process will be scaled to manufacture 30-cm diameter grids. The properties of the two grid sizes are compared with each other.

  12. Performance and Environmental Test Results of the High Voltage Hall Accelerator Engineering Development Unit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kamhawi, Hani; Haag, Thomas; Huang, Wensheng; Shastry, Rohit; Pinero, Luis; Peterson, Todd; Mathers, Alex

    2012-01-01

    NASA Science Mission Directorate's In-Space Propulsion Technology Program is sponsoring the development of a 3.5 kW-class engineering development unit Hall thruster for implementation in NASA science and exploration missions. NASA Glenn and Aerojet are developing a high fidelity high voltage Hall accelerator that can achieve specific impulse magnitudes greater than 2,700 seconds and xenon throughput capability in excess of 300 kilograms. Performance, plume mappings, thermal characterization, and vibration tests of the high voltage Hall accelerator engineering development unit have been performed. Performance test results indicated that at 3.9 kW the thruster achieved a total thrust efficiency and specific impulse of 58%, and 2,700 sec, respectively. Thermal characterization tests indicated that the thruster component temperatures were within the prescribed material maximum operating temperature limits during full power thruster operation. Finally, thruster vibration tests indicated that the thruster survived the 3-axes qualification full-level random vibration test series. Pre and post-vibration test performance mappings indicated almost identical thruster performance. Finally, an update on the development progress of a power processing unit and a xenon feed system is provided.

  13. VHITAL-160 Thruster Development Status

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sengupta, Anita; Marrese-Reading, Colleen; Hofer, Rich; Owens, Al; Swindlehurst, Ray; Fitzgerald, Dennis

    2006-01-01

    A general overview on the status of the Very High Isp Thruster with Anode Layer (VHITAL)-160 program is presented. The topics include: 1) Bi TAL Overview; 2) VHITAL Program Overview; 3) Thruster Fabrication; and 4) Thruster Testing.

  14. Space Acceleration Measurement System-II: Microgravity Instrumentation for the International Space Station Research Community

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sutliff, Thomas J.

    1999-01-01

    The International Space Station opens for business in the year 2000, and with the opening, science investigations will take advantage of the unique conditions it provides as an on-orbit laboratory for research. With initiation of scientific studies comes a need to understand the environment present during research. The Space Acceleration Measurement System-II provides researchers a consistent means to understand the vibratory conditions present during experimentation on the International Space Station. The Space Acceleration Measurement System-II, or SAMS-II, detects vibrations present while the space station is operating. SAMS-II on-orbit hardware is comprised of two basic building block elements: a centralized control unit and multiple Remote Triaxial Sensors deployed to measure the acceleration environment at the point of scientific research, generally within a research rack. Ground Operations Equipment is deployed to complete the command, control and data telemetry elements of the SAMS-II implementation. Initially, operations consist of user requirements development, measurement sensor deployment and use, and data recovery on the ground. Future system enhancements will provide additional user functionality and support more simultaneous users.

  15. Laser-heated rocket thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shoji, J. M.

    1977-01-01

    A space vehicle application using 5,000-kw input laser power was conceptually evaluated. A detailed design evaluation of a 10-kw experimental thruster including plasma size, chamber size, cooling, and performance analyses, was performed for 50 psia chamber pressure and using hydrogen as a propellant. The 10-kw hardware fabricated included a water cooled chamber, an uncooled copper chamber, an injector, igniters, and a thrust stand. A 10-kw optical train was designed.

  16. Laser-Heated Rocket Thruster.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1977-05-01

    chamber assembly , thrust stand, and plasma initiation system). A space vehicle application using 5000kw input laser power was conceptually evaluated...State Temperature Distribution 137 89. 10-KW Optical Train Assembly (M = 2.0) 139/140 90. 10-KW Optical Train Assembly (M = 1.523) 141/142 91...10-KW Water-Cooled Chamber Assembly and Detail . . . 149/150 95. 10-KW Thruster Assembly . . 153/154 96. Uncooled Chamber Assembly . 155/156 97

  17. Application of the NEXT Ion Thruster Lifetime Assessment to Thruster Throttling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    VanNoord, Jonathan L.; Herman, Daniel A.

    2010-01-01

    Ion thrusters are low thrust, high specific impulse devices with typical operational lifetimes of 10,000 to 30,000 hr over a range of throttling conditions. The NEXT ion thruster is the latest generation of ion thrusters under development. The NEXT ion thruster currently has a qualification level propellant throughput requirement of 450 kg of xenon, which corresponds to roughly 22,000 hr of operation at the highest input power throttling point. This paper will provide a brief review the previous life assessment predictions for various throttling conditions. A further assessment will be presented examining the anticipated accelerator grid hole wall erosion and related electron backstreaming limit. The continued assessment of the NEXT ion thruster indicates that the first failure mode across the throttling range is expected to be in excess of 36,000 hr of operation from charge exchange induced groove erosion. It is at this duration that the groove is predicted to penetrate the accelerator grid possibly resulting in structural failure. Based on these lifetime and mission assessments, a throttling approach is presented for the Long Duration Test to demonstrate NEXT thruster lifetime and validate modeling.

  18. Los Alamos NEP research in advanced plasma thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schoenberg, Kurt; Gerwin, Richard

    1991-01-01

    Research was initiated in advanced plasma thrusters that capitalizes on lab capabilities in plasma science and technology. The goal of the program was to examine the scaling issues of magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster performance in support of NASA's MPD thruster development program. The objective was to address multi-megawatt, large scale, quasi-steady state MPD thruster performance. Results to date include a new quasi-steady state operating regime which was obtained at space exploration initiative relevant power levels, that enables direct coaxial gun-MPD comparisons of thruster physics and performance. The radiative losses are neglible. Operation with an applied axial magnetic field shows the same operational stability and exhaust plume uniformity benefits seen in MPD thrusters. Observed gun impedance is in close agreement with the magnetic Bernoulli model predictions. Spatial and temporal measurements of magnetic field, electric field, plasma density, electron temperature, and ion/neutral energy distribution are underway. Model applications to advanced mission logistics are also underway.

  19. Initial Thrust Measurements of Marshall's Ion-ioN Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schloeder, Natalie R.; Scogin, Tyler; Liu, Thomas M.; Walker, Mitchell L. R.; Polzin, Kurt A.; Dankanich, John W.; Aanesland, Ane

    2015-01-01

    Electronegative ion thrusters are a variation of tradition gridded ion thruster technology differentiated by the production and acceleration of both positive and negative ions. Benefits of electronegative ion thrusters include the elimination of lifetime-limiting cathodes from the thruster architecture and the ability to generate appreciable thrust from both charge species. Following the continued development of electronegative ion thruster technology as exhibited by the PEGASES (Plasma Propulsion with Electronegative GASES) thruster, direct thrust measurements are required to push interest in electronegative ion thruster technology forward. For this work, direct thrust measurements of the MINT (Marshall's Ion-ioN Thruster) will be taken on a hanging pendulum thrust stand for propellant mixtures of Sulfur Hexafluoride and Argon at volumetric flow rates of 5-25 sccm at radio frequency power levels of 100-600 watts at a radio frequency of 13.56 MHz. Acceleration grid operation is operated using a square waveform bias of +/-300 volts at a frequency of 25 kHz.

  20. High Power Hall Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jankovsky, Robert; Tverdokhlebov, Sergery; Manzella, David

    1999-01-01

    The development of Hall thrusters with powers ranging from tens of kilowatts to in excess of one hundred kilowatts is considered based on renewed interest in high power. high thrust electric propulsion applications. An approach to develop such thrusters based on previous experience is discussed. It is shown that the previous experimental data taken with thrusters of 10 kW input power and less can be used. Potential mass savings due to the design of high power Hall thrusters are discussed. Both xenon and alternate thruster propellant are considered, as are technological issues that will challenge the design of high power Hall thrusters. Finally, the implications of such a development effort with regard to ground testing and spacecraft intecrati'on issues are discussed.

  1. Pulsed hall thruster system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hruby, Vladimir J. (Inventor); Pote, Bruce M. (Inventor); Gamero-Castano, Manuel (Inventor)

    2004-01-01

    A pulsed Hall thruster system includes a Hall thruster having an electron source, a magnetic circuit, and a discharge chamber; a power processing unit for firing the Hall thruster to generate a discharge; a propellant storage and delivery system for providing propellant to the discharge chamber and a control unit for defining a pulse duration .tau.<0.1d.sup.3.rho./m, where d is the characteristic size of the thruster, .rho. is the propellant density at standard conditions, and m is the propellant mass flow rate for operating either the power processing unit to provide to the Hall thruster a power pulse of a pre-selected duration, .tau., or operating the propellant storage and delivery system to provide a propellant flow pulse of duration, .tau., or providing both as pulses, synchronized to arrive coincidentally at the discharge chamber to enable the Hall thruster to produce a discreet output impulse.

  2. NASA HERMeS Hall Thruster Electrical Configuration Characterization

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peterson, Peter Y.; Kamhawi, Hani; Huang, Wensheng; Yim, John; Herman, Daniel; Williams, George; Gilland, James; Hofer, Richard

    2015-01-01

    The NASA Hall Effect Rocket with Magnetic Shielding (HERMeS) 12.5 kW Technology Demonstration Unit-1 (TDU-1) Hall thruster has been the subject of extensive technology maturation in preparation for development into a flight ready propulsion system. Part of the technology maturation was to test the TDU-1 thruster in several ground based electrical configurations to assess the thruster robustness and suitability to successful in-space operation. The ground based electrical configuration testing has recently been demonstrated as an important step in understanding and assessing how a Hall thruster may operate differently in-space compared to ground based testing, and to determine the best configuration to conduct development and qualification testing. This paper describes the electrical configuration testing of the HERMeS TDU-1 Hall thruster in NASA Glenn Research Center's Vacuum Facility 5. The three electrical configurations examined were 1) thruster body tied to facility ground, 2) thruster floating, and 3) thruster body electrically tied to cathode common. The HERMeS TDU-1 Hall thruster was also configured with two different exit plane boundary conditions, dielectric and conducting, to examine the influence on the electrical configuration characterization.

  3. Modeling Ion Beam Neutralization and Near-Thruster Plume Interactions (POSTPRINT)

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2005-08-31

    charged ions is not desired because it leads to faster thruster erosion. Finally, the thruster was assumed to be a perfect conductor. Electrons absorbed ...July 7-10, 2002 12NASA Glenn Website, NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT), http://space-power.grc.nasa.gov/ ppo /projects/next/accomp.html 13Chen, F

  4. Comparison of Computed and Measured Performance of a Pulsed Inductive Thruster Operating on Argon Propellant

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polzin, Kurt A.; Sankaran, Kameshwaran; Ritchie, Andrew G.; Peneau, Jarred P.

    2012-01-01

    Pulsed inductive plasma accelerators are electrodeless space propulsion devices where a capacitor is charged to an initial voltage and then discharged through a coil as a high-current pulse that inductively couples energy into the propellant. The field produced by this pulse ionizes the propellant, producing a plasma near the face of the coil. Once a plasma is formed if can be accelerated and expelled at a high exhaust velocity by the Lorentz force arising from the interaction of an induced plasma current and the magnetic field. A recent review of the developmental history of planar-geometry pulsed inductive thrusters, where the coil take the shape of a flat spiral, can be found in Ref. [1]. Two concepts that have employed this geometry are the Pulsed Inductive Thruster (PIT)[2, 3] and the Faraday Accelerator with Radio-frequency Assisted Discharge (FARAD)[4]. There exists a 1-D pulsed inductive acceleration model that employs a set of circuit equations coupled to a one-dimensional momentum equation. The model was originally developed and used by Lovberg and Dailey[2, 3] and has since been nondimensionalized and used by Polzin et al.[5, 6] to define a set of scaling parameters and gain general insight into their effect on thruster performance. The circuit presented in Fig. 1 provides a description of the electrical coupling between the current flowing in the thruster I1 and the plasma current I2. Recently, the model was upgraded to include an equation governing the deposition of energy into various modes present in a pulsed inductive thruster system (acceleration, magnetic flux generation, resistive heating, etc.)[7]. An MHD description of the plasma energy density evolution was tailored to the thruster geometry by assuming only one-dimensional motion and averaging the plasma properties over the spatial dimensions of the current sheet to obtain an equation for the time-evolution of the total energy. The equation set governing the dynamics of the coupled

  5. MPD thruster technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Myers, Roger M.

    1991-01-01

    Inhouse magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster technology is discussed. The study focussed on steady state thrusters at powers of less than 1 MW. Performance measurement and diagnostics technologies were developed for high power thrusters. Also developed was a MPD computer code. The stated goals of the program are to establish: performance and life limitation; influence of applied fields; propellant effects; and scaling laws. The presentation is mostly through graphs and charts.

  6. Status of the NEXT Ion Thruster Long-Duration Test After 10,100 hr and 207 kg Demonstrated

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herman, Daniel A.; Soulas, George C.; Patterson, Michael J.

    2008-01-01

    The NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) program is developing the next-generation ion propulsion system with significant enhancements beyond the state-of-the-art in ion propulsion to provide future NASA science missions with enhanced mission capabilities at a low total development cost. As part of a comprehensive thruster service life assessment utilizing both testing and analyses, a Long-Duration Test (LDT) was initiated to validate and qualify the NEXT propellant throughput capability to a qualification-level of 450 kg, 1.5 times the mission-derived throughput requirement of 300 kg. This wear test is being conducted with a modified, flight-representative NEXT engineering model ion thruster, designated EM3. As of June 21, 2007, the thruster has accumulated 10,100 hr of operation at the thruster full-input-power of 6.9 kW with 3.52 A beam current and 1800 V beam power supply voltage. The thruster has processed 207 kg of xenon and demonstrated a total impulse of 8.5 106 N-s; the highest total impulse ever demonstrated by an ion thruster in the history of space propulsion. Thruster performance tests are conducted periodically over the entire NEXT throttle table with input power ranging 0.5 to 6.9 kW. Overall ion thruster performance parameters including thrust, input power, specific impulse, and thruster efficiency have been nominal with little variation to date. Lifetime-limiting component erosion rates have been consistent with the NEXT service life assessment, which predicts the earliest failure sometime after 750 kg of xenon propellant throughput; well beyond the mission-derived lifetime requirement. The NEXT wear test data confirm that the erosion of the discharge keeper orifice, enlarging of nominal-current-density accelerator grid aperture cusps, and the decrease in cold grid-gap observed during the NSTAR Extended Life Test have been mitigated. This paper presents the status of the NEXT LDT to date.

  7. Investigation of the Effects of Facility Background Pressure on the Performance and Voltage-Current Characteristics of the High Voltage Hall Accelerator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kamhawi, Hani; Huang, Wensheng; Haag, Thomas; Spektor, Rostislav

    2014-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate In-Space Propulsion Technology office is sponsoring NASA Glenn Research Center to develop a 4 kW-class Hall thruster propulsion system for implementation in NASA science missions. A study was conducted to assess the impact of varying the facility background pressure on the High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAc) thruster performance and voltage-current characteristics. This present study evaluated the HiVHAc thruster performance in the lowest attainable background pressure condition at NASA GRC Vacuum Facility 5 to best simulate space-like conditions. Additional tests were performed at selected thruster operating conditions to investigate and elucidate the underlying physics that change during thruster operation at elevated facility background pressure. Tests were performed at background pressure conditions that are three and ten times higher than the lowest realized background pressure. Results indicated that the thruster discharge specific impulse and efficiency increased with elevated facility background pressure. The voltage-current profiles indicated a narrower stable operating region with increased background pressure. Experimental observations of the thruster operation indicated that increasing the facility background pressure shifted the ionization and acceleration zones upstream towards the thrusters anode. Future tests of the HiVHAc thruster are planned at background pressure conditions that are expected to be two to three times lower than what was achieved during this test campaign. These tests will not only assess the impact of reduced facility background pressure on thruster performance, voltage-current characteristics, and plume properties; but will also attempt to quantify the magnitude of the ionization.

  8. Advanced ion thruster research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilbur, P. J.

    1985-01-01

    A series of experiments conducted on a ring cusp magnetic field ion thruster; in which the anode, cathode and discharge chamber backplate were moved relative to the magnetic cusp; are described. Optimum locations for the anode, cathode and backplate which yield the lowest energy cost per plasma ion and highest extracted ion fraction are identified. The results are discussed in terms of simple physical models. The results of preliminary experiments into the operation of hollow cathodes on nitrogen and xenon over a large pressure range (0.1 to 100 Torr) are presented. They show that the cathode discharge transfers from the cathode insert to the exterior edge of the orifice plate as the interelectrode pressure is increased. Experimental evidence showing that a new ion extractor grid concept can be used to stabilize the plasma sheath at the screen grid is presented. This concept, identified by the term constrained sheath optics, is shown to hold ion beamlet divergence and impingement characteristics to stable values as the beamlet current and the net and total accelerating voltages are changed. The current status of a study of beamlet vectoring induced by displacing the accelerator and/or decelerator grids of a three grid ion extraction system relative to the screen grid is discussed.

  9. PREFACE: Acceleration and radiation generation in space and laboratory plasmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bingham, R.; Katsouleas, T.; Dawson, J. M.; Stenflo, L.

    1994-01-01

    Sixty-six leading researchers from ten nations gathered in the Homeric village of Kardamyli, on the southern coast of mainland Greece, from August 29-September 4, 1993 for the International Workshop on Acceleration and Radiation Generation in Space and Laboratory Plasmas. This Special Issue represents a cross-section of the presentations made at and the research stimulated by that meeting. According to the Iliad, King Agamemnon used Kardamyli as a dowry offering in order to draw a sulking Achilles into the Trojan War. 3000 years later, Kardamyli is no less seductive. Its remoteness and tranquility made it an ideal venue for promoting the free exchange of ideas between various disciplines that do not normally interact. Through invited presen tations, informal poster discussions and working group sessions, the Workshop brought together leaders from the laboratory and space/astrophysics communities working on common problems of acceleration and radiation generation in plasmas. It was clear from the presentation and discussion sessions that there is a great deal of common ground between these disciplines which is not at first obvious due to the differing terminologies and types of observations available to each community. All of the papers in this Special Issue highlight the role collective plasma processes play in accelerating particles or generating radiation. Some are state-of-the-art presentations of the latest research in a single discipline, while others investi gate the applicability of known laboratory mechanisms to explain observations in natural plasmas. Notable among the latter are the papers by Marshall et al. on kHz radiation in the magnetosphere ; Barletta et al. on collective acceleration in solar flares; and by Dendy et al. on ion cyclotron emission. The papers in this Issue are organized as follows: In Section 1 are four general papers by Dawson, Galeev, Bingham et al. and Mon which serves as an introduction to the physical mechanisms of acceleration

  10. Conducting Wall Hall Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goebel, Dan M.; Hofer, Richard R.; Mikellides, Ioannis G.; Katz, Ira; Polk, James E.; Dotson, Brandon

    2013-01-01

    A unique configuration of the magnetic field near the wall of Hall thrusters, called Magnetic Shielding, has recently demonstrated the ability to significantly reduce the erosion of the boron nitride (BN) walls and extend the life of Hall thrusters by orders of magnitude. The ability of magnetic shielding to minimize interactions between the plasma and the discharge chamber walls has for the first time enabled the replacement of insulating walls with conducting materials without loss in thruster performance. The boron nitride rings in the 6 kW H6 Hall thruster were replaced with graphite that self-biased to near the anode potential. The thruster efficiency remained over 60% (within two percent of the baseline BN configuration) with a small decrease in thrust and increase in Isp typical of magnetically shielded Hall thrusters. The graphite wall temperatures decreased significantly compared to both shielded and unshielded BN configurations, leading to the potential for higher power operation. Eliminating ceramic walls makes it simpler and less expensive to fabricate a thruster to survive launch loads, and the graphite discharge chamber radiates more efficiently which increases the power capability of the thruster compared to conventional Hall thruster designs.

  11. Oxygen-Methane Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pickens, Tim

    2012-01-01

    An oxygen-methane thruster was conceived with integrated igniter/injector capable of nominal operation on either gaseous or liquid propellants. The thruster was designed to develop 100 lbf (approximately 445 N) thrust at vacuum conditions and use oxygen and methane as propellants. This continued development included refining the design of the thruster to minimize part count and manufacturing difficulties/cost, refining the modeling tools and capabilities that support system design and analysis, demonstrating the performance of the igniter and full thruster assembly with both gaseous and liquid propellants, and acquiring data from this testing in order to verify the design and operational parameters of the thruster. Thruster testing was conducted with gaseous propellants used for the igniter and thruster. The thruster was demonstrated to work with all types of propellant conditions, and provided the desired performance. Both the thruster and igniter were tested, as well as gaseous propellants, and found to provide the desired performance using the various propellant conditions. The engine also served as an injector testbed for MSFC-designed refractory combustion chambers made of rhenium.

  12. Space charges can significantly affect the dynamics of accelerator maps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bountis, Tassos; Skokos, Charalampos

    2006-10-01

    Space charge effects can be very important for the dynamics of intense particle beams, as they repeatedly pass through nonlinear focusing elements, aiming to maximize the beam's luminosity properties in the storage rings of a high energy accelerator. In the case of hadron beams, whose charge distribution can be considered as “frozen” within a cylindrical core of small radius compared to the beam's dynamical aperture, analytical formulas have been recently derived [C. Benedetti, G. Turchetti, Phys. Lett. A 340 (2005) 461] for the contribution of space charges within first order Hamiltonian perturbation theory. These formulas involve distribution functions which, in general, do not lead to expressions that can be evaluated in closed form. In this Letter, we apply this theory to an example of a charge distribution, whose effect on the dynamics can be derived explicitly and in closed form, both in the case of 2-dimensional as well as 4-dimensional mapping models of hadron beams. We find that, even for very small values of the “perveance” (strength of the space charge effect) the long term stability of the dynamics changes considerably. In the flat beam case, the outer invariant “tori” surrounding the origin disappear, decreasing the size of the beam's dynamical aperture, while beyond a certain threshold the beam is almost entirely lost. Analogous results in mapping models of beams with 2-dimensional cross section demonstrate that in that case also, even for weak tune depressions, orbital diffusion is enhanced and many particles whose motion was bounded now escape to infinity, indicating that space charges can impose significant limitations on the beam's luminosity.

  13. The Awful Truth About Zero-Gravity: Space Acceleration Measurement System; Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Earth's gravity holds the Shuttle in orbit, as it does satellites and the Moon. The apparent weightlessness experienced by astronauts and experiments on the Shuttle is a balancing act, the result of free-fall, or continuously falling around Earth. An easy way to visualize what is happening is with a thought experiment that Sir Isaac Newton did in 1686. Newton envisioned a mountain extending above Earth's atmosphere so that friction with the air would be eliminated. He imagined a cannon atop the mountain and aimed parallel to the ground. Firing the cannon propels the cannonball forward. At the same time, Earth's gravity pulls the cannonball down to the surface and eventual impact. Newton visualized using enough powder to just balance gravity so the cannonball would circle the Earth. Like the cannonball, objects orbiting Earth are in continuous free-fall, and it appears that gravity has been eliminated. Yet, that appearance is deceiving. Activities aboard the Shuttle generate a range of accelerations that have effects similar to those of gravity. The crew works and exercises. The main data relay antenna quivers 17 times per second to prevent 'stiction,' where parts stick then release with a jerk. Cooling pumps, air fans, and other systems add vibration. And traces of Earth's atmosphere, even 200 miles up, drag on the Shuttle. While imperceptible to us, these vibrations can have a profound impact on the commercial research and scientific experiments aboard the Shuttle. Measuring these forces is necessary so that researchers and scientists can see what may have affected their experiments when analyzing data. On STS-107 this service is provided by the Space Acceleration Measurement System for Free Flyers (SAMS-FF) and the Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment (OARE). Precision data from these two instruments will help scientists analyze data from their experiments and eliminate outside influences from the phenomena they are studying during the mission.

  14. Q-Thruster Breadboard Campaign Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    White, Harold

    2014-01-01

    Dr. Harold "Sonny" White has developed the physics theory basis for utilizing the quantum vacuum to produce thrust. The engineering implementation of the theory is known as Q-thrusters. During FY13, three test campaigns were conducted that conclusively demonstrated tangible evidence of Q-thruster physics with measurable thrust bringing the TRL up from TRL 2 to early TRL 3. This project will continue with the development of the technology to a breadboard level by leveraging the most recent NASA/industry test hardware. This project will replace the manual tuning process used in the 2013 test campaign with an automated Radio Frequency (RF) Phase Lock Loop system (precursor to flight-like implementation), and will redesign the signal ports to minimize RF leakage (improves efficiency). This project will build on the 2013 test campaign using the above improvements on the test implementation to get ready for subsequent Independent Verification and Validation testing at Glenn Research Center (GRC) and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in FY 2015. Q-thruster technology has a much higher thrust to power than current forms of electric propulsion (7x Hall thrusters), and can significantly reduce the total power required for either Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) or Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP). Also, due to the high thrust and high specific impulse, Q-thruster technology will greatly relax the specific mass requirements for in-space nuclear reactor systems. Q-thrusters can reduce transit times for a power-constrained architecture.

  15. Optimal electric potential profile in a collisional magnetized thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fruchtman, Amnon; Makrinich, Gennady

    2016-10-01

    A major figure of merit in propulsion in general and in electric propulsion in particular is the thrust per unit of deposited power, the ratio of thrust over power. We have recently demonstrated experimentally and theoretically that for a fixed deposited power in the ions, the momentum delivered by the electric force is larger if the accelerated ions collide with neutrals during the acceleration. As expected, the higher thrust for given power is achieved for a collisional plasma at the expense of a lower thrust per unit mass flow rate. Operation in the collisional regime can be advantageous for certain space missions. We analyze a Hall thruster configuration in which the flow is only weakly ionized but there are frequent ion-neutral collisions. With a variational method we seek an electric potential profile that maximizes thrust over power. We then examine what radial magnetic field profile should determine such a potential profile. Supported by the Israel Science Foundation Grant 765/11.

  16. Preliminary analysis of accelerated space flight ionizing radiation testing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilson, J. W.; Stock, L. V.; Carter, D. J.; Chang, C. K.

    1982-01-01

    A preliminary analysis shows that radiation dose equivalent to 30 years in the geosynchronous environment can be accumulated in a typical composite material exposed to space for 2 years or less onboard a spacecraft orbiting from perigee of 300 km out to the peak of the inner electron belt (approximately 2750 km). Future work to determine spacecraft orbits better tailored to materials accelerated testing is indicated. It is predicted that a range of 10 to the 9th power to 10 to the 10th power rads would be accumulated in 3-6 mil thick epoxy/graphite exposed by a test spacecraft orbiting in the inner electron belt. This dose is equivalent to the accumulated dose that this material would be expected to have after 30 years in a geosynchronous orbit. It is anticipated that material specimens would be brought back to Earth after 2 years in the radiation environment so that space radiation effects on materials could be analyzed by laboratory methods.

  17. Acceleration of Classical Mechanics by Phase Space Constraints.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Núñez, Emilio; Shalashilin, Dmitrii V

    2006-07-01

    In this article phase space constrained classical mechanics (PSCCM), a version of accelerated dynamics, is suggested to speed up classical trajectory simulations of slow chemical processes. The approach is based on introducing constraints which lock trajectories in the region of the phase space close to the dividing surface, which separates reactants and products. This results in substantial (up to more than 2 orders of magnitude) speeding up of the trajectory simulation. Actual microcanonical rates are calculated by introducing a correction factor equal to the fraction of the phase volume which is allowed by the constraints. The constraints can be more complex than previously used boosting potentials. The approach has its origin in Intramolecular Dynamics Diffusion Theory, which shows that the majority of nonstatistical effects are localized near the transition state. An excellent agreement with standard trajectory simulation at high energies and Monte Carlo Transition State Theory at low energies is demonstrated for the unimolecular dissociation of methyl nitrite, proving that PSCCM works both in statistical and nonstatistical regimes.

  18. Increasing the Life of a Xenon-Ion Spacecraft Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goebel, Dan; Polk, James; Sengupta, Anita; Wirz, Richard

    2007-01-01

    A short document summarizes the redesign of a xenon-ion spacecraft thruster to increase its operational lifetime beyond a limit heretofore imposed by nonuniform ion-impact erosion of an accelerator electrode grid. A peak in the ion current density on the centerline of the thruster causes increased erosion in the center of the grid. The ion-current density in the NSTAR thruster that was the subject of this investigation was characterized by peak-to-average ratio of 2:1 and a peak-to-edge ratio of greater than 10:1. The redesign was directed toward distributing the same beam current more evenly over the entire grid andinvolved several modifications of the magnetic- field topography in the thruster to obtain more nearly uniform ionization. The net result of the redesign was to reduce the peak ion current density by nearly a factor of two, thereby halving the peak erosion rate and doubling the life of the thruster.

  19. Cusped magnetic field mercury ion thruster. Ph.D. Thesis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beattie, J. R.

    1976-01-01

    The importance of a uniform current density profile in the exhaust beam of an electrostatic ion thruster is discussed in terms of thrust level and accelerator system lifetime. A residence time approach is used to explain the nonuniform beam current density profile of the divergent magnetic field thruster. Mathematical expressions are derived which relate the thruster discharge power loss, propellant utilization, and double to single ion density ratio to the geometry and plasma properties of the discharge chamber. These relationships are applied to a cylindrical discharge chamber model of the thruster. Experimental results are presented for a wide range of the discharge chamber length. The thruster designed for this investigation was operated with a cusped magnetic field as well as a divergent field geometry, and the cusped field geometry is shown to be superior from the standpoint of beam profile uniformity, performance, and double ion population.

  20. An 8-cm ion thruster characterization

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wessel, F. J.; Hancock, D. J.; Dulgeroff, C. R.; Williamson, W. S.

    1987-01-01

    The performance of the Ion Auxiliary Propulsion System (IAPS) thruster was increased to thrust T = 32 mN, specific impulse I sub sp = 4062 s, and thrust-to-power ratio T/P = 33 mN/kW. This performance was obtained by increasing the discharge power, accelerating voltage, propellant flow rate, and chamber magnetic field. Adding a plenum and main vaporizer for propellant distribution was the only major change required in the thruster. The modified thruster characterization is presented. A cathode magnet assembly did not improve performance. A simplified power processing unit was designed and evaluated. This unit decreased the parts count of the IAPS power processing unit by a factor of ten.

  1. Enhanced Performance of Electrothermal Plasma Sources as Fusion Pellet Injection Drivers and Space Based Mini-Thrusters via Extension of a Flattop Discharge Current

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leigh Winfrey, A.; Abd Al-Halim, Mohamed A.; Saveliev, Alexei V.; Gilligan, John G.; Bourham, Mohamed A.

    2013-06-01

    Electrothermal plasma sources have been introduced as a method to propel frozen hydrogenic pellets for fueling of future magnetic fusion reactors. These sources are also useful as mini-thrusters in space shuttles, pre-injectors in hypervelocity launchers and igniters in electrothermal-chemical Guns. The source is a capillary discharge that generates the plasma from the ablation of a liner in an ablation-dominated regime, or from the flow of gas into the capillary in an ablation-free regime. Most electrothermal plasma sources uses pulse power delivery system with a pulse length in the range of 100 μs with FWHM of 50 μs. This research is a computational study on the effect of extending the top of the discharge current pulse to the range of 1,000 μs on the source exit parameter to achieve higher pressures and better exit velocities. Calculations using 0.4 cm diameter, 9.0 cm length Lexan polycarbonate capillary source, using ideal and nonideal plasma models, show that extended flattop pulses at fixed amplitude produce more ablated mass which scales linearly with increased pulse length, however, other plasma parameters remain almost constant. Results suggest that quasi-steady state operation of an electrothermal plasma source may provide constant exit pressure and velocity for pellet injectors for future magnetic fusion reactors deep fueling.

  2. Ion Thruster Power Levels Extended by a Factor of 10

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, Michael J.

    2004-01-01

    In response to two NASA Office of Space Science initiatives, the NASA Glenn Research Center is now developing a 7-kW-class xenon ion thruster system for near-term solar-powered spacecraft and a 25-kW ion engine for nuclear-electric spacecraft. The 7-kW ion thruster and power processor can be throttled down to 1 kW and are applicable to 25-kW flagship missions to the outer planets, asteroids, and comets. This propulsion system was scaled up from the 2.5-kW ion thruster and power processor that was developed successfully by Glenn, Boeing, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and Spectrum Astro for the Deep Space 1 spacecraft. The 7-kW ion thruster system is being developed under NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) project, which includes partners from JPL, Aerojet, Boeing, the University of Michigan, and Colorado State University.

  3. Multi-Thruster Propulsion Apparatus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, Michael J. (Inventor)

    2016-01-01

    An electric propulsion machine includes an ion thruster having a discharge chamber housing a large surface area anode. The ion thruster includes flat annular ion optics with a small span to gap ratio. Optionally, at least a second thruster may be disposed radially offset from the ion thruster.

  4. Mercury ion thruster technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beattie, J. R.; Matossian, J. N.

    1989-01-01

    The Mercury Ion Thruster Technology program was an investigation for improving the understanding of state-of-the-art mercury ion thrusters. Emphasis was placed on optimizing the performance and simplifying the design of the 30 cm diameter ring-cusp discharge chamber. Thruster performance was improved considerably; the baseline beam-ion production cost of the optimized configuration was reduced to Epsilon (sub i) perspective to 130 eV/ion. At a discharge propellant-utilization efficiency of 95 percent, the beam-ion production cost was reduced to about 155 eV/ion, representing a reduction of about 40 eV/ion over the corresponding value for the 30 cm diameter J-series thruster. Comprehensive Langmuir-probe surveys were obtained and compared with similar measurements for a J-series thruster. A successful volume-averaging scheme was developed to correlate thruster performance with the dominant plasma processes that prevail in the two thruster designs. The average Maxwellian electron temperature in the optimized ring-cusp design is as much as 1 eV higher than it is in the J-series thruster. Advances in ion-extraction electrode fabrication technology were made by improving materials selection criteria, hydroforming and stress-relieving tooling, and fabrications procedures. An ion-extraction performance study was conducted to assess the effect of screen aperture size on ion-optics performance and to verify the effectiveness of a beam-vectoring model for three-grid ion optics. An assessment of the technology readiness of the J-series thruster was completed, and operation of an 8 cm IAPS thruster using a simplified power processor was demonstrated.

  5. Increasing Extracted Beam Current Density in Ion Thrusters through Plasma Potential Modification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arthur, Neil; Foster, John

    2015-09-01

    A gridded ion thruster's maximum extractable beam current is determined by the space charge limit. The classical formulation does not take into account finite ion drift into the acceleration gap. It can be shown that extractable beam current can be increased beyond the conventional Child-Langmuir law if the ions enter the gap at a finite drift speed. In this work, ion drift in a 10 cm thruster is varied by adjusting the plasma potential relative to the potential at the extraction plane. Internal plasma potential variations are achieved using a novel approach involving biasing the magnetic cusps. Ion flow variations are assessed using simulated beam extraction in conjunction with a retarding potential analyzer. Ion beam current density changes at a given total beam voltage in full beam extraction tests are characterized as a function of induced ion drift velocity as well.

  6. Ultraviolet tomography of kink dynamics in a magnetoplasmadynamic thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Bonomo, F.; Franz, P.; Spizzo, G.; Marrelli, L.; Martin, P.; Paganucci, F.; Rossetti, P.; Signori, M.; Andrenucci, M.; Pomaro, N.

    2005-09-15

    In this paper the results of a project concerning the ultraviolet (UV) imaging of a plasma for space applications, produced in a magneto-plasmadynamic (MPD) thruster, are presented. MPD are a class of high-power electric space propulsion devices that accelerate a plasma to high velocities (>10 km/s), by exploiting the Lorentz force. This force arises from the interaction between the discharge electrical current and a self induced and externally applied magnetic field. The imaging system has been realized by inserting three arrays of UV-enhanced photodiodes directly into the plastic structure of the anode. The amplifiers are miniaturized and built into the detector. This advanced diagnostic design allows for a detailed tomographic reconstruction of the emissivity spatial structure, both in the axial direction z (corresponding to a wave number n) and azimuthal direction (wave number m) with high time resolution. A magneto-hydrodynamic instability, with mode numbers m=1 and n=1 has been observed, which might affect the performances of the thruster.

  7. Performance and optimization of a derated ion thruster for auxiliary propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, Michael J.; Foster, John E.

    1991-01-01

    The characteristics and implications of use of a derated ion thruster for north-south stationkeeping (NSSK) propulsion are discussed. A derated thruster is a 30 cm diameter primary propulsion ion thruster operated at highly throttled conditions appropriate to NSSK functions. The performance characteristics of a 30 cm ion thruster are presented, emphasizing throttled operation at low specific impulse and high thrust-to-power ratio. Performance data and component erosion are compared to other NSSK ion thrusters. Operations benefits derived from the performance advantages of the derated approach are examined assuming an INTELSAt 7-type spacecraft. Minimum ground test facility pumping capabilities required to maintain facility enhanced accelerator grid erosion at acceptable levels in a lifetest are quantified as a function of thruster operating condition. Approaches to reducing the derated thruster mass and volume are also discussed.

  8. Optimization of a coaxial electron cyclotron resonance plasma thruster with an analytical model

    SciTech Connect

    Cannat, F. E-mail: felix.cannat@gmail.com; Lafleur, T.; Jarrige, J.; Elias, P.-Q.; Packan, D.; Chabert, P.

    2015-05-15

    A new cathodeless plasma thruster currently under development at Onera is presented and characterized experimentally and analytically. The coaxial thruster consists of a microwave antenna immersed in a magnetic field, which allows electron heating via cyclotron resonance. The magnetic field diverges at the thruster exit and forms a nozzle that accelerates the quasi-neutral plasma to generate a thrust. Different thruster configurations are tested, and in particular, the influence of the source diameter on the thruster performance is investigated. At microwave powers of about 30 W and a xenon flow rate of 0.1 mg/s (1 SCCM), a mass utilization of 60% and a thrust of 1 mN are estimated based on angular electrostatic probe measurements performed downstream of the thruster in the exhaust plume. Results are found to be in fair agreement with a recent analytical helicon thruster model that has been adapted for the coaxial geometry used here.

  9. NASA HERMeS Hall Thruster Electrical Configuration Characterization

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peterson, Peter; Kamhawi, Hani; Huang, Wensheng; Yim, John; Herman, Daniel; Williams, George; Gilland, James; Hofer, Richard

    2016-01-01

    NASAs Hall Effect Rocket with Magnetic Shielding (HERMeS) 12.5 kW Technology Demonstration Unit-1 (TDU-1) Hall thruster has been the subject of extensive technology maturation in preparation for development into a flight ready propulsion system. Part of the technology maturation was to test the TDU-1 thruster in several ground based electrical configurations to assess the thruster robustness and suitability to successful in-space operation. The ground based electrical configuration testing has recently been demonstrated as an important step in understanding and assessing how a Hall thruster may operate differently in space compared to ground based testing, and to determine the best configuration to conduct development and qualification testing. This presentation will cover the electrical configuration testing of the TDU-1 HERMeS Hall thruster in NASA Glenn Research Centers Vacuum Facility 5. The three electrical configurations examined are the thruster body tied to facility ground, thruster floating, and finally the thruster body electrically tied to cathode common. The TDU-1 HERMeS was configured with two different exit plane boundary conditions, dielectric and conducting, to examine the influence on the electrical configuration characterization.

  10. Performance documentation of the engineering model 30-cm diameter thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bechtel, R. T.; Rawlin, V. K.

    1976-01-01

    The results of extensive testing of two 30-cm ion thrusters which are virtually identical to the 900 series Engineering Model Thruster in an ongoing 15,000-hour life test are presented. Performance data for the nominal fullpower (2650 W) operating point; performance sensitivities to discharge voltage, discharge losses, accelerator voltage, and magnetic baffle current; and several power throttling techniques (maximum Isp, maximum thrust/power ratio, and two cases in between are included). Criteria for throttling are specified in terms of the screen power supply envelope, thruster operating limits, and control stability. In addition, reduced requirements for successful high voltage recycles are presented.

  11. Pulsed Plasma Thruster (PPT) Technology: Earth Observing-1 PPT Operational and Advanced Components Being Developed

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pencil, Eric J.; Benson, Scott W.; Arrington, Lynn A.; Frus, John; Hoskins, W. Andrew; Burton, Rodney

    2003-01-01

    In 2002 the pulsed plasma thruster (PPT) mounted on the Earth Observing-1 spacecraft was operated successfully in orbit. The two-axis thruster system is fully incorporated in the attitude determination and control system and is being used to automatically counteract disturbances in the pitch axis of the spacecraft. The first tests conducted in space demonstrated the full range of PPT operation, followed by calibration of control torques from the PPT in the attitude control system. Then the spacecraft was placed in PPT control mode. To date, it has operated for about 30 hr. The PPT successfully controlled pitch momentum during wheel de-spin, solar array acceleration and deceleration during array rewind, and environmental torques in nominal operating conditions. Images collected with the Advanced Landsat Imager during PPT operation have demonstrated that there was no degradation in comparison to full momentum wheel control. In addition, other experiments have been performed to interrogate the effects of PPT operation on communication packages and light reflection from spacecraft surfaces. Future experiments will investigate the possibility of orbit-raising maneuvers, spacecraft roll, and concurrent operation with the Hyperion imager. Future applications envisioned for pulsed plasma thrusters include longer life, higher precision, multiaxis thruster configurations for three-axis attitude control systems or high-precision, formationflying systems. Advanced components, such as a "dry" mica-foil capacitor, a wear-resistant spark plug, and a multichannel power processing unit have been developed under contract with Unison Industries, General Dynamics, and C.U. Aerospace. Over the last year, evaluation tests have been conducted to determine power processing unit efficiency, atmospheric functionality, vacuum functionality, thruster performance evaluation, thermal performance, and component life.

  12. Rail accelerators for space transportation: An experimental investigation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zana, L. M.; Kerslake, W. R.; Sturman, J. L.

    1986-01-01

    An experimental program was conducted at the Lewis Research Center with the objective of investigating the technical feasibility of rail accelerators for propulsion applications. Single-stage, plasma driven rail accelerators of small (4 by 6 mm) and medium (12.5 by 12.5 mm) bores were tested at peak accelerating currents of 50 to 450 kA. Streak-camera photography was used to provide a qualitative description of plasma armature acceleration. The effects of plasma blowby and varying bore pressure on the behavior of plasma armatures were studied.

  13. Preliminary investigation of power flow and electrode phenomena in a multi-megawatt coaxial plasma thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schoenberg, Kurt F.; Gerwin, Richard A.; Henins, Ivars; Mayo, Robert; Scheuer, Jay; Wurden, Glen

    1992-01-01

    The present report on preliminary results of theoretical and experimental investigations of power flow in a large, unoptimized, multimegawatt coaxial thruster evaluates the significance of these data for the development of efficient, megawatt-class magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters. The good agreement obtained between thruster operational performance and model predictions suggests that ideal MHD processes, including those of a magnetic nozzle, play an important role in coaxial plasma thruster dynamics at power levels relevant to advanced space propulsion. An optimized magnetic nozzle design would aid the development of efficient, multimegawatt MPD thrusters.

  14. Plans for an in-orbit test of a UK rare gas ion thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Martin, A.R.; Bond, A.; Lavender, K.E.

    1987-01-01

    As part of the developmental work on a UK rare gas ion thruster an exercise has been carried out to provide an initial assessment of the integration of such a thruster into a technology demonstrator satellite. The aim of the mission is to provide an in-orbit flight test of the thruster system, and to evaluate the effect of the thruster ion beam upon the spacecraft and upon the surrounding space plasma. Any interactions with communications links will also be assessed, to check that thruster operation and associated noise levels do not have any unacceptable effect upon the communications. 6 references.

  15. Operation of the J-series thruster using inert gas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rawlin, V. K.

    1982-01-01

    Electron bombardment ion thrusters using inert gases are candidates for large space systems. The J-Series 30 cm diameter thruster, designed for operation up to 3 k-W with mercury, is at a state of technology readiness. The characteristics of operation with xenon, krypton, and argon propellants in a J-Series thruster with that obtained with mercury are compared. The performance of the discharge chamber, ion optics, and neutralizer and the overall efficiency as functions of input power and specific impulse and thruster lifetime were evaluated. As expected, the discharge chamber performance with inert gases decreased with decreasing atomic mass. Aspects of the J-Series thruster design which would require modification to provide operation at high power with insert gases were identified.

  16. High reliability cathode heaters for ion thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mueller, L. A.

    1976-01-01

    A number of space missions have been proposed which will utilize 30-cm mercury bombardment ion thrusters and also will require a large number of thruster restarts. A test program was carried out to determine thermal cycle life of several different cathode heater designs. Plasma/flame sprayed heaters and swaged type heaters were tested. Four of the five plasma/flame sprayed heaters tested failed in a comparatively short time. Four tantalum swaged heaters that were brazed to the tantalum cathode tube were successfully tested and met the goals that were set at the start of the test.

  17. High reliability cathode heaters for ion thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mueller, L. A.

    1976-01-01

    A number of space missions were proposed which utilize 30-cm mercury bombardment ion thrusters and also require a large number of thruster restarts. A test program was carried out to determine thermal cycle life of several different cathode heater designs. Plasma/flame sprayed heaters and swaged type heaters were tested. Four of the five plasma/flame sprayed heaters tested failed in a comparatively short time. Four tantalum swaged heaters that were brazed to the tantalum cathode tube were successfully tested and met the goals that were set at the start of the test.

  18. Fluid physics phenomena of resistojet thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DeWitt, Kenneth J. (Principal Investigator)

    1996-01-01

    This final report includes a list of publications and part of an M.S. thesis titled 'Analyses in Theoretical and Experimental Fluid Flow', by Tony G. Howell. The thesis discusses analyses of momentum and heat transfer occurring in a laminar boundary layer of a non-Newtonian power-law fluid, and experiments completed in a simulated space thruster's plume for prediction comparison.

  19. Electrostatic Plasma Accelerator (EPA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brophy, John R.; Aston, Graeme

    1989-01-01

    The Electrostatic Plasma Accelerator (EPA) is a thruster concept which promises specific impulse levels between low power arcjets and those of the ion engine while retaining the relative simplicity of the arcjet. The EPA thruster produces thrust through the electrostatic acceleration of a moderately dense plasma. No accelerating electrodes are used and the specific impulse is a direct function of the applied discharge voltage and the propellant atomic mass. The goal of the present program is to demonstrate feasibility of the EPA thruster concept through experimental and theoretical investigations of the EPA acceleration mechanism and discharge chamber performance. Experimental investigations will include operating the test bed ion (TBI) engine as an EPA thruster and parametrically varying the thruster geometry and operating conditions to quantify the electrostatic plasma acceleration effect. The theoretical investigations will include the development of a discharge chamber model which describes the relationships between the engine size, plasma properties, and overall performance. For the EPA thruster to be a viable propulsion concept, overall thruster efficiencies approaching 30% with specific impulses approaching 1000 s must be achieved.

  20. Experimental studies of an ECR plasma thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kaufman, D. A.; Goodwin, D. G.; Sercel, J. C.

    1993-01-01

    The Electron Cyclotron Resonance (ECR) thruster is a proposed electrodeless space electric propulsion device with interesting and little understood physics. A laboratory ECR thruster was run in a vacuum tank at pressures in the 10 exp -5 torr range using 2.12 GHz microwave beam and Ar gas propellant. Movable diagnostic probes (a Faraday cup and a gridded energy analyzer) measured plasma characteristics as propellant gas flow rate and input microwave power level were varied. Ion energy and flux data were used to calculate I(sp), propulsive efficiency, and thrust. The ion flux profiles show an unexpected depression on the thruster axis for low tank pressures that disappears as the tank pressure increases. Ion energies decrease as the flow rate and pressure increase, but the microwave power level affects the energy only negligibly. The calculated propulsion parameters demonstrate that the efficiency of the laboratory device is low, and that tank pressure greatly changes the performance.

  1. Experimental studies of an ECR plasma thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaufman, D. A.; Goodwin, D. G.; Sercel, J. C.

    1993-06-01

    The Electron Cyclotron Resonance (ECR) thruster is a proposed electrodeless space electric propulsion device with interesting and little understood physics. A laboratory ECR thruster was run in a vacuum tank at pressures in the 10 exp -5 torr range using 2.12 GHz microwave beam and Ar gas propellant. Movable diagnostic probes (a Faraday cup and a gridded energy analyzer) measured plasma characteristics as propellant gas flow rate and input microwave power level were varied. Ion energy and flux data were used to calculate I(sp), propulsive efficiency, and thrust. The ion flux profiles show an unexpected depression on the thruster axis for low tank pressures that disappears as the tank pressure increases. Ion energies decrease as the flow rate and pressure increase, but the microwave power level affects the energy only negligibly. The calculated propulsion parameters demonstrate that the efficiency of the laboratory device is low, and that tank pressure greatly changes the performance.

  2. Plasma processes in inert gas thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kaufman, H. R.; Robinson, R. S.

    1979-01-01

    Inert gas thrusters, particularly with large diameters, have continued to be of interest for space propulsion applications. Two plasma processes are treated in this study: electron diffusion across magnetic fields and double ion production in inert-gas thrusters. A model is developed to describe electron diffusion across a magnetic field that is driven by both density and potential gradients, with Bohm diffusion used to predict the diffusion rate. This model has applications to conduction across magnetic fields inside a discharge chamber, as well as through a magnetic baffle region used to isolate a hollow cathode from the main chamber. A theory for double ion production is presented, which is not as complete as the electron diffusion theory described, but it should be a useful tool for predicting double ion sputter erosion. Correlations are developed that may be used, without experimental data, to predict double ion densities for the design of new and especially larger ion thrusters.

  3. MPD thruster technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Myers, Roger M.; Mantenieks, Maris A.; Lapointe, Michael R.

    1991-01-01

    MPD (MagnetoPlasmaDynamic) thrusters demonstrated between 2000 and 7000 seconds specific impulse at efficiencies approaching 40 percent, and were operated continuously at power levels over 500 kW. These demonstrated capabilities, combined with the simplicity and robustness of the thruster, make them attractive candidates for application to both unmanned and manned orbit raising, lunar, and planetary missions. To date, however, only a limited number of thruster configurations, propellants, and operating conditions were studied. The present status of MPD research is reviewed, including developments in the measured performance levels and electrode erosion rates. Theoretical studies of the thruster dynamics are also described. Significant progress was made in establishing empirical scaling laws, performance and lifetime limitations and in the development of numerical codes to simulate the flow field and electrode processes.

  4. MPD thruster technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Myers, Roger M.; Lapointe, Michael R.; Mantenieks, Maris A.

    1991-01-01

    MPD thrusters have demonstrated between 2000 and 7000 sec specific impulse at efficiencies approaching 40 percent, and have been operated continuously at power levels over 500 kW. These demonstrated capabilities, combined with the simplicity and robustness of the thruster, make them attractive candidates for application to both unmanned and manned orbit raising, lunar, and planetary missions. This work reviews the present status of MPD thruster research, including developments in the measured performance levels and electrode erosion rates, and theoretical studies of the thruster dynamics. Significant progress has been made in establishing empirical scaling laws, performance and lifetime limitations, and in the development of numerical codes to simulate the flowfield and the electrode processes.

  5. Metallic Wall Hall Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goebel, Dan Michael (Inventor); Hofer, Richard Robert (Inventor); Mikellides, Ioannis G. (Inventor)

    2016-01-01

    A Hall thruster apparatus having walls constructed from a conductive material, such as graphite, and having magnetic shielding of the walls from the ionized plasma has been demonstrated to operate with nearly the same efficiency as a conventional non-magnetically shielded design using insulators as wall components. The new design is believed to provide the potential of higher power and uniform operation over the operating life of a thruster device.

  6. Mode Transitions in Hall Effect Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sekerak, Michael J.; Longmier, Benjamin W.; Gallimore, Alec D.; Brown, Daniel L.; Hofer, Richard R.; Polk, James E.

    2013-01-01

    Mode transitions have been commonly observed in Hall Effect Thruster (HET) operation where a small change in a thruster operating parameter such as discharge voltage, magnetic field or mass flow rate causes the thruster discharge current mean value and oscillation amplitude to increase significantly. Mode transitions in a 6-kW-class HET called the H6 are induced by varying the magnetic field intensity while holding all other operating parameters constant and measurements are acquired with ion saturation probes and ultra-fast imaging. Global and local oscillation modes are identified. In the global mode, the entire discharge channel oscillates in unison and azimuthal perturbations (spokes) are either absent or negligible. Downstream azimuthally spaced probes show no signal delay between each other and are very well correlated to the discharge current signal. In the local mode, signals from the azimuthally spaced probes exhibit a clear delay indicating the passage of "spokes" and are not well correlated to the discharge current. These spokes are localized oscillations propagating in the ExB direction that are typically 10-20% of the mean value. In contrast, the oscillations in the global mode can be 100% of the mean value. The transition between global and local modes occurs at higher relative magnetic field strengths for higher mass flow rates or higher discharge voltages. The thrust is constant through mode transition but the thrust-to-power decreased by 25% due to increasing discharge current. The plume shows significant differences between modes with the global mode significantly brighter in the channel and the near-field plasma plume as well as exhibiting a luminous spike on thruster centerline. Mode transitions provide valuable insight to thruster operation and suggest improved methods for thruster performance characterization.

  7. Ion thruster performance model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brophy, J. R.

    1984-01-01

    A model of ion thruster performance is developed for high flux density, cusped magnetic field thruster designs. This model is formulated in terms of the average energy required to produce an ion in the discharge chamber plasma and the fraction of these ions that are extracted to form the beam. The direct loss of high energy (primary) electrons from the plasma to the anode is shown to have a major effect on thruster performance. The model provides simple algebraic equations enabling one to calculate the beam ion energy cost, the average discharge chamber plasma ion energy cost, the primary electron density, the primary-to-Maxwellian electron density ratio and the Maxwellian electron temperature. Experiments indicate that the model correctly predicts the variation in plasma ion energy cost for changes in propellant gas (Ar, Kr and Xe), grid transparency to neutral atoms, beam extraction area, discharge voltage, and discharge chamber wall temperature. The model and experiments indicate that thruster performance may be described in terms of only four thruster configuration dependent parameters and two operating parameters. The model also suggests that improved performance should be exhibited by thruster designs which extract a large fraction of the ions produced in the discharge chamber, which have good primary electron and neutral atom containment and which operate at high propellant flow rates.

  8. 43. Bow thruster room. Bow thruster engine not used for ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    43. Bow thruster room. Bow thruster engine not used for powering hydraulics to boom as in some other tenders in same class. - U.S. Coast Guard Cutter BRAMBLE, Waterfront at Lincoln Avenue, Port Huron, St. Clair County, MI

  9. Design of an ion thruster movable grid thrust vectoring system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kural, Aleksander; Leveque, Nicolas; Welch, Chris; Wolanski, Piotr

    2004-08-01

    Several reasons justify the development of an ion propulsion system thrust vectoring system. Spacecraft launched to date have used ion thrusters mounted on gimbals to control the thrust vector within a range of about ±5°. Such devices have large mass and dimensions, hence the need exists for a more compact system, preferably mounted within the thruster itself. Since the 1970s several thrust vectoring systems have been developed, with the translatable accelerator grid electrode being considered the most promising. Laboratory models of this system have already been built and successfully tested, but there is still room for improvement in their mechanical design. This work aims to investigate possibilities of refining the design of such movable grid thrust vectoring systems. Two grid suspension designs and three types of actuators were evaluated. The actuators examined were a micro electromechanical system, a NanoMuscle shape memory alloy actuator and a piezoelectric driver. Criteria used for choosing the best system included mechanical simplicity (use of the fewest mechanical parts), accuracy, power consumption and behaviour in space conditions. Designs of systems using these actuators are proposed. In addition, a mission to Mercury using the system with piezoelectric drivers has been modelled and its performance presented.

  10. Plasma particle simulation of electrostatic ion thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peng, Xiaohang; Keefer, Dennis; Ruyten, Wilhelmus

    1990-01-01

    Charge exchange collisons between beam ions and neutral propellant gas can result in erosion of the accelerator grid surfaces of an ion engine. A particle in cell (PIC) is developed along with a Monte Carlo method to simulate the ion dynamics and charge exchange processes in the grid region of an ion thruster. The simulation is two-dimensional axisymmetric and uses three velocity components (2d3v) to investigate the influence of charge exchange collisions on the ion sputtering of the accelerator grid surfaces. An example calculation has been performed for an ion thruster operated on xenon propellant. The simulation shows that the greatest sputtering occurs on the downstream surface of the grid, but some sputtering can also occur on the upstream surface as well as on the interior of the grid aperture.

  11. High-Power Ion Thruster Technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beattie, J. R.; Matossian, J. N.

    1996-01-01

    Performance data are presented for the NASA/Hughes 30-cm-diam 'common' thruster operated over the power range from 600 W to 4.6 kW. At the 4.6-kW power level, the thruster produces 172 mN of thrust at a specific impulse of just under 4000 s. Xenon pressure and temperature measurements are presented for a 6.4-mm-diam hollow cathode operated at emission currents ranging from 5 to 30 A and flow rates of 4 sccm and 8 sccm. Highly reproducible results show that the cathode temperature is a linear function of emission current, ranging from approx. 1000 C to 1150 C over this same current range. Laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) measurements obtained from a 30-cm-diam thruster are presented, suggesting that LIF could be a valuable diagnostic for real-time assessment of accelerator-arid erosion. Calibration results of laminar-thin-film (LTF) erosion badges with bulk molybdenum are presented for 300-eV xenon, krypton, and argon sputtering ions. Facility-pressure effects on the charge-exchange ion current collected by 8-cm-diam and 30-cm-diam thrusters operated on xenon propellant are presented to show that accel current is nearly independent of facility pressure at low pressures, but increases rapidly under high-background-pressure conditions.

  12. Characterization of an electrodeless ECR plasma thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vialis, Théo; Jarrige, Julien; Packan, Denis

    2016-09-01

    Several advanced plasma thruster technologies are currently being studied for the 1-10 mN range. ONERA is developing an Electron Cyclotron Resonance (ECR) plasma thruster, whose main advantage is to produce a current-free plume. It does not need a neutralizing cathode, which is one of the most fragile component in electrostatic thrusters. The ECR thruster consists of a coaxial structure immersed in an axial divergent magnetic field, fed with xenon. A plasma is generated by resonant absorption of microwave power (at 2.45 GHz) and is accelerated in an electron driven magnetic nozzle to produce the thrust. Previous measurements, performed with electrostatic probes, have shown promising performances. Electrons are heated at very high temperatures (several tens of eV), and ion kinetic energy is up to 400 eV in the plume. The estimated thrust is 1 mN, with an efficiency of 16%, for a power of 30W. In this work, a new version of the device has been conceived for direct thrust measurement on a dedicated thrust balance. The effect of magnetic field topology, propellant, mass flow rate and absorbed power are investigated. Thrust measurement are compared with values estimated from electrostatic probes results (ion current and energy).

  13. Thrust Stand Measurements of a Conical Inductive Pulsed Plasma Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hallock, Ashley K.; Polzin, Kurt A.

    2013-01-01

    Inductive Pulsed Plasma Thrusters (iPPT) spacecraft propulsion devices in which electrical energy is capacitively stored and then discharged through an inductive coil. The thruster is electrodeless, with a time-varying current in the coil interacting with a plasma covering the face of the coil to induce a plasma current Propellant is accelerated and expelled at a high exhaust velocity (O(10 -- 100 km/s)) by the Lorentz body force arising from the interaction of the magnetic field and the induced plasma current. While this class of thruster mitigates the life-limiting issues associated with electrode erosion, inductive pulsed plasma thrusters can suffer from both high pulse energy requirements imposed by the voltage demands of inductive propellant ionization, and low propellant utilization efficiencies. While this class of thruster mitigates the life-limiting issues associated with electrode erosion, inductive pulsed plasma thrusters can suffer from both high pulse energy requirements imposed by the voltage demands of inductive propellant ionization, and low propellant utilization efficiencies. A conical coil geometry may offer higher propellant utilization efficiency over that of a at inductive coil, however an increase in propellant utilization may be met with a decrease in axial electromagnetic acceleration, and in turn, a decrease in the total axially-directed kinetic energy imparted to the propellant.

  14. Design and Performance Estimates of an Ablative Gallium Electromagnetic Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas, Robert E.

    2012-01-01

    The present study details the high-power condensable propellant research being conducted at NASA Glenn Research Center. The gallium electromagnetic thruster is an ablative coaxial accelerator designed to operate at arc discharge currents in the range of 10-25 kA. The thruster is driven by a four-parallel line pulse forming network capable of producing a 250 microsec pulse with a 60 kA amplitude. A torsional-type thrust stand is used to measure the impulse of a coaxial GEM thruster. Tests are conducted in a vacuum chamber 1.5 m in diameter and 4.5 m long with a background pressure of 2 microtorr. Electromagnetic scaling calculations predict a thruster efficiency of 50% at a specific impulse of 2800 seconds.

  15. The physics, performance and predictions of the PEGASES ion-ion thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aanesland, Ane

    2014-10-01

    Electric propulsion (EP) is now used systematically in space applications (due to the fuel and lifetime economy) to the extent that EP is now recognized as the next generation space technology. The uses of EP systems have though been limited to attitude control of GEO-stationary satellites and scientific missions. Now, the community envisages the use of EP for a variety of other applications as well; such as orbit transfer maneuvers, satellites in low altitudes, space debris removal, cube-sat control, challenging scientific missions close to and far from earth etc. For this we need a platform of EP systems providing much more variety in performance than what classical Hall and Gridded thrusters can provide alone. PEGASES is a gridded thruster that can be an alternative for some new applications in space, in particular for space debris removal. Unlike classical ion thrusters, here positive and negative ions are alternately accelerated to produce thrust. In this presentation we will look at the fundamental aspects of PEGASES. The emphasis will be put on our current understanding, obtained via analytical models, PIC simulations and experimental measurements, of the alternate extraction and acceleration process. We show that at low grid bias frequencies (10 s of kHz), the system can be described as a sequence of negative and positive ions accelerated as packets within a classical DC mode. Here secondary electrons created in the downstream chamber play an important role in the beam space charge compensation. At higher frequencies (100 s of kHz) the transit time of the ions in the grid gap becomes comparable to the bias period, leading to an ``AC acceleration mode.'' Here the beam is fully space charge compensated and the ion energy and current are functions of the applied frequency and waveform. A generalization of the Child-Langmuir space charge limited law is developed for pulsed voltages and allows evaluating the optimal parameter space and performance of PEGASES

  16. Ram accelerator direct launch system for space cargo

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bruckner, A. P.; Hertzberg, A.

    1987-01-01

    The ram accelerator, a chemically-propelled mass driver, is presented as a new approach for directly launching acceleration-insensitive pay-loads into LEO. The cargo vehicle resembles the centerbody of a conventional ramjet and travels through a launch tube filled with a premixed gaseous fuel and oxidizer mixture. The tube acts as the outer cowling of the ramjet and the combustion process travels with the vehicle. Two modes of ram accelerator drive are described, which when used in sequence, are capable of accelerating the cargo vehicle to 10 km/sec. The requirements for placing a 2000 kg vehicle with 50 percent payload fraction into a 400 km orbit, with a minimum of on-board rocket propellant for circularization maneuvers, are examined. It is shown that aerodynamic heating during atmospheric transit results in very little ablation of the nose. Both direct and indirect orbital insertion scenarios are investigated, and a three-step maneuver consisting of two burns and aerobraking is found to minimize the on-board propellant mass. A scenario involving a parking orbit below the desired final orbit is suggested as a means to increase the flexibility of the mass launch concept.

  17. A multiple thruster array for 30-cm thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rawlin, V. K.; Mantenieks, M. A.

    1975-01-01

    The 3.0-m diameter chamber of the 7.6-m diameter by 21.4-m long vacuum tank at NASA LeRC was modified to permit testing of an array of up to six 30-cm thrusters with a variety of laboratory and thermal vacuum bread-board power systems. A primary objective of the Multiple Thruster Array (MTA) program is to assess the impact of multiple thruster operation on individual thruster and power processor requirements. The areas of thruster startup, steady-state operation, throttling, high voltage recycle, thrust vectoring, and shutdown are of special concern. The results of initial tests are reported.

  18. Magnetic Field Would Reduce Electron Backstreaming in Ion Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Foster, John E.

    2003-01-01

    The imposition of a magnetic field has been proposed as a means of reducing the electron backstreaming problem in ion thrusters. Electron backstreaming refers to the backflow of electrons into the ion thruster. Backstreaming electrons are accelerated by the large potential difference that exists between the ion-thruster acceleration electrodes, which otherwise accelerates positive ions out of the engine to develop thrust. The energetic beam formed by the backstreaming electrons can damage the discharge cathode, as well as other discharge surfaces upstream of the acceleration electrodes. The electron-backstreaming condition occurs when the center potential of the ion accelerator grid is no longer sufficiently negative to prevent electron diffusion back into the ion thruster. This typically occurs over extended periods of operation as accelerator-grid apertures enlarge due to erosion. As a result, ion thrusters are required to operate at increasingly negative accelerator-grid voltages in order to prevent electron backstreaming. These larger negative voltages give rise to higher accelerator grid erosion rates, which in turn accelerates aperture enlargement. Electron backstreaming due to accelerator-gridhole enlargement has been identified as a failure mechanism that will limit ionthruster service lifetime. The proposed method would make it possible to not only reduce the electron backstreaming current at and below the backstreaming voltage limit, but also reduce the backstreaming voltage limit itself. This reduction in the voltage at which electron backstreaming occurs provides operating margin and thereby reduces the magnitude of negative voltage that must be placed on the accelerator grid. Such a reduction reduces accelerator- grid erosion rates. The basic idea behind the proposed method is to impose a spatially uniform magnetic field downstream of the accelerator electrode that is oriented transverse to the thruster axis. The magnetic field must be sufficiently

  19. Initial Thrust Measurements of Marshall's Ion-ioN Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Caruso, Natalie R. S.; Scogin, Tyler; Liu, Thomas M.; Walker, Mitchell L. R.; Polzin, Kurt A.; Dankanich, John W.

    2015-01-01

    Electronegative ion thrusters are a variation of traditional gridded ion thruster technology differentiated by the production and acceleration of both positive and negative ions. Benefits of electronegative ion thrusters include the elimination of lifetime-limiting cathodes from the thruster architecture and the ability to generate appreciable thrust from both charge species. While much progress has been made in the development of electronegative ion thruster technology, direct thrust measurements are required to unambiguously demonstrate the efficacy of the concept and support continued development. In the present work, direct thrust measurements of the thrust produced by the MINT (Marshall's Ion-ioN Thruster) are performed using an inverted-pendulum thrust stand in the High-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory's Vacuum Test Facility-1 at the Georgia Institute of Technology with operating pressures ranging from 4.8 x 10(exp -5) and 5.7 x 10(exp -5) torr. Thrust is recorded while operating with a propellant volumetric mixture ratio of 5:1 argon to nitrogen with total volumetric flow rates of 6, 12, and 24 sccm (0.17, 0.34, and 0.68 mg/s). Plasma is generated using a helical antenna at 13.56 MHz and radio frequency (RF) power levels of 150 and 350 W. The acceleration grid assembly is operated using both sinusoidal and square waveform biases of +/-350 V at frequencies of 4, 10, 25, 125, and 225 kHz. Thrust is recorded for two separate thruster configurations: with and without the magnetic filter. No thrust is discernable during thruster operation without the magnetic filter for any volumetric flow rate, RF forward Power level, or acceleration grid biasing scheme. For the full thruster configuration, with the magnetic filter installed, a brief burst of thrust of approximately 3.75 mN +/- 3 mN of error is observed at the start of grid operation for a volumetric flow rate of 24 sccm at 350 W RF power using a sinusoidal waveform grid bias at 125 kHz and +/- 350 V

  20. Experimental evidence of space charge driven resonances in high intensity linear accelerators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jeon, Dong-O.

    2016-01-01

    In the construction of high intensity accelerators, it is the utmost goal to minimize the beam loss by avoiding or minimizing contributions of various halo formation mechanisms. As a halo formation mechanism, space charge driven resonances are well known for circular accelerators. However, the recent finding showed that even in linear accelerators the space charge potential can excite the 4 σ =360 ° fourth order resonance [D. Jeon et al., Phys. Rev. ST Accel. Beams 12, 054204 (2009)]. This study increased the interests in space charge driven resonances of linear accelerators. Experimental studies of the space charge driven resonances of high intensity linear accelerators are rare as opposed to the multitude of simulation studies. This paper presents an experimental evidence of the space charge driven 4 σ =360 ° resonance and the 2 σx (y )-2 σz=0 resonance of a high intensity linear accelerator through beam profile measurements from multiple wire-scanners. Measured beam profiles agree well with the characteristics of the space charge driven 4 σ =360 ° resonance and the 2 σx (y )-2 σz=0 resonance that are predicted by the simulation.

  1. RF micro-discharge thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunaevsky, Alexander; Fisch, Nathaniel

    2004-11-01

    Propulsion devices for spacecrafts with masses of several tens to one hundred kilograms are in an increasing demand. These devices should provide thrust of a few mN and specific impulse of about 1000 s at the total power consumption of several tens of W. In search of an alternative solution for lower power range, we investigated an rf discharge initiated in a sub-millimeter capillary fed by a gaseous propellant. In such a discharge, it is possible to heat plasma electrons up to temperatures of ˜ 20-30 eV. Steep density drop at the open end of the capillary should be a reason of the formation of a double layer, were the discharge ions are accelerated to energies of ˜5Te. A laboratory prototype demonstrated stable operation at the argon flow rate of 4-10 sccm. The discharge was powered by a 2 MHz rf generator. Power consumption of the discharge was about 16 W. Ionization rate was moderate due to nonoptimal electrode configuration, which resulted in the propellant utilization of 6-11%. Relatively wide plume angle of ˜130 degrees indicates that the acceleration region is placed outside the capillary and has a convex shape. Stability and parameters of the discharge depends on the material of the capillary channel. Among advantages of the rf micro-discharge thruster are simplicity, small size, and absence of cathode-neutralizer. Being optimized, the rf micro-discharge thruster seems very promising propulsion device for sub-mN thrust range.

  2. Krypton ion thruster performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, Michael J.; Williams, George J., Jr.

    1992-01-01

    Preliminary data were obtained from a 30 cm ion thruster operating on krypton propellant over the input power range of 0.4-5.5 kW. The data are presented, and compared and contrasted to those obtained with xenon propellant over the same input power envelope. Typical krypton thruster efficiency was 70 percent at a specific impulse of approximately 5000 s, with a maximum demonstrated thrust-to-power ratio of approximately 42 mN/kW at 2090 s specific impulse and 1580 watts input power. Critical thruster performance and component lifetime issues were evaluated. Order-of-magnitude power throttling was demonstrated using a simplified power-throttling strategy.

  3. Krypton Ion Thruster Performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, Michael J.; Williams, George J.

    1992-01-01

    Preliminary data were obtained from a 30 cm ion thruster operating on krypton propellant over the input power range of 0.4 to 5.5 kW. The data presented are compared and contrasted to the data obtained with xenon propellant over the same input power envelope. Typical krypton thruster efficiency was 70 percent at a specific impulse of approximately 5000 s, with a maximum demonstrated thrust to power ratio of approximately 42 mN/kW at 2090 s specific impulse and 1580 watts input power. Critical thruster performance and component lifetime issues were evaluated. Order of magnitude power throttling was demonstrated using a simplified power-throttling strategy.

  4. Inert gas ion thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ramsey, W. D.

    1980-01-01

    Inert gas performance with three types of 12 cm diameter magnetoelectrostatic containment (MESC) ion thrusters was tested. The types tested included: (1) a hemispherical shaped discharge chamber with platinum cobalt magnets; (2) three different lengths of the hemispherical chambers with samarium cobalt magnets; and (3) three lengths of the conical shaped chambers with aluminum nickel cobalt magnets. The best argon performance was produced by a 8.0 cm long conical chamber with alnico magnets. The best xenon high mass utilization performance was obtained with the same 8.0 cm long conical thruster. The hemispherical thruster obtained 75 to 87% mass utilization at 185 to 205 eV/ion of singly charged ion equivalent beam.

  5. Assessment of Spectroscopic, Real-time Ion Thruster Grid Erosion-rate Measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Domonkos, Matthew T.; Stevens, Richard E.

    2000-01-01

    The success of the ion thruster on the Deep Space One mission has opened the gate to the use of primary ion propulsion. Many of the projected planetary missions require throughput and specific impulse beyond those qualified to date. Spectroscopic, real-time ion thruster grid erosion-rate measurements are currently in development at the NASA Glenn Research Center. A preliminary investigation of the emission spectra from an NSTAR derivative thruster with titanium grid was conducted. Some titanium lines were observed in the discharge chamber; however, the signals were too weak to estimate the erosion of the screen grid. Nevertheless, this technique appears to be the only non-intrusive real-time means to evaluate screen grid erosion, and improvement of the collection optics is proposed. Direct examination of the erosion species using laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) was determined to be the best method for a real-time accelerator grid erosion diagnostic. An approach for a quantitative LIF diagnostic was presented.

  6. Ion thruster system (8-cm) cyclic endurance test

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dulgeroff, C. R.; Beattie, J. R.; Poeschel, R. L.; Hyman, J., Jr.

    1984-01-01

    This report describes the qualification test of an Engineering-Model 5-mN-thrust 8-cm-diameter mercury ion thruster which is representative of the Ion Auxiliary Propulsion System (IAPS) thrusters. Two of these thrusters are scheduled for future flight test. The cyclic endurance test described herein was a ground-based test performed in a vacuum facility with a liquid-nitrogen-cooled cryo-surface and a frozen mercury target. The Power Electronics Unit, Beam Shield, Gimal, and Propellant Tank that were used with the thruster in the endurance test are also similar to those of the IAPS. The IAPS thruster that will undergo the longest beam-on-time during the actual space test will be subjected to 7,055 hours of beam-on-time and 2,557 cycles during the flight test. The endurance test was successfully concluded when the mercury in the IAPS Propellant Tank was consumed. At that time, 8,471 hours of beam-on-time and 599 cycles had been accumulated. Subsequent post-test-evaluation operations were performed (without breaking vacuum) which extended the test values to 652 cycles and 9,489 hours of beam-on-time. The Power Electronic Unit (PEU) and thruster were in the same vacuum chamber throughout the test. The PEU accumulated 10,268 hr of test time with high voltage applied to the operating thruster or dummy load.

  7. Global model of an iodine gridded plasma thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grondein, P.; Lafleur, T.; Chabert, P.; Aanesland, A.

    2016-03-01

    Most state-of-the-art electric space propulsion systems such as gridded and Hall effect thrusters use xenon as the propellant gas. However, xenon is very rare, expensive to produce, and used in a number of competing industrial applications. Alternatives to xenon are currently being investigated, and iodine has emerged as a potential candidate. Its lower cost and larger availability, its solid state at standard temperature and pressure, its low vapour pressure and its low ionization potential make it an attractive option. In this work, we compare the performances of a gridded ion thruster operating separately with iodine and xenon, under otherwise identical conditions using a global model. The thruster discharge properties such as neutral, ion, and electron densities and electron temperature are calculated, as well as the thruster performance parameters such as thrust, specific impulse, and system efficiencies. For similar operating conditions, representative of realistic thrusters, the model predicts similar thrust levels and performances for both iodine and xenon. The thruster efficiency is however slightly higher for iodine compared with xenon, due to its lower ionization potential. This demonstrates that iodine could be a viable alternative propellant for gridded plasma thrusters.

  8. Measurement and Data Distribution for Microgravity Accelerations on the International Space Station

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McPherson, Kevin; Hrovat, Kenneth

    1999-01-01

    Two accelerometer systems will be available on the International Space Station to support microgravity payloads with information about the quasi-steady and vibratory acceleration environment of the research facilities. The Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System will record contributions to the quasi-steady microgravity environment, including the influences of aerodynamic drag, vehicle rotation, and venting effects. The Space Acceleration Measurement System-II will measure vibratory disturbances on-board due to vehicle, crew, and equipment disturbances. Due to the dynamic nature of the microgravity environment and its potential to influence sensitive experiments, NASA's Principal Investigator Microgravity Services project has initiated a plan through which the data from these instruments will be distributed to researchers in a timely and meaningful fashion. Beyond the obvious benefit of correlation between accelerations and the scientific phenomena being studied, such information is also useful for hardware developers who can gain qualitative and quantitative feedback about their facility acceleration output to station.

  9. High Power MPD Thruster Development at the NASA Glenn Research Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    LaPointe, Michael R.; Mikellides, Pavlos G.; Reddy, Dhanireddy (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Propulsion requirements for large platform orbit raising, cargo and piloted planetary missions, and robotic deep space exploration have rekindled interest in the development and deployment of high power electromagnetic thrusters. Magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters can effectively process megawatts of power over a broad range of specific impulse values to meet these diverse in-space propulsion requirements. As NASA's lead center for electric propulsion, the Glenn Research Center has established an MW-class pulsed thruster test facility and is refurbishing a high-power steady-state facility to design, build, and test efficient gas-fed MPD thrusters. A complimentary numerical modeling effort based on the robust MACH2 code provides a well-balanced program of numerical analysis and experimental validation leading to improved high power MPD thruster performance. This paper reviews the current and planned experimental facilities and numerical modeling capabilities at the Glenn Research Center and outlines program plans for the development of new, efficient high power MPD thrusters.

  10. Microwave ECR Ion Thruster Development Activities at NASA Glenn Research Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Foster, John E.; Patterson, Michael J.

    2002-01-01

    Outer solar system missions will have propulsion system lifetime requirements well in excess of that which can be satisfied by ion thrusters utilizing conventional hollow cathode technology. To satisfy such mission requirements, other technologies must be investigated. One possible approach is to utilize electrodeless plasma production schemes. Such an approach has seen low power application less than 1 kW on earth-space spacecraft such as ARTEMIS which uses the rf thruster the RIT 10 and deep space missions such as MUSES-C which will use a microwave ion thruster. Microwave and rf thruster technologies are compared. A microwave-based ion thruster is investigated for potential high power ion thruster systems requiring very long lifetimes.

  11. Inert gas ion thruster development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ramsey, W. D.

    1980-01-01

    Two 12 cm magneto-electrostatic containment (MESC) ion thrusters were performance mapped with argon and xenon. The first, hexagonal, thruster produced optimized performance of 48.5to 79 percent argon mass utilization efficiencies at discharge energies of 240 to 425 eV/ion, respectively, Xenon mass utilization efficiencies of 78 to 95 percent were observed at discharge energies of 220 to 290 eV/ion with the same optimized hexagonal thruster. Changes to the cathode baffle reduced the discharge anode potential during xenon operation from approximately 40 volts to about 30 volts. Preliminary tests conducted with the second, hemispherical, MESC thruster showed a nonuniform anode magnetic field adversely affected thruster performance. This performance degradation was partially overcome by changes in the boundary anode placement. Conclusions drawn the hemispherical thruster tests gave insights into the plasma processes in the MESC discharge that will aid in the design of future thrusters.

  12. Deformed phase space Kaluza-Klein cosmology and late time acceleration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sabido, M.; Yee-Romero, C.

    2016-06-01

    The effects of phase space deformations on Kaluza-Klein cosmology are studied. The deformation is introduced by modifying the symplectic structure of the minisuperspace variables. In the deformed model, we find an accelerating scale factor and therefore infer the existence of an effective cosmological constant from the phase space deformation parameter β.

  13. Accelerating k-t sparse using k-space aliasing for dynamic MRI imaging.

    PubMed

    Pawar, Kamlesh; Egan, Gary F; Zhang, Jingxin

    2013-01-01

    Dynamic imaging is challenging in MRI and acceleration techniques are usually needed to acquire dynamic scene. K-t sparse is an acceleration technique based on compressed sensing, it acquires fewer amounts of data in k-t space by pseudo random ordering of phase encodes and reconstructs dynamic scene by exploiting sparsity of k-t space in transform domain. Another recently introduced technique accelerates dynamic MRI scans by acquiring k-space data in aliased form. K-space aliasing technique uses multiple RF excitation pulses to deliberately acquire aliased k-space data. During reconstruction a simple Fourier transformation along time frames can unaliase the acquired aliased data. This paper presents a novel method to combine k-t sparse and k-space aliasing to achieve higher acceleration than each of the individual technique alone. In this particular combination, a very critical factor of compressed sensing, the ratio of the number of acquired phase encodes to the number of total phase encode (n/N) increases therefore compressed sensing component of reconstruction performs exceptionally well. Comparison of k-t sparse and the proposed technique for acceleration factors of 4, 6 and 8 is demonstrated in simulation on cardiac data.

  14. Performance Evaluation of the Prototype Model NEXT Ion Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herman, Daniel A.; Soulas, George C.; Patterson, Michael J.

    2008-01-01

    The performance testing results of the first prototype model NEXT ion engine, PM1, are presented. The NEXT program has developed the next generation ion propulsion system to enhance and enable Discovery, New Frontiers, and Flagship-type NASA missions. The PM1 thruster exhibits operational behavior consistent with its predecessors, the engineering model thrusters, with substantial mass savings, enhanced thermal margins, and design improvements for environmental testing compliance. The dry mass of PM1 is 12.7 kg. Modifications made in the thruster design have resulted in improved performance and operating margins, as anticipated. PM1 beginning-of-life performance satisfies all of the electric propulsion thruster mission-derived technical requirements. It demonstrates a wide range of throttleability by processing input power levels from 0.5 to 6.9 kW. At 6.9 kW, the PM1 thruster demonstrates specific impulse of 4190 s, 237 mN of thrust, and a thrust efficiency of 0.71. The flat beam profile, flatness parameters vary from 0.66 at low-power to 0.88 at full-power, and advanced ion optics reduce localized accelerator grid erosion and increases margins for electron backstreaming, impingement-limited voltage, and screen grid ion transparency. The thruster throughput capability is predicted to exceed 750 kg of xenon, an equivalent of 36,500 hr of continuous operation at the full-power operating condition.

  15. Preliminary tests of the electrostatic plasma accelerator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Aston, G.; Acker, T.

    1990-01-01

    This report describes the results of a program to verify an electrostatic plasma acceleration concept and to identify those parameters most important in optimizing an Electrostatic Plasma Accelerator (EPA) thruster based upon this thrust mechanism. Preliminary performance measurements of thrust, specific impulse and efficiency were obtained using a unique plasma exhaust momentum probe. Reliable EPA thruster operation was achieved using one power supply.

  16. Throttling Impacts on Hall Thruster Performance, Erosion, and Qualification for NASA Science Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dankanich, John W.; DeHoyos, Amado

    2007-01-01

    With the SMART-1, Department of Defense, and commercial industry successes in Hall thruster technologies, NASA has started considering Hall thrusters for science missions. The recent Discovery proposals included a Hall thruster science mission and the In-Space Propulsion Project is investing in Hall thruster technologies. As the confidence in Hall thrusters improve, ambitious multi-thruster missions are being considered. Science missions often require large throttling ranges due to the 1/r(sup 2) power drop-off from the sun. Deep throttling of Hall thrusters will impact the overall system performance. Also, Hall thrusters can be throttled with both current and voltage, impacting erosion rates and performance. Last, electric propulsion thruster lifetime qualification has previously been conducted with long duration full power tests. Full power tests may not be appropriate for NASA science missions, and a combination of lifetime testing at various power levels with sufficient analysis is recommended. Analyses of various science missions and throttling schemes using the Aerojet BPT-4000 and NASA 103M HiVHAC thruster are presented.

  17. Comparisons in Performance of Electromagnet and Permanent-Magnet Cylindrical Hall-Effect Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polzin, K. A.; Raitses, Y.; Gayoso, J. C.; Fisch, N. J.

    2010-01-01

    Three different low-power cylindrical Hall thrusters, which more readily lend themselves to miniaturization and low-power operation than a conventional (annular) Hall thruster, are compared to evaluate the propulsive performance of each. One thruster uses electromagnet coils to produce the magnetic field within the discharge channel while the others use permanent magnets, promising power reduction relative to the electromagnet thruster. A magnetic screen is added to the permanent magnet thruster to improve performance by keeping the magnetic field from expanding into space beyond the exit of the thruster. The combined dataset spans a power range from 50-350 W. The thrust levels over this range were 1.3-7.3 mN, with thruster efficiencies and specific impulses spanning 3.5-28.7% and 400-1940 s, respectively. The efficiency is generally higher for the permanent magnet thruster with the magnetic screen, while That thruster s specific impulse as a function of discharge voltage is comparable to the electromagnet thruster.

  18. Performance of a Low-Power Cylindrical Hall Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polzin, Kurt A.; Markusic, Thomas E.; Stanojev, Boris J.; Dehoyos, Amado; Raitses, Yevgeny; Smirnov, Artem; Fisch, Nathaniel J.

    2007-01-01

    Recent mission studies have shown that a Hall thruster which operates at relatively constant thrust efficiency (45-55%) over a broad power range (300W - 3kW) is enabling for deep space science missions when compared with slate-of-the-art ion thrusters. While conventional (annular) Hall thrusters can operate at high thrust efficiency at kW power levels, it is difficult to construct one that operates over a broad power envelope down to 0 (100 W) while maintaining relatively high efficiency. In this note we report the measured performance (I(sub sp), thrust and efficiency) of a cylindrical Hall thruster operating at 0 (100 W) input power.

  19. Modeling Common Cause Failures of Thrusters on ISS Visiting Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haught, Megan

    2014-01-01

    This paper discusses the methodology used to model common cause failures of thrusters on the International Space Station (ISS) Visiting Vehicles. The ISS Visiting Vehicles each have as many as 32 thrusters, whose redundancy makes them susceptible to common cause failures. The Global Alpha Model (as described in NUREG/CR-5485) can be used to represent the system common cause contribution, but NUREG/CR-5496 supplies global alpha parameters for groups only up to size six. Because of the large number of redundant thrusters on each vehicle, regression is used to determine parameter values for groups of size larger than six. An additional challenge is that Visiting Vehicle thruster failures must occur in specific combinations in order to fail the propulsion system; not all failure groups of a certain size are critical.

  20. Modeling Common Cause Failures of Thrusters on ISS Visiting Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haught, Megan; Duncan, Gary

    2014-01-01

    This paper discusses the methodology used to model common cause failures of thrusters on the International Space Station (ISS) Visiting Vehicles. The ISS Visiting Vehicles each have as many as 32 thrusters, whose redundancy and similar design make them susceptible to common cause failures. The Global Alpha Model (as described in NUREG/CR-5485) can be used to represent the system common cause contribution, but NUREG/CR-5496 supplies global alpha parameters for groups only up to size six. Because of the large number of redundant thrusters on each vehicle, regression is used to determine parameter values for groups of size larger than six. An additional challenge is that Visiting Vehicle thruster failures must occur in specific combinations in order to fail the propulsion system; not all failure groups of a certain size are critical.

  1. Erosion Measurements in a Diverging Cusped-Field Thruster (Pre Print)

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-02-01

    Ion Velocity Measurements Within the Acceleration Channel of a Low-Power Hall Thruster,” Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on, Vol. 36, No. 5...Measurements Within the Acceleration Channel of a Low-Power Hall Thruster,” Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on, Vol. 38, No. 4, April 2010, pp. 1052...etry,” Physics of Plasmas , Vol. 18, 2011, pp. 033509. 62 Dunaevsky, A., Raitses, Y., and Fisch, N. J., “Secondary Electron Emission from Dielectric

  2. Accelerating molecular property calculations with nonorthonormal Krylov space methods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Furche, Filipp; Krull, Brandon T.; Nguyen, Brian D.; Kwon, Jake

    2016-05-01

    We formulate Krylov space methods for large eigenvalue problems and linear equation systems that take advantage of decreasing residual norms to reduce the cost of matrix-vector multiplication. The residuals are used as subspace basis without prior orthonormalization, which leads to generalized eigenvalue problems or linear equation systems on the Krylov space. These nonorthonormal Krylov space (nKs) algorithms are favorable for large matrices with irregular sparsity patterns whose elements are computed on the fly, because fewer operations are necessary as the residual norm decreases as compared to the conventional method, while errors in the desired eigenpairs and solution vectors remain small. We consider real symmetric and symplectic eigenvalue problems as well as linear equation systems and Sylvester equations as they appear in configuration interaction and response theory. The nKs method can be implemented in existing electronic structure codes with minor modifications and yields speed-ups of 1.2-1.8 in typical time-dependent Hartree-Fock and density functional applications without accuracy loss. The algorithm can compute entire linear subspaces simultaneously which benefits electronic spectra and force constant calculations requiring many eigenpairs or solution vectors. The nKs approach is related to difference density methods in electronic ground state calculations and particularly efficient for integral direct computations of exchange-type contractions. By combination with resolution-of-the-identity methods for Coulomb contractions, three- to fivefold speed-ups of hybrid time-dependent density functional excited state and response calculations are achieved.

  3. Accelerating molecular property calculations with nonorthonormal Krylov space methods

    SciTech Connect

    Furche, Filipp; Krull, Brandon T.; Nguyen, Brian D.; Kwon, Jake

    2016-05-03

    Here, we formulate Krylov space methods for large eigenvalue problems and linear equation systems that take advantage of decreasing residual norms to reduce the cost of matrix-vector multiplication. The residuals are used as subspace basis without prior orthonormalization, which leads to generalized eigenvalue problems or linear equation systems on the Krylov space. These nonorthonormal Krylov space (nKs) algorithms are favorable for large matrices with irregular sparsity patterns whose elements are computed on the fly, because fewer operations are necessary as the residual norm decreases as compared to the conventional method, while errors in the desired eigenpairs and solution vectors remain small. We consider real symmetric and symplectic eigenvalue problems as well as linear equation systems and Sylvester equations as they appear in configuration interaction and response theory. The nKs method can be implemented in existing electronic structure codes with minor modifications and yields speed-ups of 1.2-1.8 in typical time-dependent Hartree-Fock and density functional applications without accuracy loss. The algorithm can compute entire linear subspaces simultaneously which benefits electronic spectra and force constant calculations requiring many eigenpairs or solution vectors. The nKs approach is related to difference density methods in electronic ground state calculations, and particularly efficient for integral direct computations of exchange-type contractions. By combination with resolution-of-the-identity methods for Coulomb contractions, three- to fivefold speed-ups of hybrid time-dependent density functional excited state and response calculations are achieved.

  4. A bibliography of electrothermal thruster technology, 1984

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sovey, J. S.; Hardy, T. L.; Englehart, M.

    1986-01-01

    Electrothermal propulsion concepts are briefly discussed as an introduction to a bibliography and author index. Nearly 700 citations are given for resistojets, thermal arcjets, pulsed electrothermal thrusters, microwave heated devices, solar thermal thrusters, and laser thermal thrusters.

  5. Low-Voltage Hall Thruster Mode Transitions

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-06-01

    Sci. Instrum. 81, 083504 (2010). 19 Brown, D. L., “ Electric Propulsion Test and Evaluation Methodologies for Plasma in the Environment of Space and... Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and University of Michigan (UM) to serve as a standardized test -bed for Hall thruster physics research, and is based on...150-A AMREL HPS1000-150 DC power supply in-line with a low-pass filter. The filter was located outside the facility near the electrical feed-through

  6. Cosmic-Ray Accelerators in Milky Way studied with the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope

    SciTech Connect

    Kamae, Tuneyoshi; /SLAC /KIPAC, Menlo Park

    2012-05-04

    High-energy gamma-ray astrophysics is now situated at a confluence of particle physics, plasma physics and traditional astrophysics. Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (FGST) and upgraded Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes (IACTs) have been invigorating this interdisciplinary area of research. Among many new developments, I focus on two types of cosmic accelerators in the Milky-Way galaxy (pulsar, pulsar wind nebula, and supernova remnants) and explain discoveries related to cosmic-ray acceleration.

  7. Design and Testing of a Small Inductive Pulsed Plasma Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Martin, Adam K.; Dominguez, Alexandra; Eskridge, Richard H.; Polzin, Kurt A.; Riley, Daniel P.; Perdue, Kevin A.

    2015-01-01

    The design and testing of a small inductive pulsed plasma thruster (IPPT) is described. The device was built as a test-bed for the pulsed gas-valves and solid-state switches required for a thruster of this kind, and was designed to be modular to facilitate modification. The thruster in its present configuration consists of a multi-turn, spiral-wound acceleration coil (270 millimeters outer diameter, 100 millimeters inner diameter) driven by a 10 microfarad capacitor and switched with a high-voltage thyristor, a propellant delivery system including a fast pulsed gas-valve, and a glow-discharge pre-ionizer circuit. The acceleration coil circuit may be operated at voltages up to 4 kilovolts (the thyristor limit is 4.5 kilovolts) and the thruster operated at cyclic-rates up to 30 Herz. Initial testing of the thruster, both bench-top and in-vacuum, has been performed. Cyclic operation of the complete device was demonstrated (at 2 Herz), and a number of valuable insights pertaining to the design of these devices have been gained.

  8. Thrust Stand Measurements of a Conical Pulsed Inductive Plasma Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hallock, Ashley K.; Polzin, Kurt A.; Emsellem, Gregory D.

    2012-01-01

    Pulsed inductive plasma thrusters [1-3] are spacecraft propulsion devices in which electrical energy is capacitively stored and then discharged through an inductive coil. The thruster is electrodeless, with a time-varying current in the coil interacting with a plasma covering the face of the coil to induce a plasma current. Propellant is accelerated and expelled at a high exhaust velocity (O(10-100 km/s)) by the Lorentz body force arising from the interaction of the magnetic field and the induced plasma current. While this class of thruster mitigates the life-limiting issues associated with electrode erosion, pulsed inductive plasma thrusters can su er from both high pulse energy requirements imposed by the voltage demands of inductive propellant ionization, and low propellant utilization efficiencies. The Microwave Assisted Discharge Inductive Plasma Accelerator (MAD-IPA)[4], shown in Fig. 1 is a pulsed inductive plasma thruster that is able to operate at lower pulse energies by partially ionizing propellant with an electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) discharge inside a conical inductive coil whose geometry serves to potentially increase propellant and plasma plume containment relative to at coil geometries. The ECR plasma is created with the use of permanent mag- nets arranged to produce a thin resonance region along the inner surface of the coil, restricting plasma formation and, in turn, current sheet formation to areas of high magnetic coupling to the driving coil.

  9. NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) Long-Duration Test as of 736 kg of Propellant Throughput

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shastry, Rohit; Herman, Daniel A.; Soulas, George C.; Patterson, Michael J.

    2012-01-01

    The NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) program is developing the next-generation solar-electric ion propulsion system with significant enhancements beyond the state-of-the-art NASA Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Application Readiness (NSTAR) ion propulsion system to provide future NASA science missions with enhanced mission capabilities. A Long-Duration Test (LDT) was initiated in June 2005 to validate the thruster service life modeling and to qualify the thruster propellant throughput capability. The thruster has set electric propulsion records for the longest operating duration, highest propellant throughput, and most total impulse demonstrated. At the time of this publication, the NEXT LDT has surpassed 42,100 h of operation, processed more than 736 kg of xenon propellant, and demonstrated greater than 28.1 MN s total impulse. Thruster performance has been steady with negligible degradation. The NEXT thruster design has mitigated several lifetime limiting mechanisms encountered in the NSTAR design, including the NSTAR first failure mode, thereby drastically improving thruster capabilities. Component erosion rates and the progression of the predicted life-limiting erosion mechanism for the thruster compare favorably to pretest predictions based upon semi-empirical ion thruster models used in the thruster service life assessment. Service life model validation has been accomplished by the NEXT LDT. Assuming full-power operation until test article failure, the models and extrapolated erosion data predict penetration of the accelerator grid grooves after more than 45,000 hours of operation while processing over 800 kg of xenon propellant. Thruster failure due to degradation of the accelerator grid structural integrity is expected after

  10. NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) Long-Duration Test as of 736 kg of Propellant Throughput

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shastry, Rohit; Herman, Daniel A.; Soulas, George C.; Patterson, Michael J.

    2012-01-01

    The NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) program is developing the next-generation solar-electric ion propulsion system with significant enhancements beyond the state-of-the-art NASA Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Application Readiness (NSTAR) ion propulsion system to provide future NASA science missions with enhanced mission capabilities. A Long-Duration Test (LDT) was initiated in June 2005 to validate the thruster service life modeling and to qualify the thruster propellant throughput capability. The thruster has set electric propulsion records for the longest operating duration, highest propellant throughput, and most total impulse demonstrated. At the time of this publication, the NEXT LDT has surpassed 42,100 h of operation, processed more than 736 kg of xenon propellant, and demonstrated greater than 28.1 MN s total impulse. Thruster performance has been steady with negligible degradation. The NEXT thruster design has mitigated several lifetime limiting mechanisms encountered in the NSTAR design, including the NSTAR first failure mode, thereby drastically improving thruster capabilities. Component erosion rates and the progression of the predicted life-limiting erosion mechanism for the thruster compare favorably to pretest predictions based upon semi-empirical ion thruster models used in the thruster service life assessment. Service life model validation has been accomplished by the NEXT LDT. Assuming full-power operation until test article failure, the models and extrapolated erosion data predict penetration of the accelerator grid grooves after more than 45,000 hours of operation while processing over 800 kg of xenon propellant. Thruster failure due to degradation of the accelerator grid structural integrity is expected after groove penetration.

  11. Accelerating molecular property calculations with nonorthonormal Krylov space methods

    DOE PAGES

    Furche, Filipp; Krull, Brandon T.; Nguyen, Brian D.; ...

    2016-05-03

    Here, we formulate Krylov space methods for large eigenvalue problems and linear equation systems that take advantage of decreasing residual norms to reduce the cost of matrix-vector multiplication. The residuals are used as subspace basis without prior orthonormalization, which leads to generalized eigenvalue problems or linear equation systems on the Krylov space. These nonorthonormal Krylov space (nKs) algorithms are favorable for large matrices with irregular sparsity patterns whose elements are computed on the fly, because fewer operations are necessary as the residual norm decreases as compared to the conventional method, while errors in the desired eigenpairs and solution vectors remainmore » small. We consider real symmetric and symplectic eigenvalue problems as well as linear equation systems and Sylvester equations as they appear in configuration interaction and response theory. The nKs method can be implemented in existing electronic structure codes with minor modifications and yields speed-ups of 1.2-1.8 in typical time-dependent Hartree-Fock and density functional applications without accuracy loss. The algorithm can compute entire linear subspaces simultaneously which benefits electronic spectra and force constant calculations requiring many eigenpairs or solution vectors. The nKs approach is related to difference density methods in electronic ground state calculations, and particularly efficient for integral direct computations of exchange-type contractions. By combination with resolution-of-the-identity methods for Coulomb contractions, three- to fivefold speed-ups of hybrid time-dependent density functional excited state and response calculations are achieved.« less

  12. Correlated histogram representation of Monte Carlo derived medical accelerator photon-output phase space

    DOEpatents

    Schach Von Wittenau, Alexis E.

    2003-01-01

    A method is provided to represent the calculated phase space of photons emanating from medical accelerators used in photon teletherapy. The method reproduces the energy distributions and trajectories of the photons originating in the bremsstrahlung target and of photons scattered by components within the accelerator head. The method reproduces the energy and directional information from sources up to several centimeters in radial extent, so it is expected to generalize well to accelerators made by different manufacturers. The method is computationally both fast and efficient overall sampling efficiency of 80% or higher for most field sizes. The computational cost is independent of the number of beams used in the treatment plan.

  13. Advanced Hall Electric Propulsion for Future In-space Transportation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven R.; Sankovic, John M.

    2001-01-01

    The Hall thruster is an electric propulsion device used for multiple in-space applications including orbit raising, on-orbit maneuvers, and de-orbit functions. These in-space propulsion functions are currently performed by toxic hydrazine monopropellant or hydrazine derivative/nitrogen tetroxide bi-propellant thrusters. The Hall thruster operates nominally in the 1500 sec specific impulse regime. It provides greater thrust to power than conventional gridded ion engines, thus reducing trip times and operational life when compared to that technology in Earth orbit applications. The technology in the far term, by adding a second acceleration stage, has shown promise of providing over 4000s Isp, the regime of the gridded ion engine and necessary for deep space applications. The Hall thruster system consists of three parts, the thruster, the power processor, and the propellant system. The technology is operational and commercially available at the 1.5 kW power level and 5 kW application is underway. NASA is looking toward 10 kW and eventually 50 kW-class engines for ambitious space transportation applications. The former allows launch vehicle step-down for GEO missions and demanding planetary missions such as Europa Lander, while the latter allows quick all-electric propulsion LEO to GEO transfers and non-nuclear transportation human Mars missions.

  14. HG ion thruster component testing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mantenieks, M. A.

    1979-01-01

    Cathodes, isolators, and vaporizers are critical components in determining the performance and lifetime of mercury ion thrusters. The results of life tests of several of these components are reported. A 30-cm thruster CIV test in a bell jar has successfully accumulated over 26,000 hours. The cathode has undergone 65 restarts during the life test without requiring any appreciable increases in starting power. Recently, all restarts have been achieved with only the 44 volt keeper supply with no change required in the starting power. Another ongoing 30-cm Hg thruster cathode test has successfully passed the 10,000 hour mark. A solid-insert, 8-cm thruster cathode has accumulated over 4,000 hours of thruster operation. All starts have been achieved without the use of a high voltage ignitor. The results of this test indicate that the solid impregnated insert is a viable neutralizer cathode for the 8-cm thruster.

  15. The Plasmoid Thruster Experiment (PTX)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eskridge, R.; Martin, Adam; Lee, Michael; Smith, James; Koelfgen, Syri

    2003-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation describes the overall Plasma Thruster Experiment (PTX), it's purpose and design, compact toroid propulsion, advantages and requirements of a plasmoid thruster, the projected efficiency, theta-pinch formation, a simulation of the PTX Coil/Bank Circuit using SPICE, the test firing of the PTX Capacitor Bank, PTX diagnostics, the excluded flux array, thruster simulations using MOQUI, and future work on the PTX.

  16. Colloid micro-Newton thruster development for the ST7-DRS and LISA missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ziemer, John K.; Gamero-Castano, Manuel; Hruby, Vlad; Spence, Doug; Demmons, Nate; McCormick, Ryan; Roy, Tom

    2005-01-01

    We present recent progress and development of the Busek Colloid Micro-Newton Thruster (CMNT) for the Space Technology 7 Disturbance Reduction System (ST7-DRS) and Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) Missions.

  17. Effects of rectilinear acceleration, optokinetic and caloric stimuli in space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vonbaumgarten, R.

    1981-01-01

    The set of experiments comprising the Spacelab 1ES201 package designed to investigate the human vestibular system and equilibratory function in weightlessness are described. The specific objectives of the experiments include: (1) the determination of the threshold of perception of linear oscillatory motion; (2) measurement of physiological and subjective responses to supra threshold, linear and angular motion stimuli; (3) study of the postural adjustments, eye movements, and illusions of attitude and motion evoked by optokinetic stimuli, (i.e., moving visual patterns) in order to assess visual/vestibular interactions; (4) examination of the effect of thermal stimulations of the vestibular apparatus to determine if the eye movements elicited by the 'caloric test' are used by a density gradient in the semicircular canal; and (5) investigation of the pathogenesis of space motion sickness by recording signs and symptoms during the course of vestibular stimulation and, specifically, when the test subject is exposed to sustained, linear oscillatory motion.

  18. NSTAR Ion Thrusters and Power Processors

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bond, T. A.; Christensen, J. A.

    1999-01-01

    The purpose of the NASA Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Applications Readiness (NSTAR) project is to validate ion propulsion technology for use on future NASA deep space missions. This program, which was initiated in September 1995, focused on the development of two sets of flight quality ion thrusters, power processors, and controllers that provided the same performance as engineering model hardware and also met the dynamic and environmental requirements of the Deep Space 1 Project. One of the flight sets was used for primary propulsion for the Deep Space 1 spacecraft which was launched in October 1998.

  19. Thruster sealing system and apparatus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Svejkovsky, Paul A. (Inventor)

    1992-01-01

    A thruster nozzle sealing system and apparatus is provided for protection of spacecraft thruster motors. The system includes a sealing plug, a sealing plug insertion tool, an outer cover, an outer cover attachment, and a ferry flight attachment. The sealing plug prevents moisture from entering the thruster engine so as to prevent valve failure. The attachments are interchangeably connectable with the sealing plug. The ferry flight attachment is used during air transportation of the spacecraft, and the outer cover attachment is used during storage and service of the spacecraft. The outer cover provides protection to the thruster nozzle from mechanical damage.

  20. Multimegawatt MPD thruster design considerations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Myers, Roger M.; Parkes, James E.; Mantenieks, Maris A.

    1992-01-01

    Performance and lifetime requirements for multimegawatt magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters were used to establish a baseline 2.5 MW thruster design. The chamber surface power deposition resulting from current conduction, plasma and surface radiation, and conduction from the hot plasma was then evaluated to establish the feasibility of thruster operation. It was determined that state of the art lithium heat pipes were adequate to cool the anode electrode, and that the liquid hydrogen propellant could be used to cool the applied field magnet, cathode, and backplate. Unresolved issues having an impact of thruster design are discussed to help focus future research.

  1. Plasma Measurements in an Integrated-System FARAD Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polzin, K. A.; Rose, M. F.; Miller, R.; Best, S.

    2007-01-01

    Pulsed inductive plasma accelerators are spacecraft propulsion devices in which energy is stored in a capacitor and then discharged through an inductive coil. The device is electrodeless, inducing a current sheet in a plasma located near the face of the coil. The propellant is accelerated and expelled at a high exhaust velocity (order of 10 km/s) through the interaction of the plasma current and the induced magnetic field. The Faraday Accelerator with RF-Assisted Discharge (FARAD) thruster[1,2] is a type of pulsed inductive plasma accelerator in which the plasma is preionized by a mechanism separate from that used to form the current sheet and accelerate the gas. Employing a separate preionization mechanism allows for the formation of an inductive current sheet at much lower discharge energies and voltages than those used in previous pulsed inductive accelerators like the Pulsed Inductive Thruster (PIT). A benchtop FARAD thruster was designed following guidelines and similarity performance parameters presented in Refs. [3,4]. This design is described in detail in Ref. [5]. In this paper, we present the temporally and spatially resolved measurements of the preionized plasma and inductively-accelerated current sheet in the FARAD thruster operating with a Vector Inversion Generator (VIG) to preionize the gas and a Bernardes and Merryman circuit topology to provide inductive acceleration. The acceleration stage operates on the order of 100 J/pulse. Fast-framing photography will be used to produce a time-resolved, global view of the evolving current sheet. Local diagnostics used include a fast ionization gauge capable of mapping the gas distribution prior to plasma initiation; direct measurement of the induced magnetic field using B-dot probes, induced azimuthal current measurement using a mini-Rogowski coil, and direct probing of the number density and electron temperature using triple probes.

  2. Multi-Scale Modeling of Plasma Thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Batishchev, Oleg

    2004-11-01

    Plasma thrusters are characterized with multiple spatial and temporal scales, which are due to the intrinsic physical processes such as gas ionization, wall effects and plasma acceleration. Characteristic times for hot plasma and cold gas are differing by 6-7 orders of magnitude. The typical collisional mean-free-paths vary by 3-5 orders along the devices. These make questionable a true self-consistent modeling of the thrusters. The latter is vital to the understanding of complex physics, non-linear dynamics and optimization of the performance. To overcome this problem we propose the following approach. All processes are divided into two groups: fast and slow. The slow ones include gas evolution with known sources and ionization sink. The ionization rate, transport coefficients, energy sources are defined during "fast step". Both processes are linked through external iterations. Multiple spatial scales are handled using moving adaptive mesh. Development and application of this method to the VASIMR helicon plasma source and other thrusters will be discussed. Supported by NASA.

  3. Green Liquid Monopropellant Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Joshi, Prakash B.

    2015-01-01

    Physical Sciences, Inc. (PSI), and Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) are developing a unique chemical propulsion system for next-generation NASA science spacecraft and missions. The system is compact, lightweight, and can operate with high reliability over extended periods of time and under a wide range of thermal environments. The system uses a new storable, low-toxicity liquid monopropellant as its working fluid. In Phase I, the team demonstrated experimentally the critical ignition and combustion processes for the propellant and used the data to develop thruster design concepts. In Phase II, the team developed and demonstrated in the laboratory a proof-of-concept prototype thruster. A Phase III project is envisioned to develop a full-scale protoflight propulsion system applicable to a class of NASA missions.

  4. Wear characteristics from the extended lift test of the DS1 flight spare ion thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sengupta, A.; Brophy, J. R.; Goodfellow, K. D.

    2003-01-01

    An on-going life test of the Deep Space One flight spare ion thruster, is being conducted at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The thruster has operated for over 27,290 hours and processed in excess of 219 kg of xenon propellant.

  5. Design and development of the Army KE ASAT ACS thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Craddock, Jeff; Janeski, Bruce

    1993-06-01

    Increasingly ambitious missions for advanced kinetic energy (KE) weapons have necessitated the development of a lightweight storable-propellant attitude control system (ACS) thruster capable of very fast response and long duration firings. This paper summarizes the results of a ACS thruster design and development test effort, performed for the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command (USASSDC) on the KE Anti Satellite (KE ASAT) weapon system program. Design approaches used to achieve long-duration continuous firing with a composite combustion chamber are detailed. This design effort culminated in a 6.7 lbf. thruster assembly weighing less than 0.2 pounds, approximately one-sixth that of a conventional satellite ACS thruster. Results of tests of flightweight engines with nitrogen tetroxide and monomethyl hydrazine hypergolic propellants are included. The test series culminated in what is believed to be the industry's longest continuous firing of a composite combustion chamber. This thruster will be integrated into the KE ASAT kinetic vehicle for its first free-flight hover test in early FY94. The demonstrated fast response, high pulse performance, and long-duration capabilities of this engine suggest that this thruster can significantly increase the capability of other spacecraft.

  6. Pulsed Plasma Thruster Contamination

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Myers, Roger M.; Arrington, Lynn A.; Pencil, Eric J.; Carter, Justin; Heminger, Jason; Gatsonis, Nicolas

    1996-01-01

    Pulsed Plasma Thrusters (PPT's) are currently baselined for the Air Force Mightysat II.1 flight in 1999 and are under consideration for a number of other missions for primary propulsion, precision positioning, and attitude control functions. In this work, PPT plumes were characterized to assess their contamination characteristics. Diagnostics included planar and cylindrical Langmuir probes and a large number of collimated quartz contamination sensors. Measurements were made using a LES 8/9 flight PPT at 0.24, 0.39, 0.55, and 1.2 m from the thruster, as well as in the backflow region behind the thruster. Plasma measurements revealed a peak centerline ion density and velocity of approx. 6 x 10(exp 12) cm(exp -3) and 42,000 m/s, respectively. Optical transmittance measurements of the quartz sensors after 2 x 10(exp 5) pulses showed a rapid decrease in plume contamination with increasing angle from the plume axis, with a barely measurable transmittance decrease in the ultraviolet at 90 deg. No change in optical properties was detected for sensors in the backflow region.

  7. In-Space Propulsion Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Overview

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dankanich, John W.

    2006-12-01

    NASA’s In-space Propulsion Technology Project is developing new propulsion technologies that can enable or enhance near and mid-term NASA science missions. The solar electric propulsion technology area has been investing in NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT), the High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAC), lightweight reliable feed systems, wear testing and thruster modeling. These investments are specifically targeted to increase planetary science payload capability, expand the envelope of planetary science destinations, and significantly reduce the travel times, risk and cost of NASA planetary science missions. Current status and expected capabilities of the solar electric propulsion technologies will be discussed.

  8. A collisionless plasma thruster plume expansion model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Merino, Mario; Cichocki, Filippo; Ahedo, Eduardo

    2015-06-01

    A two-fluid model of the unmagnetized, collisionless far region expansion of the plasma plume for gridded ion thrusters and Hall effect thrusters is presented. The model is integrated into two semi-analytical solutions valid in the hypersonic case. These solutions are discussed and compared against the results from the (exact) method of characteristics; the relative errors in density and velocity increase slowly axially and radially and are of the order of 10-2-10-3 in the cases studied. The plasma density, ion flux and ambipolar electric field are investigated. A sensitivity analysis of the problem parameters and initial conditions is carried out in order to characterize the far plume divergence angle in the range of interest for space electric propulsion. A qualitative discussion of the physics of the secondary plasma plume is also provided.

  9. ECR-GDM Thruster for Fusion Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Brainerd, Jerome J.; Reisz, Al

    2009-03-16

    The concept of the Gasdynamic Mirror (GDM) device for fusion propulsion was proposed by and Lee (1995) over a decade ago and several theoretical papers has supported the feasibility of the concept. A new ECR plasma source has been built to supply power to the GDM experimental thruster previously tested at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). The new plasma generator, powered by microwaves at 2.45 or 10 GHz. is currently being tested. This ECR plasma source operates in a number of distinct plasma modes, depending upon the strength and shape of the local magnetic field. Of particular interest is the compact plasma jet issuing form the plasma generator when operated in a mirror configuration. The measured velocity profile in the jet plume is bimodal, possibly as a result of the GDM effect in the ECR chamber of the thruster.

  10. Measurement and Characterization of the Acceleration Environment on Board the Space Station

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baugher, Charles R. (Editor)

    1990-01-01

    This workshop provides a comprehensive overview of the work and status of each of these areas to provide a basis for establishing a systematic approach to the challenge of avoiding these difficulties during the Space Station era of materials experimentation. The discussions were arranged in the order of: the scientific understanding of the requirements for a micro-gravity environment, a history of acceleration measurements on spacecraft, the state of accelerometer technology, and the current understanding of the predicted Space Station environment.

  11. Segmented electrode hall thruster with reduced plume

    DOEpatents

    Fisch, Nathaniel J.; Raitses, Yevgeny

    2004-08-17

    An apparatus and method for thrusting plasma, utilizing a Hall thruster with segmented electrodes along the channel, which make the acceleration region as localized as possible. Also disclosed are methods of arranging the electrodes so as to minimize erosion and arcing. Also disclosed are methods of arranging the electrodes so as to produce a substantial reduction in plume divergence. The use of electrodes made of emissive material will reduce the radial potential drop within the channel, further decreasing the plume divergence. Also disclosed is a method of arranging and powering these electrodes so as to provide variable mode operation.

  12. Effect of Background Pressure on the Plasma Oscillation Characteristics of the HiVHAc Hall Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huang, Wensheng; Kamhawi, Hani; Lobbia, Robert B.; Brown, Daniel L.

    2014-01-01

    During a component compatibility test of the NASA HiVHAc Hall thruster, a number of plasma diagnostics were implemented to study the effect of varying facility background pressure on thruster operation. These diagnostics characterized the thruster performance, the plume, and the plasma oscillations in the thruster. Thruster performance and plume characteristics as functions of background pressure were previously published. This paper focuses on changes in the plasma oscillation characteristics with changing background pressure. The diagnostics used to study plasma oscillations include a high-speed camera and a set of high-speed Langmuir probes. The results show a rise in the oscillation frequency of the "breathing" mode with rising background pressure, which is hypothesized to be due to a shortening acceleration/ionization zone. An attempt is made to apply a simplified ingestion model to the data. The combined results are used to estimate the maximum acceptable background pressure for performance and wear testing.

  13. System for Coupling an IEC Reactor to Ion Thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Webber, Jason; Burton, Rodney; Momoto, Hiromu; Miley, George; Richardson, Nathan

    2002-11-01

    A conceptual design for an electric-thruster-driven space ship using a D-He3 fueled Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) fusion power unit was recently developed [1]. This propulsion system uses a bank of modified NSTAR-type krypton ion thrusters (specific impulse of 16,000 sec.) giving a total thrust of 1020 N. The thrust time for a typical outer planet mission ( e.g. Jupiter) with a delta-V of 50,000 m/s is then 200 days. A key component of this concept is a traveling wave direct energy converter that converts the kinetic energy of 14-MeV fusion reaction product protons to high voltage (about 1 MV) DC electrical output. A unique step-down transformer and rectifier system condition this output for use in the ion thrusters. Details of these components, the NSTAR-thruster modifications plus a magnetic hexa-pole collimator designed to guide the emitted protons into the traveling wave converter will be described. This advanced electric thruster design offers a very high power-to-weight ratio system that is crucial for deep space propulsion. [1] George H. Miley, Hiromu Momota, R. Burton, N.Richardson, M. Coventry, and Y. Shaban, IEC Based D-He3 Fusion for Space Propulsion, Trans Am. Nuclear Society, Annual Meeting, Hollywood, FL, June 2002.

  14. Particle-in-cell simulations of Hall plasma thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miranda, Rodrigo; Ferreira, Jose Leonardo; Martins, Alexandre

    2016-07-01

    Hall plasma thrusters can be modelled using particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations. In these simulations, the plasma is described by a set of equations which represent a coupled system of charged particles and electromagnetic fields. The fields are computed using a spatial grid (i.e., a discretization in space), whereas the particles can move continuously in space. Briefly, the particle and fields dynamics are computed as follows. First, forces due to electric and magnetic fields are employed to calculate the velocities and positions of particles. Next, the velocities and positions of particles are used to compute the charge and current densities at discrete positions in space. Finally, these densities are used to solve the electromagnetic field equations in the grid, which are interpolated at the position of the particles to obtain the acting forces, and restart this cycle. We will present numerical simulations using software for PIC simulations to study turbulence, wave and instabilities that arise in Hall plasma thrusters. We have sucessfully reproduced a numerical simulation of a SPT-100 Hall thruster using a two-dimensional (2D) model. In addition, we are developing a 2D model of a cylindrical Hall thruster. The results of these simulations will contribute to improve the performance of plasma thrusters to be used in Cubesats satellites currenty in development at the Plasma Laboratory at University of Brasília.

  15. Discharge Hollow Cathode and Extraction Grid Analysis for the MiXI Ion Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wirz, Richard; Sullivan, Regina; Przybylowski, JoHanna; Silva, Mike

    2006-01-01

    Miniature ion thrusters are well-suited future space missions such as Terrestrial Planet Finder - Interferometer (TPF-I), where high efficiency thrusters using non-contaminating noble gas propellant are desirable. Transient dynamic and orbital analyses have shown that the low-noise, continuous thrust of the Miniature Xenon Ion (MiXI) thruster is desirable for TPF-I formation rotation maneuvers when compared with other thruster options [1], [2]. The 3cm diameter MiXI thruster, Figure 1, was originally designed using experimental methods and is capable of high Isp (> 3,000 sec), propellant efficiency > 80%, and thrust from <0.1 mN to >1.5 mN [3]. The MiXI thruster must demonstrate high levels of thrust resolution and a low minimum impulse bit to ensure it meets the precision formation flying needs of missions such as TPF-I. A novel concept for controlling the ion extraction voltages yields the necessary thrust characteristics for the MiXI thruster. Experiments verify these techniques and two dimensional computational models show that such techniques should have minimal effect on the lifetime of the thruster. During this effort, the MiXI thruster incorporates, for the first time, flight like hollow cathodes for both the discharge chamber and beam neutralization.

  16. Status of the NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) Long-Duration Test After 30,352 Hours of Operation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herman, Daniel A.

    2010-01-01

    The NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) program is tasked with significantly improving and extending the capabilities of current state-of-the-art NSTAR thruster. The service life capability of the NEXT ion thruster is being assessed by thruster wear test and life-modeling of critical thruster components, such as the ion optics and cathodes. The NEXT Long-Duration Test (LDT) was initiated to validate and qualify the NEXT thruster propellant throughput capability. The NEXT thruster completed the primary goal of the LDT; namely to demonstrate the project qualification throughput of 450 kg by the end of calendar year 2009. The NEXT LDT has demonstrated 30,352 hr of operation and processed 490 kg of xenon throughput--surpassing the NSTAR Extended Life Test hours demonstrated and more than double the throughput demonstrated by the NSTAR flight-spare. Thruster performance changes have been consistent with a priori predictions. Thruster erosion has been minimal and consistent with the thruster service life assessment, which predicts the first failure mode at greater than 750 kg throughput. The life-limiting failure mode for NEXT is predicted to be loss of structural integrity of the accelerator grid due to erosion by charge-exchange ions.

  17. PT-1 Plasmoid Thruster Capable of Multi-Mode Operation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, Robert; Rose, Frank; Eskridge, Richard; Martin, Adam; Alam, Mohammed

    2008-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews the concept of a Plasmoid Thruster that is capable of operating in several different modes. A plasmoid is a compact plasma structure with an integral magnetic field, that may be categorized according to the relative strength of the poloidal and toroidal magnetic fields. A plasmoid thruster would operate by repetitively producing plasmoids that are accelerated to high velocity. The process is inductive, and the magnetic structure of the plasmoid suppresses thermal and mass losses, and improves detachment of the exhaust. The Drive and Bias circuits, the gas distribution, the pre-ionization stage, and the operation sequence are detailed. The advantages of the Plasmoid thruster and the research and technology required for development of this form of propulsion is reviewed.

  18. A Very-High-Specific-Impulse Relativistic Laser Thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Horisawa, Hideyuki; Kimura, Itsuro

    2008-04-28

    Characteristics of compact laser plasma accelerators utilizing high-power laser and thin-target interaction were reviewed as a potential candidate of future spacecraft thrusters capable of generating relativistic plasma beams for interstellar missions. Based on the special theory of relativity, motion of the relativistic plasma beam exhausted from the thruster was formulated. Relationships of thrust, specific impulse, input power and momentum coupling coefficient for the relativistic plasma thruster were derived. It was shown that under relativistic conditions, the thrust could be extremely large even with a small amount of propellant flow rate. Moreover, it was shown that for a given value of input power thrust tended to approach the value of the photon rocket under the relativistic conditions regardless of the propellant flow rate.

  19. Electron Transport in Hall Thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McDonald, Michael Sean

    Despite high technological maturity and a long flight heritage, computer models of Hall thrusters remain dependent on empirical inputs and a large part of thruster development to date has been heavily experimental in nature. This empirical approach will become increasingly unsustainable as new high-power thrusters tax existing ground test facilities and more exotic thruster designs stretch and strain the boundaries of existing design experience. The fundamental obstacle preventing predictive modeling of Hall thruster plasma properties and channel erosion is the lack of a first-principles description of electron transport across the strong magnetic fields between the cathode and anode. In spite of an abundance of proposed transport mechanisms, accurate assessments of the magnitude of electron current due to any one mechanism are scarce, and comparative studies of their relative influence on a single thruster platform simply do not exist. Lacking a clear idea of what mechanism(s) are primarily responsible for transport, it is understandably difficult for the electric propulsion scientist to focus his or her theoretical and computational tools on the right targets. This work presents a primarily experimental investigation of collisional and turbulent Hall thruster electron transport mechanisms. High-speed imaging of the thruster discharge channel at tens of thousands of frames per second reveals omnipresent rotating regions of elevated light emission, identified with a rotating spoke instability. This turbulent instability has been shown through construction of an azimuthally segmented anode to drive significant cross-field electron current in the discharge channel, and suggestive evidence points to its spatial extent into the thruster near-field plume as well. Electron trajectory simulations in experimentally measured thruster electromagnetic fields indicate that binary collisional transport mechanisms are not significant in the thruster plume, and experiments

  20. Double ion production in mercury thrusters. M.S. Thesis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peters, R. R.

    1976-01-01

    The development of a model which predicts doubly charged ion density is discussed. The accuracy of the model is shown to be good for two different thruster sizes and a total of 11 different cases. The model indicates that in most cases more than 80% of the doubly charged ions are produced from singly charged ions. This result can be used to develop a much simpler model which, along with correlations of the average plasma properties, can be used to determine the doubly charged ion density in ion thrusters with acceptable accuracy. Two different techniques which can be used to reduce the doubly charged ion density while maintaining good thruster operation, are identified as a result of an examination of the simple model. First, the electron density can be reduced and the thruster size then increased to maintain the same propellant utilization. Second, at a fixed thruster size, the plasma density, temperature and energy can be reduced and then to maintain a constant propellant utilization the open area of the grids to neutral propellant loss can be reduced through the use of a small hole accelerator grid.

  1. The Berkeley accelerator space effects facility (BASE) - A newmission for the 88-inch cyclotron at LBNL

    SciTech Connect

    McMahan, M.A.

    2005-09-06

    In FY04, the 88-Inch Cyclotron began a new operating mode that supports a local research program in nuclear science, R&D in accelerator technology and a test facility for the National Security Space (NSS) community (the U.S. Air Force and NRO). The NSS community (and others on a cost recovery basis) can take advantage of both the light- and heavy-ion capabilities of the Cyclotron to simulate the space radiation environment. A significant portion of this work involves the testing of microcircuits for single event effects. The experimental areas within the building that are used for the radiation effects testing are now called the Berkeley Accelerator and Space Effects (BASE) facility. Improvements to the facility to provide increased reliability, quality assurance and new capabilities are underway and will be discussed. These include a 16 AMeV ''cocktail'' of beams for heavy ion testing, a neutron beam, more robust dosimetry, and other upgrades.

  2. Invited Article: Advanced drag-free concepts for future space-based interferometers: acceleration noise performance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gerardi, D.; Allen, G.; Conklin, J. W.; Sun, K.-X.; DeBra, D.; Buchman, S.; Gath, P.; Fichter, W.; Byer, R. L.; Johann, U.

    2014-01-01

    Future drag-free missions for space-based experiments in gravitational physics require a Gravitational Reference Sensor with extremely demanding sensing and disturbance reduction requirements. A configuration with two cubical sensors is the current baseline for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) and has reached a high level of maturity. Nevertheless, several promising concepts have been proposed with potential applications beyond LISA and are currently investigated at HEPL, Stanford, and EADS Astrium, Germany. The general motivation is to exploit the possibility of achieving improved disturbance reduction, and ultimately understand how low acceleration noise can be pushed with a realistic design for future mission. In this paper, we discuss disturbance reduction requirements for LISA and beyond, describe four different payload concepts, compare expected strain sensitivities in the "low-frequency" region of the frequency spectrum, dominated by acceleration noise, and ultimately discuss advantages and disadvantages of each of those concepts in achieving disturbance reduction for space-based detectors beyond LISA.

  3. Invited article: advanced drag-free concepts for future space-based interferometers: acceleration noise performance.

    PubMed

    Gerardi, D; Allen, G; Conklin, J W; Sun, K-X; DeBra, D; Buchman, S; Gath, P; Fichter, W; Byer, R L; Johann, U

    2014-01-01

    Future drag-free missions for space-based experiments in gravitational physics require a Gravitational Reference Sensor with extremely demanding sensing and disturbance reduction requirements. A configuration with two cubical sensors is the current baseline for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) and has reached a high level of maturity. Nevertheless, several promising concepts have been proposed with potential applications beyond LISA and are currently investigated at HEPL, Stanford, and EADS Astrium, Germany. The general motivation is to exploit the possibility of achieving improved disturbance reduction, and ultimately understand how low acceleration noise can be pushed with a realistic design for future mission. In this paper, we discuss disturbance reduction requirements for LISA and beyond, describe four different payload concepts, compare expected strain sensitivities in the "low-frequency" region of the frequency spectrum, dominated by acceleration noise, and ultimately discuss advantages and disadvantages of each of those concepts in achieving disturbance reduction for space-based detectors beyond LISA.

  4. Inductive Pulsed Plasma Thruster Development and Testing at NASA-MSFC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polzin, Kurt A.

    2013-01-01

    THE inductive pulsed plasma thruster (IPPT) is an electrodeless space propulsion device where a capacitor is charged to an initial voltage and then discharged producing a high current pulse through a coil. The field produced by this pulse ionizes propellant, inductively driving current in a plasma located near the face of the coil. Once the plasma is formed it can be accelerated and expelled at a high exhaust velocity by the electromagnetic Lorentz body force arising from the interaction of the induced plasma current and the magnetic field produced by the current in the coil. In the present work, we present a summary of the IPPT research and development conducted at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). As a higher-power, still relatively low readiness level system, there are many issues associated with the eventual deployment and use of the IPPT as a primary propulsion system on spacecraft that remain to be addressed. The present program aimed to fabricate and test hardware to explore how these issues could be addressed. The following specific areas were addressed within the program and will be discussed within this paper. a) Conical theta-pinch IPPT geometry thruster configuration. b) Repetition-rate multi-kW thruster pulsing. c) Long-lifetime pulsed gas valve. d) Fast pulsed gas valve driver and controller. e) High-voltage, repetitive capacitor charging power processing unit. During the course of testing, a number of specific tests were conducted, including several that, to our knowledge, have either never been previously conducted (such as multi-KW repetition-rate operation) or have not been performed since the early 1990s (direct IPPT thrust measurements).2 Conical theta-pinch IPPT thrust stand measurements are presented in Fig. 1 while various time-integrated and time

  5. Electric field measurement in microwave discharge ion thruster with electro-optic probe.

    PubMed

    Ise, Toshiyuki; Tsukizaki, Ryudo; Togo, Hiroyoshi; Koizumi, Hiroyuki; Kuninaka, Hitoshi

    2012-12-01

    In order to understand the internal phenomena in a microwave discharge ion thruster, it is important to measure the distribution of the microwave electric field inside the discharge chamber, which is directly related to the plasma production. In this study, we proposed a novel method of measuring a microwave electric field with an electro-optic (EO) probe based on the Pockels effect. The probe, including a cooling system, contains no metal and can be accessed in the discharge chamber with less disruption to the microwave distribution. This method enables measurement of the electric field profile under ion beam acceleration. We first verified the measurement with the EO probe by a comparison with a finite-difference time domain numerical simulation of the microwave electric field in atmosphere. Second, we showed that the deviations of the reflected microwave power and the beam current were less than 8% due to inserting the EO probe into the ion thruster under ion beam acceleration. Finally, we successfully demonstrated the measurement of the electric-field profile in the ion thruster under ion beam acceleration. These measurements show that the electric field distribution in the thruster dramatically changes in the ion thruster under ion beam acceleration as the propellant mass flow rate increases. These results indicate that this new method using an EO probe can provide a useful guide for improving the propulsion of microwave discharge ion thrusters.

  6. Electric field measurement in microwave discharge ion thruster with electro-optic probe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ise, Toshiyuki; Tsukizaki, Ryudo; Togo, Hiroyoshi; Koizumi, Hiroyuki; Kuninaka, Hitoshi

    2012-12-01

    In order to understand the internal phenomena in a microwave discharge ion thruster, it is important to measure the distribution of the microwave electric field inside the discharge chamber, which is directly related to the plasma production. In this study, we proposed a novel method of measuring a microwave electric field with an electro-optic (EO) probe based on the Pockels effect. The probe, including a cooling system, contains no metal and can be accessed in the discharge chamber with less disruption to the microwave distribution. This method enables measurement of the electric field profile under ion beam acceleration. We first verified the measurement with the EO probe by a comparison with a finite-difference time domain numerical simulation of the microwave electric field in atmosphere. Second, we showed that the deviations of the reflected microwave power and the beam current were less than 8% due to inserting the EO probe into the ion thruster under ion beam acceleration. Finally, we successfully demonstrated the measurement of the electric-field profile in the ion thruster under ion beam acceleration. These measurements show that the electric field distribution in the thruster dramatically changes in the ion thruster under ion beam acceleration as the propellant mass flow rate increases. These results indicate that this new method using an EO probe can provide a useful guide for improving the propulsion of microwave discharge ion thrusters.

  7. Space acceleration measurement system description and operations on the First Spacelab Life Sciences Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Delombard, Richard; Finley, Brian D.

    1991-01-01

    The Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) project and flight units are briefly described. The SAMS operations during the STS-40 mission are summarized, and a preliminary look at some of the acceleration data from that mission are provided. The background and rationale for the SAMS project is described to better illustrate its goals. The functions and capabilities of each SAMS flight unit are first explained, then the STS-40 mission, the SAMS's function for that mission, and the preparation of the SAMS are described. Observations about the SAMS operations during the first SAMS mission are then discussed. Some sample data are presented illustrating several aspects of the mission's microgravity environment.

  8. The Plasmoid Thruster Experiment (PTX)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Martin, Adam; Eskridge, Richard; Fimognan, Peter; Koelfgen, Syri J.; Lee, Mike

    2004-01-01

    A plasmoid is a compact plasma structure with an integral magnetic field, that may be categorized according to the relative strength of the poloidal and toroidal magnetic fields. If B(sup p)/B(sub t) is much greater than 1, it is an FRC; if B(sub p) approximately equals B(sub t), it is a Spheromak. A plasmoid thruster would operate by repetitively producing plasmoids that are accelerated to high velocity. The process is inductive, and the magnetic structure of the plasmoid suppresses thermal and mass losses, and improves detachment of the exhaust. This concept should be capable of producing an Isp in the range of 5,000 - 10,OOO seconds, with high thrust density. PTX is a device designed to study this concept. The plasmoid is formed inside of a single turn conical theta-pinch coil, driven by a 560 nF, 35 kV capacitor bank. Experiments conducted with a static-fill of propellant gas (6% H2 in He) demonstrated reliable ionization over a pressure range of 40 - 200 mTorr. A fast gas-puff valve to inject propellant has since been added, and a ringing pre-ionization circuit to independently control ionization has been tested. Hydrogen, deuterium, argon, and an N2/H2 mixture have been tried as propellants. Measurements of the plasmoid shape, mass, and velocity, using a variety of diagnostics will be presented,

  9. The Plasmoid Thruster Experiment (PTX)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Martin, Adam; Eskridge, Richard; Lee, Mike; Fimohnsti, Peter; Koelfgen, Syri J.

    2005-01-01

    A plasmoid is a compact plasma structure with an integral magnetic field, that may be categorized according to the relative strength of the poloidal and toroidal magnetic fields. If B(sub p/B(sub t) much greater than 1 it is an FRC; if B(sub p) approximately equal to B(sub t), it is a Spheromak. A plasmoid thruster would operate by repetitively producing plasmoids that are accelerated to high velocity. The process is inductive, and the magnetic structure of the plasmoid suppresses thermal and mass losses, and improves detachment of the exhaust, This concept should be capable of producing an Isp in the range of 5,000 - l0,000 seconds, with high thrust density. PTX is a device designed to study this concept. The plasmoid is formed inside of a single turn conical theta-pinch coil, driven by a 560 nF, 35 kV capacitor bank. Experiments conducted with a static-fill of propellant gas (6% H2 in He) demonstrated liable ionization over a pressure range of 40 - 200 mTorr. A fast gas-puff valve to inject propellant has since been added, and a ringing preionization circuit to independently control ionization has been tested, hydrogen, deuterium, argon, and an N2 / H2 mixture have been tried as propellants. Measurements of the plasmoid shape, mass, and velocity, using a variety of diagnostics will be presented.

  10. The flexible magnetic field thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brophy, J. R.; Wilbur, P. J.

    1982-01-01

    The thruster is designed so that ion currents to various internal surfaces can be measured directly; these measurements facilitate calculations of the distribution of ion currents inside the discharge chamber. Experiments are described suggesting that the distribution of ion currents inside the discharge chamber is strongly dependent on the shape and strength of the magnetic field but independent of the discharge current, discharge voltage, and neutral flow rate. Measurements of the energy cost per plasma ion suggest that this cost decreases with increasing magnetic field strength as a consequence of increased anode shielding from the primary electrons. Energy costs per argon plasma ion as low as 50 eV are measured. The energy cost per beam ion is found to be a function of the energy cost per plasma ion, extracted ion fraction, and discharge voltage. Part of the energy cost per beam ion has to do with creating many ions in the plasma and then extracting only a fraction of them into the beam. The balance of the energy goes into accelerating the remaining plasma ions into the walls of the discharge chamber.

  11. Segmented ion thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brophy, John R. (Inventor)

    1993-01-01

    Apparatus and methods for large-area, high-power ion engines comprise dividing a single engine into a combination of smaller discharge chambers (or segments) configured to operate as a single large-area engine. This segmented ion thruster (SIT) approach enables the development of 100-kW class argon ion engines for operation at a specific impulse of 10,000 s. A combination of six 30-cm diameter ion chambers operating as a single engine can process over 100 kW. Such a segmented ion engine can be operated from a single power processor unit.

  12. Grid Erosion Modeling of the NEXT Ion Thruster Optics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ernhoff, Jerold W.; Boyd, Iain D.; Soulas, George (Technical Monitor)

    2003-01-01

    Results from several different computational studies of the NEXT ion thruster optics are presented. A study of the effect of beam voltage on accelerator grid aperture wall erosion shows a non-monotonic, complex behavior. Comparison to experimental performance data indicates improvements in simulation of the accelerator grid current, as well as very good agreement with other quantities. Also examined is the effect of ion optics choice on the thruster life, showing that TAG optics provide better margin against electron backstreaming than NSTAR optics. The model is used to predict the change in performance with increasing accelerator grid voltage, showing that although the current collected on the accel grid downstream face increases, the erosion rate decreases. A study is presented for varying doubly-ionized Xenon current fraction. The results show that performance data is not extremely sensitive to the current fraction.

  13. Accelerated multiscale space-time finite element simulation and application to high cycle fatigue life prediction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Rui; Wen, Lihua; Naboulsi, Sam; Eason, Thomas; Vasudevan, Vijay K.; Qian, Dong

    2016-08-01

    A multiscale space-time finite element method based on time-discontinuous Galerkin and enrichment approach is presented in this work with a focus on improving the computational efficiencies for high cycle fatigue simulations. While the robustness of the TDG-based space-time method has been extensively demonstrated, a critical barrier for the extensive application is the large computational cost due to the additional temporal dimension and enrichment that are introduced. The present implementation focuses on two aspects: firstly, a preconditioned iterative solver is developed along with techniques for optimizing the matrix storage and operations. Secondly, parallel algorithms based on multi-core graphics processing unit are established to accelerate the progressive damage model implementation. It is shown that the computing time and memory from the accelerated space-time implementation scale with the number of degree of freedom N through ˜ O(N^{1.6}) and ˜ O(N), respectively. Finally, we demonstrate the accelerated space-time FEM simulation through benchmark problems.

  14. High Voltage Hall Accelerator Propulsion System Development for NASA Science Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kamhawi, Hani; Haag, Thomas; Huang, Wensheng; Shastry, Rohit; Pinero, Luis; Peterson, Todd; Dankanich, John; Mathers, Alex

    2013-01-01

    NASA Science Mission Directorates In-Space Propulsion Technology Program is sponsoring the development of a 3.8 kW-class engineering development unit Hall thruster for implementation in NASA science and exploration missions. NASA Glenn Research Center and Aerojet are developing a high fidelity high voltage Hall accelerator (HiVHAc) thruster that can achieve specific impulse magnitudes greater than 2,700 seconds and xenon throughput capability in excess of 300 kilograms. Performance, plume mappings, thermal characterization, and vibration tests of the HiVHAc engineering development unit thruster have been performed. In addition, the HiVHAc project is also pursuing the development of a power processing unit (PPU) and xenon feed system (XFS) for integration with the HiVHAc engineering development unit thruster. Colorado Power Electronics and NASA Glenn Research Center have tested a brassboard PPU for more than 1,500 hours in a vacuum environment, and a new brassboard and engineering model PPU units are under development. VACCO Industries developed a xenon flow control module which has undergone qualification testing and will be integrated with the HiVHAc thruster extended duration tests. Finally, recent mission studies have shown that the HiVHAc propulsion system has sufficient performance for four Discovery- and two New Frontiers-class NASA design reference missions.

  15. A north-south stationkeeping ion thruster system for ATS-F.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Worlock, R.; James, E.; Ramsey, W.; Trump, G.; Gant, G.; Jan, L.; Bartlett, R.

    1972-01-01

    An ion thruster system is being developed for the ATS-F satellite to demonstrate the application of ion thruster technology to the synchronous satellite north-south stationkeeping mission. The cesium bombardment ion thruster develops one millipound thrust at 2600 seconds specific impulse and provides thrust vectoring by accelerator electrode displacement. The propellant system is sized for two years operation at 25 percent duty cycle. Power conditioning circuitry is based on transistor inverters switching at 10 kHz. Thirteen command channels allow flexibility in operation; 12 telemetry channels provide information on system performance. Input power is less than 150 watts.

  16. Ion velocity and plasma potential measurements of a cylindrical cusped field thruster

    SciTech Connect

    MacDonald, N. A.; Young, C. V.; Cappelli, M. A.; Hargus, W. A. Jr.

    2012-05-01

    Measurements of the most probable time-averaged axial ion velocities and plasma potential within the acceleration channel and in the plume of a straight-channeled cylindrical cusped field thruster operating on xenon are presented. Ion velocities for the thruster are derived from laser-induced fluorescence measurements of the 5d[4]{sub 7/2}-6p[3]{sub 5/2} xenon ion excited state transition centered at {lambda}=834.72nm. Plasma potential measurements are made using a floating emissive probe with a thoriated-tungsten filament. The thruster is operated in a power matched condition with 300 V applied anode potential for comparison to previous krypton plasma potential measurements, and a low power condition with 150 V applied anode potential. Correlations are seen between the plasma potential drop outside of the thruster and kinetic energy contours of the accelerating ions.

  17. Recent activities in the development of the MOA thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frischauf, Norbert; Hettmer, Manfred; Grassauer, Andreas; Bartusch, Tobias; Koudelka, Otto

    2008-07-01

    More than 60 years after the later Nobel laureate Hannes Alfvén had published a letter stating that oscillating magnetic fields can accelerate ionised matter via magneto-hydrodynamic interactions in a wave like fashion, the technical implementation of Alfvén waves for propulsive purposes has been proposed, patented and examined for the first time by a group of inventors. The name of the concept, utilising Alfvén waves to accelerate ionised matter for propulsive purposes, is MOA-magnetic field oscillating amplified thruster. Alfvén waves are generated by making use of two coils, one being permanently powered and serving also as magnetic nozzle, the other one being switched on and off in a cyclic way, deforming the field lines of the overall system. It is this deformation that generates Alfvén waves, which are in the next step used to transport and compress the propulsive medium, in theory leading to a propulsion system with a much higher performance than any other electric propulsion system. Based on computer simulations, which were conducted to get a first estimate on the performance of the system, MOA is a corrosion free and highly flexible propulsion system, whose performance parameters might easily be adapted in flight, by changing the mass flow and/or the power level. As such the system is capable to deliver a maximum specific impulse of 13 116 s (12.87 mN) at a power level of 11.16 kW, using Xe as propellant, but can also be attuned to provide a thrust of 236.5 mN (2411 s) at 6.15 kW of power. First tests-that are further described in this paper-have been conducted successfully and underline the feasibility of the concept. While space propulsion is expected to be the prime application for MOA and is supported by numerous applications such as Solar and/or Nuclear Electric Propulsion or even as an "afterburner system" for nuclear thermal propulsion, other terrestrial applications can be thought of as well, making the system highly suited for a common space

  18. A linear accelerator in the space: The beam experiment aboard rocket

    SciTech Connect

    O'Shea, P.G.; Butler, T.A.; Lynch, M.T.; McKenna, K.F.; Pongratz, M.B.

    1990-01-01

    On July 13, 1989 the BEAM experiment Aboard Rocket (BEAR) linear accelerator was successfully launched and operated in space. The flight demonstrated that a neutral hydrogen beam could be successfully propagated in an exoatmospheric environment. The accelerator, which was the result of an extensive collaboration between Los Alamos National Laboratory and industrial partners, was designed to produce a 10 mA (equivalent), 1 MeV neutral hydrogen beam in 50 {mu}s pulses at 5 Hz. The major components were a 30 keV H{sup {minus}} injector a 1 MeV radio frequency quadrupole, two 425 Mhz RF amplifiers, a gas cell neutralizer, beam optics, vacuum system and controls. The design was strongly constrained by the need for a lightweight rugged system that would survive the rigors of launch and operate autonomously. Following the flight the accelerator was recovered and operated again on the laboratory. 6 figs., 2 tabs.

  19. Particle-in-cell/accelerator code for space-charge dominated beam simulation

    SciTech Connect

    2012-05-08

    Warp is a multidimensional discrete-particle beam simulation program designed to be applicable where the beam space-charge is non-negligible or dominant. It is being developed in a collaboration among LLNL, LBNL and the University of Maryland. It was originally designed and optimized for heave ion fusion accelerator physics studies, but has received use in a broader range of applications, including for example laser wakefield accelerators, e-cloud studies in high enery accelerators, particle traps and other areas. At present it incorporates 3-D, axisymmetric (r,z) planar (x-z) and transverse slice (x,y) descriptions, with both electrostatic and electro-magnetic fields, and a beam envelope model. The code is guilt atop the Python interpreter language.

  20. Wear Testing of the HERMeS Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, George J., Jr.; Gilland, James H.; Peterson, Peter Y.; Kamhawi, Hani; Huang, Wensheng; Ahern, Drew M.; Yim, John; Herman, Daniel A.; Hofer, Richard R.; Sekerak, Michael

    2016-01-01

    The Hall-Effect Rocket with Magnetic Shielding (HERMeS) thruster is being developed and tested at NASA GRC and NASA JPL through support of the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) as primary propulsion for the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM). This thruster is advancing the state-of-the-art of Hall-effect thrusters and is intended to serve as a precursor to higher power systems for human interplanetary exploration. A 2000-hour wear test has been initiated at NASA GRC with the HERMeS Technology Demonstration Unit One and three of four test segments have been completed totaling 728 h of operation. This is the first test of a NASA-designed magnetically shielded thruster to extend beyond 300 hr of continuous operation. Trends in performance, component wear, thermal design, plume properties, and back-sputtered deposition are discussed for two wear-test segments of 246 h and 360 h. The first incorporated graphite pole covers in an electrical configuration where cathode was electrically connected to thruster body. The second utilized traditional alumina pole covers with the thruster body floating. It was shown that the magnetic shielding in both configurations completely eliminated erosion of the boron nitride discharge channel but resulted in erosion of the inner pole cover. The volumetric erosion rate of the graphite pole covers was roughly 2/3 that of the alumina pole covers and the thruster exhibited slightly better performance. Buildup of back-sputtered carbon on the BN channel at a rate of roughly 1.5 µm/kh is shown to have negligible impact on the performance.

  1. Measuring test mass acceleration noise in space-based gravitational wave astronomy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Congedo, Giuseppe

    2015-03-01

    The basic constituent of interferometric gravitational wave detectors—the test-mass-to-test-mass interferometric link—behaves as a differential dynamometer measuring effective differential forces, comprising an integrated measure of gravity curvature, inertial effects, as well as nongravitational spurious forces. This last contribution is going to be characterized by the LISA Pathfinder mission, a technology precursor of future space-borne detectors like eLISA. Changing the perspective from displacement to acceleration can benefit the data analysis of LISA Pathfinder and future detectors. The response in differential acceleration to gravitational waves is derived for a space-based detector's interferometric link. The acceleration formalism can also be integrated into time delay interferometry by building up the unequal-arm Michelson differential acceleration combination. The differential acceleration is nominally insensitive to the system's free evolution dominating the slow displacement dynamics of low-frequency detectors. Working with acceleration also provides an effective way to subtract measured signals acting as systematics, including the actuation forces. Because of the strong similarity with the equations of motion, the optimal subtraction of systematic signals, known within some amplitude and time shift, with the focus on measuring the noise provides an effective way to solve the problem and marginalize over nuisance parameters. The F statistic, in widespread use throughout the gravitation waves community, is included in the method and suitably generalized to marginalize over linear parameters and noise at the same time. The method is applied to LPF simulator data and, thanks to its generality, can also be applied to the data reduction and analysis of future gravitational wave detectors.

  2. Thrust Stand Measurements of a Conical Inductive Pulsed Plasma Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hallock, Ashley K.; Polzin, Kurt A.

    2012-01-01

    Inductive Pulsed Plasma Thrusters (iPPT) are spacecraft propulsion devices in which electrical energy is capacitively stored and then discharged through an inductive coil. The thruster is electrodeless, with a time-varying current in the coil interacting with a plasma covering the face of the coil to induce a plasma current. Propellant is accelerated and expelled at a high exhaust velocity (O(10 .. 100 km/s)) by the Lorentz body force arising from the interaction of the magnetic field and the induced plasma current. While this class of thruster mitigates the life-limiting issues associated with electrode erosion, inductive pulsed plasma thrusters can suffer from both high pulse energy requirements imposed by the voltage demands of inductive propellant ionization, and low propellant utilization efficiencies. A conical coil geometry may o er higher propellant utilization efficiency over that of a at inductive coil, however an increase in propellant utilization may be met with a decrease in axial electromagnetic acceleration, and in turn, a decrease in the total axially-directed kinetic energy imparted to the propellant.

  3. Exact spacecraft maneuvers with jerk-free transition from thrusters to momentum wheels

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dwyer, T. A. W., III; Batten, A. L.

    1985-01-01

    A combined detumbling maneuver with constant but vectored external thrusters is presently followed, as in Dwyer and Batten (1985) by an exact reorientation that employs internal momentum transfer. Unlike the Dwyer and Batten technique, however, the proposed reorientation maneuver is of such a trajectory that spacecraft angular acceleration is preserved during the transition from thrusters to reaction wheels. This prevents jerk-driven excitation of unmodeled elastic modes.

  4. Plasma Sheet Velocity Measurement Techniques for the Pulsed Plasma Thruster SIMP-LEX

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nawaz, Anuscheh; Lau, Matthew

    2011-01-01

    The velocity of the first plasma sheet was determined between the electrodes of a pulsed plasma thruster using three measurement techniques: time of flight probe, high speed camera and magnetic field probe. Further, for time of flight probe and magnetic field probe, it was possible to determine the velocity distribution along the electrodes, as the plasma sheet is accelerated. The results from all three techniques are shown, and are compared for one thruster geometry.

  5. Large inert-gas thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kaufman, H. R.; Robinson, R. S.

    1981-01-01

    Using present technology as a starting point, performance predictions were made for large thrusters. The optimum beam diameter for maximum thruster efficiency was determined for a range of specific impulse. This optimum beam diameter varied greatly with specific impulse, from about 0.6 m at 3000 seconds (and below) to about 4 m at 10,000 seconds with argon, and from about 0.6 m at 2,000 seconds (and below) to about 12 m at 10,000 seconds with Xe. These beams sizes would require much larger thrusters than those presently available, but would offer substantial complexity and cost reductions for large electric propulsion systems.

  6. Hubble Space Telescope Program on STS-95 Supported by Space Acceleration Measurement System for Free Flyers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kacpura, Thomas J.

    2000-01-01

    John Glenn's historic return to space was a primary focus of the STS 95 space shuttle mission; however, the 83 science payloads aboard were the focus of the flight activities. One of the payloads, the Hubble Space Telescope Orbital System Test (HOST), was flown in the cargo bay by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. It served as a space flight test of upgrade components for the telescope before they are installed in the shuttle for the next Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. One of the upgrade components is a cryogenic cooling system for the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS). The cooling is required for low noise in the receiver's sensitive electronic instrumentation. Originally, a passive system using dry ice cooled NICMOS, but the ice leaked away and must be replaced. The active cryogenic cooler can provide the cold temperatures required for the NICMOS, but there was a concern that it would create vibrations that would affect the fine pointing accuracy of the Hubble platform.

  7. Simulation of Cascaded Longitudinal-Space-Charge Amplifier at the Fermilab Accelerator Science & Technology (Fast) Facility

    SciTech Connect

    Halavanau, A.; Piot, P.

    2015-12-01

    Cascaded Longitudinal Space Charge Amplifiers (LSCA) have been proposed as a mechanism to generate density modulation over a board spectral range. The scheme has been recently demonstrated in the optical regime and has confirmed the production of broadband optical radiation. In this paper we investigate, via numerical simulations, the performance of a cascaded LSCA beamline at the Fermilab Accelerator Science & Technology (FAST) facility to produce broadband ultraviolet radiation. Our studies are carried out using elegant with included tree-based grid-less space charge algorithm.

  8. Phase-space dynamics of ionization injection in plasma-based accelerators.

    PubMed

    Xu, X L; Hua, J F; Li, F; Zhang, C J; Yan, L X; Du, Y C; Huang, W H; Chen, H B; Tang, C X; Lu, W; Yu, P; An, W; Joshi, C; Mori, W B

    2014-01-24

    The evolution of beam phase space in ionization injection into plasma wakefields is studied using theory and particle-in-cell simulations. The injection process involves both longitudinal and transverse phase mixing, leading initially to a rapid emittance growth followed by oscillation, decay, and a slow growth to saturation. An analytic theory for this evolution is presented and verified through particle-in-cell simulations. This theory includes the effects of injection distance (time), acceleration distance, wakefield structure, and nonlinear space charge forces, and it also shows how ultralow emittance beams can be produced using ionization injection methods.

  9. The Warping of Extra Spaces Accelerates the Expansion of the Universe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neupane, Ishwaree P.

    Generic cosmological models derived from higher-dimensional theories with warped extra-dimensions have a nonzero cosmological constant-like term induced on the 3 + 1 space-time, or a physical three-brane. In the scenario where this 3 + 1 space-time is an inflating de Sitter "bran" embedded in a higher-dimensional space-time, described by warped geometry, the four-dimensional cosmological term is determined in terms of two length scales: one is a scale associated with the size of extra-dimension(s) and the other is a scale associated with the warping of extra-space(s). The existence of this term in four dimensions provides a tantalizing possibility of explaining the observed accelerating expansion of the universe from fundamental theories of gravity, e.g. string theory.

  10. Performance Evaluation of an Expanded Range XIPS Ion Thruster System for NASA Science Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oh, David Y.; Goebel, Dan M.

    2006-01-01

    This paper examines the benefit that a solar electric propulsion (SEP) system based on the 5 kW Xenon Ion Propulsion System (XIPS) could have for NASA's Discovery class deep space missions. The relative cost and performance of the commercial heritage XIPS system is compared to NSTAR ion thruster based systems on three Discovery class reference missions: 1) a Near Earth Asteroid Sample Return, 2) a Comet Rendezvous and 3) a Main Belt Asteroid Rendezvous. It is found that systems utilizing a single operating XIPS thruster provides significant performance advantages over a single operating NSTAR thruster. In fact, XIPS performs as well as systems utilizing two operating NSTAR thrusters, and still costs less than the NSTAR system with a single operating thruster. This makes XIPS based SEP a competitive and attractive candidate for Discovery class science missions.

  11. Laboratory-Model Integrated-System FARAD Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polzin, K.A.; Best, S.; Miller, R.; Rose, M.F.; Owens, T.

    2008-01-01

    Pulsed inductive plasma accelerators are spacecraft propulsion devices in which energy is stored in a capacitor and then discharged through an inductive coil. The device is electrodeless, inducing a plasma current sheet in propellant located near the face of the coil. The propellant is accelerated and expelled at a high exhaust velocity (order of 10 km/s) through the interaction of the plasma current with an induced magnetic field. The Faraday Accelerator with RF-Assisted Discharge (FARAD) thruster [1,2] is a type of pulsed inductive plasma accelerator in which the plasma is preionized by a mechanism separate from that used to form the current sheet and accelerate the gas. Employing a separate preionization mechanism in this manner allows for the formation of an inductive current sheet at much lower discharge energies and voltages than those found in previous pulsed inductive accelerators like the Pulsed Inductive Thruster (PIT). In a previous paper [3], the authors presented a basic design for a 100 J/pulse FARAD laboratory-version thruster. The design was based upon guidelines and performance scaling parameters presented in Refs. [4, 5]. In this paper, we expand upon the design presented in Ref. [3] by presenting a fully-assembled and operational FARAD laboratory-model thruster and addressing system and subsystem-integration issues (concerning mass injection, preionization, and acceleration) that arose during assembly. Experimental data quantifying the operation of this thruster, including detailed internal plasma measurements, are presented by the authors in a companion paper [6]. The thruster operates by first injecting neutral gas over the face of a flat, inductive acceleration coil and at some later time preionizing the gas. Once the gas is preionized current is passed through the acceleration coil, inducing a plasma current sheet in the propellant that is accelerated away from the coil through electromagnetic interaction with the time-varying magnetic field

  12. Progress on the PT-1 Prototype Plasmoid Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eskridge, Richard H.; Martin, Adam K.

    2007-01-01

    The design and construction of a plasmoid thruster prototype is described. This thruster operates by expelling inductively formed plasmoids at high velocities. These plasmoids are field reversed configuration plasmas which are formed by reversing a magnetic flux frozen in an ionized gas inside a theta-pinch coil. The pinch coil is a unique multi-turn, multi-lead design chosen for optimization of inductance and field uniformity. A table-top bread-board demonstrator has been built at MSFC, and will be delivered to Radiance Technologies Inc. for further testing at the Auburn Space Power Institute.

  13. Evaluation of externally heated pulsed MPD thruster cathodes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Myers, Roger M.; Domonkos, Matthew; Gallimore, Alec D.

    1993-12-01

    Recent interest in solar electric orbit transfer vehicles (SEOTV's) has prompted a reevaluation of pulsed magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster systems due to their ease of power scaling and reduced test facility requirements. In this work the use of externally heated cathodes was examined in order to extend the lifetime of these thrusters to the 1000 to 3000 hours required for SEOTV missions. A pulsed MPD thruster test facility was assembled, including a pulse-forming network (PFN), ignitor supply and propellant feed system. Results of cold cathode tests used to validate the facility, PFN, and propellant feed system design are presented, as well as a preliminary evaluation of externally heated impregnated tungsten cathodes. The cold cathode thruster was operated on both argon and nitrogen propellants at peak discharge power levels up to 300 kW. The results confirmed proper operation of the pulsed thruster test facility, and indicated that large amounts of gas were evolved from the BaO-CaO-Al2O3 cathodes during activation. Comparison of the expected space charge limited current with the measured vacuum current when using the heated cathode indicate that either that a large temperature difference existed between the heater and the cathode or that the surface work function was higher than expected.

  14. Evaluation of externally heated pulsed MPD thruster cathodes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Myers, Roger M.; Domonkos, Matthew; Gallimore, Alec D.

    1993-01-01

    Recent interest in solar electric orbit transfer vehicles (SEOTV's) has prompted a reevaluation of pulsed magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster systems due to their ease of power scaling and reduced test facility requirements. In this work the use of externally heated cathodes was examined in order to extend the lifetime of these thrusters to the 1000 to 3000 hours required for SEOTV missions. A pulsed MPD thruster test facility was assembled, including a pulse-forming network (PFN), ignitor supply and propellant feed system. Results of cold cathode tests used to validate the facility, PFN, and propellant feed system design are presented, as well as a preliminary evaluation of externally heated impregnated tungsten cathodes. The cold cathode thruster was operated on both argon and nitrogen propellants at peak discharge power levels up to 300 kW. The results confirmed proper operation of the pulsed thruster test facility, and indicated that large amounts of gas were evolved from the BaO-CaO-Al2O3 cathodes during activation. Comparison of the expected space charge limited current with the measured vacuum current when using the heated cathode indicate that either that a large temperature difference existed between the heater and the cathode or that the surface work function was higher than expected.

  15. Magnetically-conformed, Variable Area Discharge Chamber for Hall Thruster, and Method

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hofer, Richard R. (Inventor)

    2013-01-01

    The invention is a Hall thruster that incorporates a discharge chamber having a variable area channel including an ionization zone, a transition region, and an acceleration zone. The variable area channel is wider through the acceleration zone than through the ionization zone. An anode is located in a vicinity of the ionization zone and a cathode is located in a vicinity of the acceleration zone. The Hall thruster includes a magnetic circuit which is capable of forming a local magnetic field having a curvature within the transition region of the variable area channel whereby the transition region conforms to the curvature of the local magnetic field. The Hall thruster optimizes the ionization and acceleration efficiencies by the combined effects of the variable area channel and magnetic conformity.

  16. The solar photon thruster as a terrestrial pole sitter.

    PubMed

    Matloff, Gregory L

    2004-05-01

    Geosynchronous satellites are invisible at high latitudes. A pole-sitting spacecraft would have communication, climate-studies, and near-polar Earth observation applications. We present a pole-sitter based on the solar photon thruster (SPT), a two-sail variant of the solar sail using a large curved collector sail (always normal to the Sun) to direct sunlight against a much smaller thruster. Thrust decreases slower for an SPT than for a conventional sail arrangement as the angle between sunlight and the collector normal increases. An SPT pole-sitter is offset from the terrestrial pole so that a component of Earth gravity balances the solar radiation-pressure component pushing the SPT off station. The component of gravitational attraction of the Earth pulling the spacecraft towards Earth is also balanced by a solar radiation-pressure component. Results are presented for 80-100% collector/thruster reflectivities. For a spacecraft areal mass thickness of 0.002 kg/m(2), collector and thruster reflectivities of 0.9, the SPT can be situated above latitude 45 degrees at a distance of approximately 60 Earth radii. An SPT pole sitter would be affected by lunar perturbation, which can be compensated for by an on-board rocket thruster producing 2 x 10(-6) g acceleration, a second SPT thruster sail thrusting against the influence of the Moon, or by directing a microwave beam against the spacecraft. Since an SPT pole sitter is in a position rather than an orbit, the effect of terrestrial gravitation limits the size and design of the payload package, which limits terrestrial target resolution.

  17. Operational Characteristics of a Low-Energy FARAD Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polzin, Kurt A.; Rose, M. Frank; Miller, Robert

    2008-01-01

    Data from a 100 J per pulse electrodeless accelerator employing pulsed RF-preionization are presented to gain insight into the accelerator's operating characteristics. The data suggest that the propellant distribution is highly unoptimized, with most of the gas inaccessible to the discharge and the remainder mostly concentrated at the inner radius of the coil. The pulsed RF-preionization discharge produces a visible plasma, but like the gas distribution it mostly appears concentrated at the inner radius of the thruster. Magnetic field probes in the discharge point to a current sheet that is not magnetically impermeable. These data also exhibit signs of nonrepeatability, and time-integrated discharge photography shows signs of spatial nonuniformity in both the radial and azimuthal directions. Terminal voltage measurements on the two capacitor banks of the thruster do not exhibit the asymmetric nature (in time) typically associated with an efficient pulsed plasma accelerator. Based on the experimental evidence, the poor performance of the thruster is thought to be due to insufficient preionization, which at these low discharge energy levels severely limits the ability of the main current pulse to couple with and effectively accelerate the propellant.

  18. Scaling and Systems Considerations in Pulsed Inductive Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polzin, Kurt A.

    2007-01-01

    Performance scaling in pulsed inductive thrusters is discussed in the context of previous experimental studies and modeling results. Two processes, propellant ionization and acceleration, are interconnected where overall thruster performance and operation are concerned, but they are separated here to gain physical insight into each process and arrive at quantitative criteria that should be met to address or mitigate inherent inductive thruster difficulties. The effects of preionization in lowering the discharge energy requirements relative to a case where no preionization is employed, and in influencing the location of the initial current sheet, are described. The relevant performance scaling parameters for the acceleration stage are reviewed, emphasizing their physical importance and the numerical values required for efficient acceleration. The scaling parameters are then related to the design of the pulsed power train providing current to the acceleration stage. The impact of various choices in pulsed power train and circuit topology selection are reviewed, paying special attention to how these choices mitigate or exacerbate switching, lifetime, and power consumption issues.

  19. Thermal Environmental Testing of NSTAR Engineering Model Ion Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rawlin, Vincent K.; Patterson, Michael J.; Becker, Raymond A.

    1999-01-01

    NASA's New Millenium program will fly a xenon ion propulsion system on the Deep Space 1 Mission. Tests were conducted under NASA's Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Applications Readiness (NSTAR) Program with 3 different engineering model ion thrusters to determine thruster thermal characteristics over the NSTAR operating range in a variety of thermal environments. A liquid nitrogen-cooled shroud was used to cold-soak the thruster to -120 C. Initial tests were performed prior to a mature spacecraft design. Those results and the final, severe, requirements mandated by the spacecraft led to several changes to the basic thermal design. These changes were incorporated into a final design and tested over a wide range of environmental conditions.

  20. 2-D Magnetohydrodynamic Modeling of A Pulsed Plasma Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thio, Y. C. Francis; Cassibry, J. T.; Wu, S. T.; Rodgers, Stephen L. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Experiments are being performed on the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) MK-1 pulsed plasma thruster. Data produced from the experiments provide an opportunity to further understand the plasma dynamics in these thrusters via detailed computational modeling. The detailed and accurate understanding of the plasma dynamics in these devices holds the key towards extending their capabilities in a number of applications, including their applications as high power (greater than 1 MW) thrusters, and their use for producing high-velocity, uniform plasma jets for experimental purposes. For this study, the 2-D MHD modeling code, MACH2, is used to provide detailed interpretation of the experimental data. At the same time, a 0-D physics model of the plasma initial phase is developed to guide our 2-D modeling studies.

  1. Derated ion thruster design issues

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, Michael J.; Rawlin, Vincent K.

    1991-01-01

    Preliminary activities to develop and refine a lightweight 30 cm engineering model ion thruster are discussed. The approach is to develop a 'derated' ion thruster capable of performing both auxiliary and primary propulsion roles over an input power range of at least 0.5 to 5.0 kilo-W. Design modifications to a baseline thruster to reduce mass and volume are discussed. Performance data over an order of magnitude input power range are presented, with emphasis on the performance impact of engine throttling. Thruster design modifications to optimize performance over specific power envelopes are discussed. Additionally, lifetime estimates based on wear test measurements are made for the operation envelope of the engine.

  2. Hall thruster with grooved walls

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Hong; Ning, Zhongxi; Yu, Daren

    2013-02-01

    Axial-oriented and azimuthal-distributed grooves are formed on channel walls of a Hall thruster after the engine undergoes a long-term operation. Existing studies have demonstrated the relation between the grooves and the near-wall physics, such as sheath and electron near-wall transport. The idea to optimize the thruster performance with such grooves was also proposed. Therefore, this paper is devoted to explore the effects of wall grooves on the discharge characteristics of a Hall thruster. With experimental measurements, the variations on electron conductivity, ionization distribution, and integrated performance are obtained. The involved physical mechanisms are then analyzed and discussed. The findings help to not only better understand the working principle of Hall thruster discharge but also establish a physical fundamental for the subsequent optimization with artificial grooves.

  3. Transport calculations and accelerator experiments needed for radiation risk assessment in space.

    PubMed

    Sihver, Lembit

    2008-01-01

    The major uncertainties on space radiation risk estimates in humans are associated to the poor knowledge of the biological effects of low and high LET radiation, with a smaller contribution coming from the characterization of space radiation field and its primary interactions with the shielding and the human body. However, to decrease the uncertainties on the biological effects and increase the accuracy of the risk coefficients for charged particles radiation, the initial charged-particle spectra from the Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) and the Solar Particle Events (SPEs), and the radiation transport through the shielding material of the space vehicle and the human body, must be better estimated Since it is practically impossible to measure all primary and secondary particles from all possible position-projectile-target-energy combinations needed for a correct risk assessment in space, accurate particle and heavy ion transport codes must be used. These codes are also needed when estimating the risk for radiation induced failures in advanced microelectronics, such as single-event effects, etc., and the efficiency of different shielding materials. It is therefore important that the models and transport codes will be carefully benchmarked and validated to make sure they fulfill preset accuracy criteria, e.g. to be able to predict particle fluence, dose and energy distributions within a certain accuracy. When validating the accuracy of the transport codes, both space and ground based accelerator experiments are needed The efficiency of passive shielding and protection of electronic devices should also be tested in accelerator experiments and compared to simulations using different transport codes. In this paper different multipurpose particle and heavy ion transport codes will be presented, different concepts of shielding and protection discussed, as well as future accelerator experiments needed for testing and validating codes and shielding materials.

  4. Simulation of Electric Propulsion Thrusters

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-01-01

    Electric Propulsion Thrusters RTO-EN-AVT-194 17 - 3 [3] is a well-developed, highly successful numerical technique for simulating rarefied gas flows ... Rarefied Flows (Modeles et methodes de calcul des coulements de gaz rarefies ). RTO-EN-AVT-194 14. ABSTRACT Electric propulsion thrusters are replacing...METHODS The focus of this article is on numerical methods used to model the flow of gas and plasma through electric propulsion devices. Discussion

  5. Hall Thruster Technology for NASA Science Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Manzella, David; Oh, David; Aadland, Randall

    2005-01-01

    The performance of a prototype Hall thruster designed for Discovery-class NASA science mission applications was evaluated at input powers ranging from 0.2 to 2.9 kilowatts. These data were used to construct a throttle profile for a projected Hall thruster system based on this prototype thruster. The suitability of such a Hall thruster system to perform robotic exploration missions was evaluated through the analysis of a near Earth asteroid sample return mission. This analysis demonstrated that a propulsion system based on the prototype Hall thruster offers mission benefits compared to a propulsion system based on an existing ion thruster.

  6. Superconducting electromagnetic thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Meng, J.

    1993-02-11

    An electromagnetic thruster for marine vehicles using a jet of water driven by the interaction of a mutually perpendicular intensified magnetic field and an intensified electric field is disclosed. The intensified magnetic field is produced by superconducting coils cooled by a coolant such as liquid helium. An intensified electric field is produced by passing high amperage current across the seawater jet. These interacting fields produce a Lorentz force perpendicular to mutually perpendicular electric and magnetic field vectors which is used to drive the seawater jet. In some embodiments, the force may also be used to draw water into the jet from the boundary layer flow around the vehicle thereby reducing boundary layer turbulence and associated radiated noise.

  7. Laser-heated thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kemp, N. H.; Krech, R. H.

    1980-01-01

    The development of computer codes for the thrust chamber of a rocket of which the propellant gas is heated by a CW laser beam was investigated. The following results are presented: (1) simplified models of laser heated thrusters for approximate parametric studies and performance mapping; (3) computer programs for thrust chamber design; and (3) shock tube experiment to measure absorption coefficients. Two thrust chamber design programs are outlined: (1) for seeded hydrogen, with both low temperature and high temperature seeds, which absorbs the laser radiation continuously, starting at the inlet gas temperature; and (2) for hydrogen seeded with cesium, in which a laser supported combustion wave stands near the gas inlet, and heats the gas up to a temperature at which the gas can absorb the laser energy.

  8. Laser-heated thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kemp, N. H.; Lewis, P. F.

    1980-01-01

    The development of a computer program for the design of the thrust chamber for a CW laser heated thruster was examined. Hydrodgen was employed as the propellant gas and high temperature absorber. The laser absorption coefficient of the mixture/laser radiation combination is given in temperature and species densities. Radiative and absorptive properties are given to determine radiation from such gas mixtures. A computer code for calculating the axisymmetric channel flow of a gas mixture in chemical equilibrium, and laser energy absorption and convective and radiative heating is described. It is concluded that: (1) small amounts of cesium seed substantially increase the absorption coefficient of hydrogen; (2) cesium is a strong radiator and contributes greatly to radiation of cesium seeded hydrogen; (3) water vapor is a poor absorber; and (4) for 5.3mcm radiation, both H2O/CO and NO/CO seeded hydrogen mixtures are good absorbers.

  9. Laser characterization of electric field oscillations in the Hall thruster breathing mode

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, Christopher; Lucca Fabris, Andrea; MacDonald-Tenenbaum, Natalia; Hargus, William, Jr.; Cappelli, Mark

    2016-10-01

    Hall thrusters are a mature technology for space propulsion applications that exhibit a wide array of dynamic behavior, including plasma waves, instabilities and turbulence. One common low frequency (10-50 kHz) discharge current oscillation is the breathing mode, a cycle of neutral propellant injection, strong ionization, and ion acceleration by a steep potential gradient. A time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence diagnostic non-intrusively captures this propagating ionization front in the channel of a commercial BHT-600 Hall thruster manufactured by Busek Co. Measurements of ion velocity and relative ion density (using the 5 d[ 4 ] 7 / 2 - 6 p[ 3 ] 5 / 2 Xe II transition at 834.95 nm, vacuum) reveal a dynamic electric field structure traversing the channel throughout the breathing mode cycle. This work is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, with Dr. M. Birkan as program manager. C.Y. acknowledges support from the DOE NSSA Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship under contract DE-FC52-08NA28752.

  10. Multiply charged ion generation according to magnetic field configurations in Hall thruster plasmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Holak; Lee, Seunghun; Kim, Junbum; Lim, Youbong; Choe, Wonho; KIMS Collaboration

    2016-09-01

    Plasma propulsion is the most promising techniques to operate satellites for low earth orbit as well as deep space exploration. A typical plasma propulsion system is Hall thruster (HT) that uses crossed electromagnetic fields to ionize a propellant gas and to accelerate the ionized gas. In HT the tailoring of magnetic fields is significant due to that the electron confinement in the electromagnetic fields affects thruster performances such as thrust force, specific impulse, power efficiency, and life time. We designed an anode layer HT (TAL) with the magnetic field tailoring. The TAL is possible to keep discharge in 1 2 kilovolts, which voltage is useful to obtain high specific impulse The magnetic field tailoring is adapted to minimize undesirable heat dissipations and secondary electron emissions at a wall surrounding plasma In presentation, we will report TAL performances including thrust force, specific impulse, and anode efficiency measured by a pendulum thrust stand. This mechanical measurement will be compared to the plasma diagnostics conducted by angular Faraday probe, retarding potential analyzer, and ExB probe Grant No. 2014M1A3A3A02034510.

  11. Controlled Electron Injection into Plasma Accelerators and SpaceCharge Estimates

    SciTech Connect

    Fubiani, Gwenael G.J.

    2005-09-01

    Plasma based accelerators are capable of producing electron sources which are ultra-compact (a few microns) and high energies (up to hundreds of MeVs) in much shorter distances than conventional accelerators. This is due to the large longitudinal electric field that can be excited without the limitation of breakdown as in RF structures.The characteristic scale length of the accelerating field is the plasma wavelength and for typical densities ranging from 1018 - 1019 cm-3, the accelerating fields and scale length can hence be on the order of 10-100GV/m and 10-40 μm, respectively. The production of quasimonoenergetic beams was recently obtained in a regime relying on self-trapping of background plasma electrons, using a single laser pulse for wakefield generation. In this dissertation, we study the controlled injection via the beating of two lasers (the pump laser pulse creating the plasma wave and a second beam being propagated in opposite direction) which induce a localized injection of background plasma electrons. The aim of this dissertation is to describe in detail the physics of optical injection using two lasers, the characteristics of the electron beams produced (the micrometer scale plasma wavelength can result in femtosecond and even attosecond bunches) as well as a concise estimate of the effects of space charge on the dynamics of an ultra-dense electron bunch with a large energy spread.

  12. Flame acceleration and DDT in channels with obstacles: Effect of obstacle spacing

    SciTech Connect

    Gamezo, Vadim N.; Oran, Elaine S.; Ogawa, Takanobu

    2008-10-15

    We study flame acceleration and deflagration-to-detonation transition (DDT) in obstructed channels using 2D reactive Navier-Stokes numerical simulations. The energy release rate for the stoichiometric hydrogen-air mixture is modeled by one-step Arrhenius kinetics. Computations performed for channels with symmetrical and staggered obstacle configurations show two main effects of obstacle spacing S. First, more obstacles per unit length create more perturbations that increase the flame surface area more quickly, and therefore the flame speed grows faster. Second, DDT occurs more easily when the obstacle spacing is large enough for Mach stems to form between obstacles. These two effects are responsible for three different regimes of flame acceleration and DDT observed in simulations: (1) Detonation is ignited when a Mach stem formed by the diffracting shock reflecting from the side wall collides with an obstacle, (2) Mach stems do not form, and the detonation is not ignited, and (3) Mach stems do not form, but the leading shock becomes strong enough to ignite a detonation by direct collision with the top of an obstacle. Regime 3 is observed for small S and involves multiple isolated detonations that appear between obstacles and play a key role in final stages of flame and shock acceleration. For Regime 1 and staggered obstacle configurations, we observe resonance phenomena that significantly reduce the DDT time when S/2 is comparable to the channel width. Effects of imposed symmetry and stochasticity on DDT phenomena are also considered. (author)

  13. Dynamic response of a poroelastic half-space to accelerating or decelerating trains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cao, Zhigang; Boström, Anders

    2013-05-01

    The dynamic response of a fully saturated poroelastic half-space due to accelerating or decelerating trains is investigated by a semi-analytical method. The ground is modeled as a saturated poroelastic half-space and Biot's theory is applied to characterize the soil medium, taking the coupling effects between the soil skeleton and the pore fluid into account. A detailed track system is considered incorporating rails, sleepers and embankment, which are modeled as Euler-Bernoulli beams, an anisotropic Kirchhoff plate, and an elastic layer, respectively. The acceleration or deceleration of the train is simulated by properly choosing the time history of the train speed using Fourier transforms combined with Fresnel integrals in the transformed domain. The time domain results are obtained by the fast Fourier transform (FFT). It is found that the deceleration of moving trains can cause a significant increase to the ground vibrations as well as the excess pore water pressure responses at the train speed 200 km/h. Furthermore, the single-phase elastic soil model would underestimate the vertical displacement responses caused by both the accelerating and decelerating trains at the speed 200 km/h.

  14. Effect of Inductive Coil Geometry on the Operating Characteristics of an Inductive Pulsed Plasma Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hallock, Ashley K.; Polzin, Kurt A.; Kimberlin, Adam C.; Perdue, Kevin A.

    2012-01-01

    Operational characteristics of two separate inductive thrusters with conical theta pinch coils of different cone angles are explored through thrust stand measurements and time- integrated, unfiltered photography. Trends in impulse bit measurements indicate that, in the present experimental configuration, the thruster with the inductive coil possessing a smaller cone angle produced larger values of thrust, in apparent contradiction to results of a previous thruster acceleration model. Areas of greater light intensity in photographs of thruster operation are assumed to qualitatively represent locations of increased current density. Light intensity is generally greater in images of the thruster with the smaller cone angle when compared to those of the thruster with the larger half cone angle for the same operating conditions. The intensity generally decreases in both thrusters for decreasing mass flow rate and capacitor voltage. The location of brightest light intensity shifts upstream for decreasing mass flow rate of propellant and downstream for decreasing applied voltage. Recognizing that there typically exists an optimum ratio of applied electric field to gas pressure with respect to breakdown efficiency, this result may indicate that the optimum ratio was not achieved uniformly over the coil face, leading to non-uniform and incomplete current sheet formation in violation of the model assumption of immediate formation where all the injected propellant is contained in a magnetically-impermeable current sheet.

  15. Direct Drive Hall Thruster System Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoskins, W. Andrew; Homiak, Daniel; Cassady, R. Joseph; Kerslake, Tom; Peterson, Todd; Ferguson, Dale; Snyder, Dave; Mikellides, Ioannis; Jongeward, Gary; Schneider, Todd

    2003-01-01

    The sta:us of development of a Direct Drive Ha!! Thruster System is presented. 13 the first part. a s:udy of the impacts to spacecraft systems and mass benefits of a direct-drive architecture is reviewed. The study initially examines four cases of SPT-100 and BPT-4000 Hall thrusters used for north-south station keeping on an EXPRESS-like geosynchronous spacecraft and for primary propulsion for a Deep Space- 1 based science spacecraft. The study is also extended the impact of direct drive on orbit raising for higher power geosynchronous spacecraft and on other deep space missions as a function of power and delta velocity. The major system considerations for accommodating a direct drive Hall thruster are discussed, including array regulation, system grounding, distribution of power to the spacecraft bus, and interactions between current-voltage characteristics for the arrays and thrusters. The mass benefit analysis shows that, for the initial cases, up to 42 kg of dry mass savings is attributable directly to changes in the propulsion hardware. When projected mass impacts of operating the arrays and the electric power system at 300V are included, up to 63 kg is saved for the four initial cases. Adoption of high voltage lithium ion battery technology is projected to further improve these savings. Orbit raising of higher powered geosynchronous spacecraft, is the mission for which direct drive provides the most benefit, allowing higher efficiency electric orbit raising to be accomplished in a limited period of time, as well as nearly eliminating significant power processing heat rejection mass. The total increase in useful payload to orbit ranges up to 278 kg for a 25 kW spacecraft, launched from an Atlas IIA. For deep space missions, direct drive is found to be most applicable to higher power missions with delta velocities up to several km/s , typical of several Discovery-class missions. In the second part, the status of development of direct drive propulsion power

  16. Development of a direct evaporation bismuth Hall thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Massey, Dean Richard

    diffusion bonding process was also developed to join the molybdenum porous disc to the molybdenum anode. Operation of the direct evaporation bismuth Hall thruster revealed interesting phenomenon. By utilizing constant current mode on a discharge power supply, the discharge voltage settles out to a stable operating point which is a function of discharge current, anode face area and average pore size on the vaporizer. Oscillations with a 40 second period were also observed. Preliminary performance data suggests that the direct evaporation bismuth Hall thruster performs similar to xenon and krypton Hall thrusters. Plume interrogation with a Retarding Potential Analyzer confirmed that bismuth ions were being efficiently accelerated while Faraday probe data gave a view of the ion density in the exhausted plume.

  17. An Experimental Study of a Pulsed Electromagnetic Plasma Accelerator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thio, Y. C. Francis; Eskridge, Richard; Lee, Mike; Smith, James; Martin, Adam; Markusic, Tom E.; Cassibry, Jason T.; Rodgers, Stephen L. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Experiments are being performed on the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) pulsed electromagnetic plasma accelerator (PEPA-0). Data produced from the experiments provide an opportunity to further understand the plasma dynamics in these thrusters via detailed computational modeling. The detailed and accurate understanding of the plasma dynamics in these devices holds the key towards extending their capabilities in a number of applications, including their applications as high power (greater than 1 MW) thrusters, and their use for producing high-velocity, uniform plasma jets for experimental purposes. For this study, the 2-D MHD modeling code, MACH2, is used to provide detailed interpretation of the experimental data. At the same time, a 0-D physics model of the plasma initial phase is developed to guide our 2-D modeling studies.

  18. Applications of Accelerators and Radiation Sources in the Field of Space Research and Industry.

    PubMed

    Campajola, Luigi; Di Capua, Francesco

    2016-12-01

    Beyond their important economic role in commercial communications, satellites in general are critical infrastructure because of the services they provide. In addition to satellites providing information which facilitates a better understanding of the space environment and improved performance of physics experiments, satellite observations are also used to actively monitor weather, geological processes, agricultural development and the evolution of natural and man-made hazards. Defence agencies depend on satellite services for communication in remote locations, as well as for reconnaissance and intelligence. Both commercial and government users rely on communication satellites to provide communication in the event of a disaster that damages ground-based communication systems, provide news, education and entertainment to remote areas and connect global businesses. The space radiation environment is an hazard to most satellite missions and can lead to extremely difficult operating conditions for all of the equipment travelling in space. Here, we first provide an overview of the main components of space radiation environment, followed by a description of the basic mechanism of the interaction of radiation with matter. This is followed by an introduction to the space radiation hardness assurance problem and the main effects of natural radiation to the microelectronics (total ionizing dose, displacement damage and the single-event effect and a description of how different effects occurring in the space can be tested in on-ground experiments by using particle accelerators and radiation sources. We also discuss standards and the recommended procedures to obtain reliable results.

  19. Summary Status of the Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS), September 1993

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DeLombard, Richard

    1994-01-01

    The Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) was developed to measure the microgravity acceleration environment to which NASA science payloads are exposed during microgravity science missions on the shuttle. Six flight units have been fabricated to date. The inaugural flight of a SAMS unit was on STS-40 in June 1991 as part of the First Spacelab Life Sciences mission. Since that time, SAMS has flown on six additional missions and gathered eighteen gigabytes of data representing sixty-eight days of microgravity environment. The SAMS units have been flown in the shuttle middeck and cargo bay, in the Spacelab module, and in the Spacehab module. This paper summarizes the missions and experiments which SAMS has supported. The quantity of data and the utilization of the SAMS data is described. Future activities are briefly described for the SAMS project and the Microgravity Measurement and Analysis project (MMAP) to support science experiments and scientists with microgravity environment measurement and analysis.

  20. Power Reduction of the Air-Breathing Hall-Effect Thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Sungrae

    Electric propulsion system is spotlighted as the next generation space propulsion system due to its benefits; one of them is specific impulse. While there are a lot of types in electric propulsion system, Hall-Effect Thruster, one of electric propulsion system, has higher thrust-to-power ratio and requires fewer power supplies for operation in comparison to other electric propulsion systems, which means it is optimal for long space voyage. The usual propellant for Hall-Effect Thruster is Xenon and it is used to be stored in the tank, which may increase the weight of the thruster. Therefore, one theory that uses the ambient air as a propellant has been proposed and it is introduced as Air-Breathing Hall-Effect Thruster. Referring to the analysis on Air-Breathing Hall-Effect Thruster, the goal of this paper is to reduce the power of the thruster so that it can be applied to real mission such as satellite orbit adjustment. To reduce the power of the thruster, two assumptions are considered. First one is changing the altitude for the operation, while another one is assuming the alpha value that is electron density to ambient air density. With assumptions above, the analysis was done and the results are represented. The power could be decreased to 10s˜1000s with the assumptions. However, some parameters that do not satisfy the expectation, which would be the question for future work, and it will be introduced at the end of the thesis.

  1. Perception of tilt (somatogravic illusion) in response to sustained linear acceleration during space flight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clement, G.; Moore, S. T.; Raphan, T.; Cohen, B.

    2001-01-01

    During the 1998 Neurolab mission (STS-90), four astronauts were exposed to interaural and head vertical (dorsoventral) linear accelerations of 0.5 g and 1 g during constant velocity rotation on a centrifuge, both on Earth and during orbital space flight. Subjects were oriented either left-ear-out or right-ear-out (Gy centrifugation), or lay supine along the centrifuge arm with their head off-axis (Gz centrifugation). Pre-flight centrifugation, producing linear accelerations of 0.5 g and 1 g along the Gy (interaural) axis, induced illusions of roll-tilt of 20 degrees and 34 degrees for gravito-inertial acceleration (GIA) vector tilts of 27 degrees and 45 degrees , respectively. Pre-flight 0.5 g and 1 g Gz (head dorsoventral) centrifugation generated perceptions of backward pitch of 5 degrees and 15 degrees , respectively. In the absence of gravity during space flight, the same centrifugation generated a GIA that was equivalent to the centripetal acceleration and aligned with the Gy or Gz axes. Perception of tilt was underestimated relative to this new GIA orientation during early in-flight Gy centrifugation, but was close to the GIA after 16 days in orbit, when subjects reported that they felt as if they were 'lying on side'. During the course of the mission, inflight roll-tilt perception during Gy centrifugation increased from 45 degrees to 83 degrees at 1 g and from 42 degrees to 48 degrees at 0.5 g. Subjects felt 'upside-down' during in-flight Gz centrifugation from the first in-flight test session, which reflected the new GIA orientation along the head dorsoventral axis. The different levels of in-flight tilt perception during 0.5 g and 1 g Gy centrifugation suggests that other non-vestibular inputs, including an internal estimate of the body vertical and somatic sensation, were utilized in generating tilt perception. Interpretation of data by a weighted sum of body vertical and somatic vectors, with an estimate of the GIA from the otoliths, suggests that

  2. The effects of magnetic nozzle configurations on plasma thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    York, Thomas M.

    1989-01-01

    Plasma thrusters have been operated at power levels from 10kW to 0.1MW. When these devices have had magnetic fields applied to them which form a nozzle configuration for the expanding plasma, they have shown marked increases in exhaust velocity which is in direct proportion to the magnitude of the applied field. Further, recent results have shown that electrode erosion may be influenced by applied magnetic fields. This research is directed to the experimental and computational study of the effects of applied magnetic field nozzles in the acceleration of plasma flows. Plasma source devices which eliminate the plasma interaction in normal thrusters are studied as most basic. Normal thruster configurations will be studied without applied fields and with applied magnetic nozzle fields. Unique computational studies will utilize existing codes which accurately include transport processes. Unique diagnostic studies will support the experimental studies to generate new data. Both computation and diagnostics will be combined to indicate the physical mechanisms and transport properties that are operative in order to allow scaling and accurate prediction of thruster performance.

  3. The effects of magnetic nozzle configurations on plasma thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    York, Thomas M.

    1990-01-01

    Plasma thrusters have been operated at power levels from 10 kw to 0.1 MW. When these devices have had magnetic fields applied to them which form a nozzle configuration for the expanding plasma, they have shown marked increases in exhaust velocity which is in direct proportion to the magnitude of the applied field. Further, recent results have shown that electrode erosion may be influenced by applied magnetic fields. This research effort is directed to the experimental and computational study of the effects of applied magnetic field nozzles in the acceleration of plasma flows. Plasma source devices which eliminate the plasma interaction in normal thrusters are studied as most basic. Normal thruster configurations were studied without applied fields and with applied magnetic nozzle fields. Unique computational studies utilize existing codes which accurately include transport processes. Unique diagnostic studies supported the experimental studies to generate new data. Both computation and diagnostics were combined to indicate the physical mechanisms and transport properties that are operative in order to allow scaling and accurate prediction of thruster performance.

  4. Development And Testing Of The Inertial Electrostatic Confinement Diffusion Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Becnel, Mark D.; Polzin, Kurt A.

    2013-01-01

    The Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) diffusion thruster is an experiment in active development that takes advantage of physical phenomenon that occurs during operation of an IEC device. The IEC device has been proposed as a fusion reactor design that relies on traditional electrostatic ion acceleration and is typically arranged in a spherical geometry. The design incorporates two radially-symmetric spherical electrodes. Often the inner electrode utilizes a grid of wire shaped in a sphere with a radius 15 to 50 percent of the radius of the outer electrode. The inner electrode traditionally has 90 percent or more transparency to allow particles (ions) to pass to the center of the spheres and collide/recombine in the dense plasma core at r=0. When operating the IEC, an unsteady plasma leak is typically observed passing out one of the gaps in the lattice grid of the inner electrode. The IED diffusion thruster is based upon the idea that this plasma leak can be used for propulsive purposes. The IEC diffusion thruster utilizes the radial symmetry found in the IEC device. A cylindrical configuration is employed here as it will produce a dense core of plasma the length of the cylindrical grid while promoting the plasma leak to exhaust through an electromagnetic nozzle at one end of the apparatus. A proof-of-concept IEC diffusion thruster is operational and under testing using argon as propellant (Figure 1).

  5. Hybrid-PIC Modeling of a High-Voltage, High-Specific-Impulse Hall Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, Brandon D.; Boyd, Iain D.; Kamhawi, Hani; Huang, Wensheng

    2013-01-01

    The primary life-limiting mechanism of Hall thrusters is the sputter erosion of the discharge channel walls by high-energy propellant ions. Because of the difficulty involved in characterizing this erosion experimentally, many past efforts have focused on numerical modeling to predict erosion rates and thruster lifespan, but those analyses were limited to Hall thrusters operating in the 200-400V discharge voltage range. Thrusters operating at higher discharge voltages (V(sub d) >= 500 V) present an erosion environment that may differ greatly from that of the lower-voltage thrusters modeled in the past. In this work, HPHall, a well-established hybrid-PIC code, is used to simulate NASA's High-Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAc) at discharge voltages of 300, 400, and 500V as a first step towards modeling the discharge channel erosion. It is found that the model accurately predicts the thruster performance at all operating conditions to within 6%. The model predicts a normalized plasma potential profile that is consistent between all three operating points, with the acceleration zone appearing in the same approximate location. The expected trend of increasing electron temperature with increasing discharge voltage is observed. An analysis of the discharge current oscillations shows that the model predicts oscillations that are much greater in amplitude than those measured experimentally at all operating points, suggesting that the differences in oscillation amplitude are not strongly associated with discharge voltage.

  6. SAMS Acceleration Measurements on MIR

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moskowitz, Milton E.; Hrovat, Kenneth; Finkelstein, Robert; Reckart, Timothy

    1997-01-01

    During NASA Increment 3 (September 1996 to January 1997), about 5 gigabytes of acceleration data were collected by the Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) onboard the Russian Space Station, Mir. The data were recorded on 11 optical disks and were returned to Earth on STS-81. During this time, SAMS data were collected in the Priroda module to support the following experiments: the Mir Structural Dynamics Experiment (MiSDE) and Binary Colloidal Alloy Tests (BCAT). This report points out some of the salient features of the microgravity environment to which these experiments were exposed. Also documented are mission events of interest such as the docked phase of STS-81 operations, a Progress engine burn, attitude control thruster operation, and crew exercise. Also included are a description of the Mir module orientations, and the panel notations within the modules. This report presents an overview of the SAMS acceleration measurements recorded by 10 Hz and 100 Hz sensor heads. Variations in the acceleration environment caused by unique activities such as crew exercise and life-support fans are presented. The analyses included herein complement those presented in previous mission summary reports published by the Principal Investigator Microgravity Services (PIMS) group.

  7. Power Electronics Development for the SPT-100 Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hamley, John A.; Hill, Gerald M.; Sankovic, John M.

    1994-01-01

    Russian electric propulsion technologies have recently become available on the world market. Of significant interest is the Stationary Plasma Thruster (SPT) which has a significant flight heritage in the former Soviet space program. The SPT has performance levels of up to 1600 seconds of specific impulse at a thrust efficiency of 0.50. Studies have shown that this level of performance is well suited for stationkeeping applications, and the SPT-100, with a 1.35 kW input power level, is presently being evaluated for use on Western commercial satellites. Under a program sponsored by the Innovative Science and Technology Division of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, a team of U.S. electric propulsion specialists observed the operation of the SPT-100 in Russia. Under this same program, power electronics were developed to operate the SPT-100 to characterize thruster performance and operation in the U.S. The power electronics consisted of a discharge, cathode heater, and pulse igniter power supplies to operate the thruster with manual flow control. A Russian designed matching network was incorporated in the discharge supply to ensure proper operation with the thruster. The cathode heater power supply and igniter were derived from ongoing development projects. No attempts were made to augment thruster electromagnet current in this effort. The power electronics successfully started and operated the SPT-100 thruster in performance tests at NASA Lewis, with minimal oscillations in the discharge current. The efficiency of the main discharge supply was measured at 0.92, and straightforward modifications were identified which could increase the efficiency to 0.94.

  8. Dual-throat thruster thermal model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ewen, R. L.; Obrien, C. J.; Matthews, L. W.

    1986-01-01

    The dual-throat engine is one of the dual nozzle engine concepts studied for advanced space transportation applications. It provides a thrust change and an in-flight area ratio change through the use of two concentric combustors with their throats arranged in series. Test results are presented for a dual throat thruster burning gaseous oxygen and hydrogen at primary (inner) chamber pressures from 380 to 680 psia. Heat flux profiles were obtained from calorimetric cooling channels in the inner nozzle, outer or secondary chamber and the tip of the inner nozzle. Data were obtained for two nozzle spacings over a chamber pressure ratio (secondary/primary) range of 0.45 to 0.83 with both chambers firing (Mode I). Fluxes near the end of the inner nozzle were significantly higher than in Mode II when only the inner chamber was fired, due to the flow separation and recirculation caused by the back pressure imposed by the secondary chamber. As the pressure ratio increased, these heat fluxes increased and the region of high heat flux relative to Mode II extended farther upstream. The use of the gaseous hydrogen bleed flow in the secondary chamber to control heat fluxes in the primary plume attachment region was investigated in Mode II testing. A thermal model of a dual throat thruster was developed and upgraded using the experimental data.

  9. Ion Propulsion Thruster Including a Plurality of Ion Optic Electrode Pairs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, Michael J. (Inventor)

    2016-01-01

    Ion optics for use in a conventional or annular or other shaped ion thruster are disclosed including a plurality of planar, spaced apart ion optic electrode pairs sized to include a diameter smaller than the diameter of thruster exhaust and retained in, on or otherwise associated with a frame across the thruster exhaust. An electrical connection may be provided for establishing electrical connectivity among a set of first upstream electrodes and an electrical connection may be provided for establishing electrical connectivity among the second downstream electrodes.

  10. Vibration isolation technology: Sensitivity of selected classes of space experiments to residual accelerations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alexander, J. Iwan D.; Zhang, Y. Q.; Adebiyi, Adebimpe

    1989-01-01

    Progress performed on each task is described. Order of magnitude analyses related to liquid zone sensitivity and thermo-capillary flow sensitivity are covered. Progress with numerical models of the sensitivity of isothermal liquid zones is described. Progress towards a numerical model of coupled buoyancy-driven and thermo-capillary convection experiments is also described. Interaction with NASA personnel is covered. Results to date are summarized and they are discussed in terms of the predicted space station acceleration environment. Work planned for the second year is also discussed.

  11. Bayesian accelerated failure time model for space-time dependency in a geographically augmented survival model

    PubMed Central

    Onicescu, Georgiana; Lawson, Andrew; Zhang, Jiajia; Gebregziabher, Mulugeta; Wallace, Kristin; Eberth, Jan M

    2016-01-01

    In this paper, we extend the spatially explicit survival model for small area cancer data by allowing dependency between space and time and using accelerated failure time models. Spatial dependency is modeled directly in the definition of the survival, density, and hazard functions. The models are developed in the context of county level aggregated data. Two cases are considered: the first assumes that the spatial and temporal distributions are independent; the second allows for dependency between the spatial and temporal components. We apply the models to prostate cancer data from the Louisiana SEER cancer registry. PMID:26220537

  12. Turbulent Magnetohydrodynamic Acceleration Processes: Theory SSX Experiments and Connections to Space and Astrophysics

    SciTech Connect

    W Matthaeus; M Brown

    2006-07-15

    This is the final technical report for a funded program to provide theoretical support to the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment. We examined mhd relaxation, reconnecton between two spheromaks, particle acceleration by these processes, and collisonless effects, e.g., Hall effect near the reconnection zone,. Throughout the project, applications to space plasma physics and astrophysics were included. Towards the end ofthe project we were examining a more fully turbulent relaxation associated with unconstrained dynamics in SSX. We employed experimental, spacecraft observations, analytical and numerical methods.

  13. iSat Surface Charging and Thruster Plume Interactions Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Parker, L. Neergaard; Willis, E. M.; Minow, J. I.

    2016-01-01

    Characterizing the electromagnetic interaction of a satellite in low Earth, high inclination orbit with the space plasma environment and identifying viable charging mitigation strategies is a critical mission design task. High inclination orbits expose the vehicle to auroral charging environments that can potentially charge surfaces to kilovolt potentials and electric thruster propulsion systems will interact with the ambient plasma environment throughout the orbit. NASA is designing the Iodine Satellite (iSAT) cubesat mission to demonstrate operations of an iodine electric thruster system. The spacecraft will be deployed as a secondary payload from a launch vehicle which has not yet been identified so the program must plan for the worst case environments over a range of orbital inclinations. We will first present results from a NASA and Air Force Charging Analyzer Program (Nascap) -2k surface charging calculation used to evaluate the effects of auroral charging on the spacecraft and to provide the charging levels at other locations in orbit for a thruster plume interaction analysis for the iSAT mission. We will then discuss results from the thruster interactions analysis using the Electric Propulsion Interactions Code (EPIC) with inputs from Nascap-2k. The results of these analyses are being used by the iSAT program to better understand how their spacecraft will interact with the space plasma environment in the range of environments that could be encountered when the final mission orbit is selected.

  14. Mercury ion thruster research, 1978

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilbur, P. J.

    1978-01-01

    The effects of 8 cm thruster main and neutralizer cathode operating conditions on cathode orifice plate temperatures were studied. The effects of cathode operating conditions on insert temperature profiles and keeper voltages are presented for three different types of inserts. The bulk of the emission current is generally observed to come from the downstream end of the insert rather than from the cathode orifice plate. Results of a test in which the screen grid plasma sheath of a thruster was probed as the beam current was varied are shown. Grid performance obtained with a grid machined from glass ceramic is discussed. The effects of copper and nitrogen impurities on the sputtering rates of thruster materials are measured experimentally and a model describing the rate of nitrogen chemisorption on materials in either the beam or the discharge chamber is presented. The results of optimization of a radial field thruster design are presented. Performance of this device is shown to be comparable to that of a divergent field thruster and efficient operation with the screen grid biased to floating potential, where its susceptibility to sputter erosion damage is reduced, is demonstrated.

  15. Stationary Plasma Thruster Plume Characteristics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Myers, Roger M.; Manzella, David H.

    1994-01-01

    Stationary Plasma Thrusters (SPT's) are being investigated for application to a variety of near-term missions. This paper presents the results of a preliminary study of the thruster plume characteristics which are needed to assess spacecraft integration requirements. Langmuir probes, planar probes, Faraday cups, and a retarding potential analyzer were used to measure plume properties. For the design operating voltage of 300 V the centerline electron density was found to decrease from approximately 1.8 x 10 exp 17 cubic meters at a distance of 0.3 m to 1.8 X 10 exp 14 cubic meters at a distance of 4 m from the thruster. The electron temperature over the same region was between 1.7 and 3.5 eV. Ion current density measurements showed that the plume was sharply peaked, dropping by a factor of 2.6 within 22 degrees of centerline. The ion energy 4 m from the thruster and 15 degrees off-centerline was approximately 270 V. The thruster cathode flow rate and facility pressure were found to strongly affect the plume properties. In addition to the plume measurements, the data from the various probe types were used to assess the impact of probe design criteria

  16. Azimuthal Spoke Propagation in Hall Effect Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sekerak, Michael J.; Longmier, Benjamin W.; Gallimore, Alec D.; Brown, Daniel L.; Hofer, Richard R.; Polk, James E.

    2013-01-01

    Spokes are azimuthally propagating perturbations in the plasma discharge of Hall Effect Thrusters (HETs) that travel in the E x B direction and have been observed in many different systems. The propagation of azimuthal spokes are investigated in a 6 kW HET known as the H6 using ultra-fast imaging and azimuthally spaced probes. A spoke surface is a 2-D plot of azimuthal light intensity evolution over time calculated from 87,500 frames/s videos. The spoke velocity has been determined using three methods with similar results: manual fitting of diagonal lines on the spoke surface, linear cross-correlation between azimuthal locations and an approximated dispersion relation. The spoke velocity for three discharge voltages (300, 400 and 450 V) and three anode mass flow rates (14.7, 19.5 and 25.2 mg/s) yielded spoke velocities between 1500 and 2200 m/s across a range of normalized magnetic field settings. The spoke velocity was inversely dependent on magnetic field strength for low B-field settings and asymptoted at B-field higher values. The velocities and frequencies are compared to standard drifts and plasma waves such as E x B drift, electrostatic ion cyclotron, magnetosonic and various drift waves. The empirically approximated dispersion relation yielded a characteristic velocity that matched the ion acoustic speed for 5 eV electrons that exist in the near-anode and near-field plume regions of the discharge channel based on internal measurements. Thruster performance has been linked to operating mode where thrust-to-power is maximized when azimuthal spokes are present so investigating the underlying mechanism of spokes will benefit thruster operation.

  17. Progress on the Plasmoid Thruster Experiment (PTX)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Martin, Adam; Eskridge, Richard; Fimognari, Peter; Koelfgen, Syri

    2005-01-01

    A plasmoid, also called a compact toroid, is a compact plasma structure with an integral magnetic field, that may be categorized according to the relative strength of the poloidal and toroidal magnetic field (Bp and Bt, respectively). An object with Bp/Bt much greater than 1 is called a Field Reverse Configuration (FRC); if Bp = Bt, it is called a Spheromak. The plasmoid thruster is a pulsed inductive device which operates by repetitively producing plasmoids that are accelerated and ejected at high velocity. As the process is inductive, this thruster avoids the problem of electrode erosion. Also, the magnetic structure of the plasmoid should suppress thermal and mass losses to the wall, and improve detachment of the plasma exhaust from the thruster. This concept should be capable of producing an Isp of 5,000 seconds and greater, with thrust densities of order 10(exp 5) N/sq m. The plasmoid thruster consists chiefly of a conical theta-pinch coil. Propellant is introduced onto a bias magnetic field, produced by an auxiliary coil, and is then pre-ionized, freezing in the magnetic field. The theta-pinch coil is then energized producing a field aligned anti- parallel to the bias field. The reversed field reconnects with the bias field to form the plasmoid. The magnetic pressure of the reversed field accelerates the plasmoid out of the thruster . A series of experiments have been conducted on the PTX device, which consisted of a single turn conical theta-pinch coil, driven by a 560 nF, 35 kV capacitor bank, which rang at a frequency of 500 kHz, and served all three functions required for formation: pre-ionization, bias field loading, and field reversal. Initial ionization was found to occur in an annular region at the exit plane of the coil, and was found to be reproducible with a variety of gases, including H2, D2, Ar, and an H2/N2 mixture (75% / 25%). A fast gas valve for injecting propellant has been tested, as well as a ringing pre-ionization circuit (operating at 5

  18. Design of an Integrated-System FARAD Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polzin, K.A.; Rose, R.F.; Miller, R.; Owens, T.

    2007-01-01

    Pulsed inductive plasma accelerators are spacecraft propulsion devices in which energy is stored in a capacitor and then discharged through an inductive coil. The device is electrodeless, inducing a current s heet in a plasma located near the face of the coil. The propellant is accelerated and expelled at a high exhaust velocity (order of 10 km/s) through the interaction of the plasma current and the induced magne tic field, The Faraday Accelerator with RF-Assisted Discharge (FARAD) thruster is a type of pulsed inductive plasma accelerator in which t he plasma is preionized by a mechanism separate from that used to for m the current sheet and accelerate the gas. Employing a separate preionization mechanism allows for the formation of an inductive current s heet at much lower discharge energies and voltages than those used in previous pulsed inductive accelerators like the Pulsed Inductive Thr uster (PIT). In this paper, we present the design of a benchtop FARAD thruster with all the subsystems (mass injection, preionization, and acceleration) integrated into a single unit. Design of the thruster follows the guidelines and similarity performance parameters presented elsewhere. The system is designed to use the ringing, RF-frequency s ignal produced by a discharging Vector Inversion Generator (VIG) to p reionize the gas. The acceleration stage operates on the order of 100 J/pulse and can be driven by several different pulsed powertrains. These include a simple capacitor coupled to the system, a Bernardes and Merryman configuration, and a pulsecompression circuit that takes a temporally broad, low current pulse and transforms it into a short, h igh current pulse. A set of applied magnetic field coils are integrated into the system to guide the preionized propellant as it spreads ov er the face of the inductive acceleration coil. The coils are operate d in a pulsed mode, and the thruster can be operated without using the coils to determine if there is a performance

  19. Requirements and Development of an Acceleration Measurement System for International Space Station Microgravity Science Payloads

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sutliff, Thomas J.

    1997-01-01

    The International Space Station is being developed by NASA and international partners as a versatile user platform to allow long term on-orbit investigations of a variety of scientific and technology arenas. In particular, scientific studies are planned within a research class known as microgravity science in areas such as biotechnology, combustion, fluid physics, and materials sciences. An acceleration measurement system is in development to aid such research conducted in the on-orbit conditions of apparent weightlessness. This system provides a general purpose acceleration measurement capability in support of these payloads and investigators. Such capability allows for systematic study of scientific phenomena by obtaining information regarding the local accelerations present during experiment operations. Preparations for implementing this flight measurement system involves two distinct stages: requirements development prior to initiating the design activity, and the design activity itself. This paper defines the requirements definition approach taken, provides an overview of the results of the requirements phase, and outlines the initial design considerations being addressed for this measurement system. Some preliminary engineering approaches are also described.

  20. Issues on human acceleration tolerance after long-duration space flights

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kumar, K. Vasantha; Norfleet, William T.

    1992-01-01

    This report reviewed the literature on human tolerance to acceleration at 1 G and changes in tolerance after exposure to hypogravic fields. It was found that human tolerance decreased after exposure to hypokinetic and hypogravic fields, but the magnitude of such reduction ranged from 0 to 30 percent for plateau G forces and 30 to 70 percent for time tolerance on sustained G forces. A logistic regression model of the probability of individuals with 25 percent reduction in +Gz tolerance after 1 to 41 days of hypogravic exposures was constructed. The estimated values from the model showed a good correlation with the observed data. A brief review of the need for in-flight centrifuge during long-duration missions was also presented. Review of the available data showed that the use of countermeasures (such as anti-G suits, periodic acceleration, and exercise) reduced the decrement in acceleration tolerance after long-duration space flights. Areas of further research include quantification of the effect of countermeasures on tolerance, and methods to augment tolerance during and after exposures to hypogravic fields. Such data are essential for planning long-duration human missions.

  1. Hot-Fire Testing of a 1N AF-M315E Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burnside, Christopher G.; Pedersen, Kevin; Pierce, Charles W.

    2015-01-01

    This hot-fire test continues NASA investigation of green propellant technologies for future missions. To show the potential for green propellants to replace some hydrazine systems in future spacecraft, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is continuing to embark on hot-fire test campaigns with various green propellant blends. NASA completed a hot-fire test of a 1N AF-M315E monopropellant thruster at the Marshall Space Flight Center in the small altitude test stand located in building 4205. The thruster is a ground test article used for basic performance determination and catalyst studies. The purpose of the hot-fire testing was for performance determination of a 1N size thruster and form a baseline from which to study catalyst performance and life with follow-on testing to be conducted at a later date. The thruster performed as expected. The result of the hot-fire testing are presented in this paper and presentation.

  2. Inert gas thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kaufman, H. R.

    1977-01-01

    Inert gases, particularly argon and xenon, are of interest as possible alternatives to the usual electric thruster propellants of mercury and cesium. Hollow cathode data were obtained for a wide range of operating conditions. Some test conditions gave plasma coupling voltages at or below the sputtering threshold, hence should permit long operating lifetimes. All observations of hollow cathode operation were consistent with a single theory of operation, in which a significant amount of the total electron emission is from localized areas within the orifice. This mode of emission is also supported by scanning electron microscope photographs that indicate local temperatures at or near the melting temperature of the tungsten tip. Experimental hollow cathode performance was correlated for two orifice diameters, three inert gas propellants, and a range of flow rates for each propellant. The basic theory for the production of doubly ionized argon and xenon was completed. Experimental measurements of the doubly ionized fraction agree with theory within about plus or minus 20 percent. High voltage isolators were studied for the propellant feed line. The breakdown voltage per segment ranged from 300 to over 500 V with argon.

  3. Advanced ion thruster research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilbur, P. J.

    1984-01-01

    A simple model describing the discharge chamber performance of high strength, cusped magnetic field ion thrusters is developed. The model is formulated in terms of the energy cost of producing ions in the discharge chamber and the fraction of ions produced in the discharge chamber that are extracted to form the ion beam. The accuracy of the model is verified experimentally in a series of tests wherein the discharge voltage, propellant, grid transparency to neutral atoms, beam diameter and discharge chamber wall temperature are varied. The model is exercised to demonstrate what variations in performance might be expected by varying discharge chamber parameters. The results of a study of xenon and argon orificed hollow cathodes are reported. These results suggest that a hollow cathode model developed from research conducted on mercury cathodes can also be applied to xenon and argon. Primary electron mean free paths observed in argon and xenon cathodes that are larger than those found in mercury cathodes are identified as a cause of performance differences between mercury and inert gas cathodes. Data required as inputs to the inert gas cathode model are presented so it can be used as an aid in cathode design.

  4. Helicon plasma thruster discharge model

    SciTech Connect

    Lafleur, T.

    2014-04-15

    By considering particle, momentum, and energy balance equations, we develop a semi-empirical quasi one-dimensional analytical discharge model of radio-frequency and helicon plasma thrusters. The model, which includes both the upstream plasma source region as well as the downstream diverging magnetic nozzle region, is compared with experimental measurements and confirms current performance levels. Analysis of the discharge model identifies plasma power losses on the radial and back wall of the thruster as the major performance reduction factors. These losses serve as sinks for the input power which do not contribute to the thrust, and which reduce the maximum plasma density and hence propellant utilization. With significant radial plasma losses eliminated, the discharge model (with argon) predicts specific impulses in excess of 3000 s, propellant utilizations above 90%, and thruster efficiencies of about 30%.

  5. Effects of ionization distribution on plasma beam focusing characteristics in Hall thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ning, Zhongxi; Liu, Hui; Yu, Daren; Zhou, Zhongxiang

    2011-11-01

    The relationship between ionization distribution and divergence of plasma beam in a Hall thruster is investigated using spectrum and probe methods. Experimental results indicate that the shift of ionization region towards the exit of channel causes the reduction of accelerating field and the enhancement of electron thermal pressure effect, which result in further deviation of equipotential lines to magnetic field lines and further increase in divergence of plasma beam. It is, therefore, suggested that to put the ionization region deep inside the channel and separate it from the acceleration region at the design, and development stage is helpful to improve the plasma beam focusing characteristics of a Hall thruster.

  6. Effects of ionization distribution on plasma beam focusing characteristics in Hall thrusters

    SciTech Connect

    Ning Zhongxi; Liu Hui; Yu Daren; Zhou Zhongxiang

    2011-11-28

    The relationship between ionization distribution and divergence of plasma beam in a Hall thruster is investigated using spectrum and probe methods. Experimental results indicate that the shift of ionization region towards the exit of channel causes the reduction of accelerating field and the enhancement of electron thermal pressure effect, which result in further deviation of equipotential lines to magnetic field lines and further increase in divergence of plasma beam. It is, therefore, suggested that to put the ionization region deep inside the channel and separate it from the acceleration region at the design, and development stage is helpful to improve the plasma beam focusing characteristics of a Hall thruster.

  7. NEXT Ion Thruster Thermal Model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    VanNoord, Jonathan L.

    2010-01-01

    As the NEXT ion thruster progresses towards higher technology readiness, it is necessary to develop the tools that will support its implementation into flight programs. An ion thruster thermal model has been developed for the latest prototype model design to aid in predicting thruster temperatures for various missions. This model is comprised of two parts. The first part predicts the heating from the discharge plasma for various throttling points based on a discharge chamber plasma model. This model shows, as expected, that the internal heating is strongly correlated with the discharge power. Typically, the internal plasma heating increases with beam current and decreases slightly with beam voltage. The second is a model based on a finite difference thermal code used to predict the thruster temperatures. Both parts of the model will be described in this paper. This model has been correlated with a thermal development test on the NEXT Prototype Model 1 thruster with most predicted component temperatures within 5 to 10 C of test temperatures. The model indicates that heating, and hence current collection, is not based purely on the footprint of the magnet rings, but follows a 0.1:1:2:1 ratio for the cathode-to-conical-to-cylindrical-to-front magnet rings. This thermal model has also been used to predict the temperatures during the worst case mission profile that is anticipated for the thruster. The model predicts ample thermal margin for all of its components except the external cable harness under the hottest anticipated mission scenario. The external cable harness will be re-rated or replaced to meet the predicted environment.

  8. Performance Characterization of a Novel Plasma Thruster to Provide a Revolutionary Operationally Responsive Space Capability with Micro- and Nano-Satellites

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-03-24

    RESPONSIVE SPACE CAPABILITY WITH MICRO - AND NANO -SATELLITES THESIS Presented to the Faculty Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Graduate...CAPABILITY WITH MICRO - AND NANO -SATELLITES I. Introduction The extraordinary cost associated with placing space vehicles into orbit (~12,000...Capability with Micro - and Nano -Satellites 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 5b. GRANT NUMBER 5c. PROGRAM ELEMENT NUMBER 6. AUTHOR(S) de La Harpe

  9. Theoretical study on the effect of the design of small (milli-Newton) thruster jets on molecular contamination for the space station

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Riley, B. R.

    1986-01-01

    The self-induced molecular contamination around the space station could have adverse effects on space station components (for example solar panels) as well as scientific experiments that might be done on or near the space station. Aerospace engineers need to design a space station (SS) propulsion system that keeps the SS in a stable orbit and at the same time does not allow the propellant gases to interfere with the experiments of the user. One scenario that might accomplish the above requirements is to use an electrothermal propulsion system, resistojet, that will thrust continuously in the hundreds of milli-Newton range which will provide a constant altitude for the SS with a low g environment. As a first attempt to understand the contamination from such a propulsion system, a point source model was developed. The numerical results of the point source model are given. Number column densities for CO2 are presented as a function of direction of observation (line of sight), temperature of the exit gas, and mean exit velocity. All the results are for a constant exhaust rate of 5,000 kg/year. In addition, a mathematical model to study the effect of nozzle design on the induced molecular environment around the space station produced by simple gas propellants is described. The mathematical model would allow one to follow the expansion of the gas from the throat of a nozzle to the nozzle exit plane and then into the space external to the nozzle.

  10. Experimental Investigation of the Near-Wall Region in the NASA HiVHAc EDU2 Hall Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shastry, Rohit; Kamhawi, Hani; Huang, Wensheng; Haag, Thomas W.

    2015-01-01

    The HiVHAc propulsion system is currently being developed to support Discovery-class NASA science missions. Presently, the thruster meets the required operational lifetime by utilizing a novel discharge channel replacement mechanism. As a risk reduction activity, an alternative approach is being investigated that modifies the existing magnetic circuit to shift the ion acceleration zone further downstream such that the magnetic components are not exposed to direct ion impingement during the thruster's lifetime while maintaining adequate thruster performance and stability. To measure the change in plasma properties between the original magnetic circuit configuration and the modified, "advanced" configuration, six Langmuir probes were flush-mounted within each channel wall near the thruster exit plane. Plasma potential and electron temperature were measured for both configurations across a wide range of discharge voltages and powers. Measurements indicate that the upstream edge of the acceleration zone shifted downstream by as much as 0.104 channel lengths, depending on operating condition. The upstream edge of the acceleration zone also appears to be more insensitive to operating condition in the advanced configuration, remaining between 0.136 and 0.178 channel lengths upstream of the thruster exit plane. Facility effects studies performed on the original configuration indicate that the plasma and acceleration zone recede further upstream into the channel with increasing facility pressure. These results will be used to inform further modifications to the magnetic circuit that will provide maximum protection of the magnetic components without significant changes to thruster performance and stability.

  11. NSTAR Ion Thruster Plume Impact Assessments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Myers, Roger M.; Pencil, Eric J.; Rawlin, Vincent K.; Kussmaul, Michael; Oden, Katessha

    1995-01-01

    Tests were performed to establish 30-cm ion thruster plume impacts, including plume characterizations via near and farfield ion current measurements, contamination, and sputtering assessments. Current density measurements show that 95% of the beam was enclosed within a 22 deg half-angle and that the thrust vector shifted by less than 0.3 deg during throttling from 2.3 to 0.5 kW. The beam flatness parameter was found to be 0.47, and the ratio of doubly charged to singly charged ion current density decreased from 15% at 2.3 kW to 5% at 0.5 kW. Quartz sample erosion measurements showed that the samples eroded at a rate of between 11 and 13 pm/khr at 25 deg from the thruster axis, and that the rate dropped by a factor of four at 40 deg. Good agreement was obtained between extrapolated current densities and those calculated from tantalum target erosion measurements. Quartz crystal microbalance and witness plate measurements showed that ion beam sputtering of the tank resulted in a facility material backflux rate of -10 A/hr in a large space simulation chamber.

  12. Design of an ICRF plasma thruster antenna by TOPICA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vecchi, Giuseppe; Lancellotti, Vito; Maggiora, Riccardo

    2006-10-01

    A typical RF plasma thruster is comprised of an RF plasma source, an open-ended magnetic confinement device, an RF acceleration unit and a magnetic nozzle. The usual choice for the acceleration is to employ the Ion-Cyclotron resonance frequency (ICRF), a well established technology in fusion experiments for transferring large RF powers to magnetized plasmas. To help design RF thruster ICRF antennas, TOPICA (Torino Polytechnic Ion Cyclotron Antenna) code [1] has been recently extended to handle cylindrically symmetric plasmas. The latter entailed developing a wholly new module of TOPICA charged with the task of solving Maxwell's equations in cylindrical magnetized warm plasmas and yielding the Green's functionY (m,kz), i.e. the relationship at the air-plasma interface between the transverse magnetic and electric fields in the spectral (wavenumber) domain. The approach to the problem of determining the antenna input impedance relies on an integral-equation formulation for the self-consistent evaluation of the current distribution on the conductors. This work reports on TOPICA evolution and presents the design of an RF thruster ICRF antenna. *V. Lancellotti et al., Nucl. Fusion, 46 (2006) S476-S499

  13. Multipole gas thruster design. Ph.D. Thesis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Isaacson, G. C.

    1977-01-01

    The development of a low field strength multipole thruster operating on both argon and xenon is described. Experimental results were obtained with a 15-cm diameter multipole thruster and are presented for a wide range of discharge-chamber configurations. Minimum discharge losses were 300-350 eV/ion for argon and 200-250 eV/ion for xenon. Ion beam flatness parameters in the plane of the accelerator grid ranged from 0.85 to 0.93 for both propellants. Thruster performance is correlated for a range of ion chamber sizes and operating conditions as well as propellant type and accelerator system open area. A 30-cm diameter ion source designed and built using the procedure and theory presented here-in is shown capable of low discharge losses and flat ion-beam profiles without optimization. This indicates that by using the low field strength multipole design, as well as general performance correlation information provided herein, it should be possible to rapidly translate initial performance specifications into easily fabricated, high performance prototypes.

  14. A 30-cm mercury ion thruster performance with a 1 kW capacitor-diode voltage multiplier beam supply

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Terdan, F. F.; Harrigill, W. T., Jr.

    1978-01-01

    A 1 kW solar array and capacitor-diode voltage multiplier converter (S/A-CDVM) was successfully integrated with a 30 cm diameter mercury ion thruster system to provide ion beam power. Measurements were made to compare steady state and transient response performance of a conventional bridge converter with the S/A-CDVM converter used for the ion beam supply. The ability to recover from screen to accelerator arcs and promptly re-establish stable thruster performance was demonstrated. Solar array transient response to thruster arcing was measured.

  15. Rapid evaluation of ion thruster lifetime using optical emission spectroscopy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rock, B. A.; Mantenieks, M. A.; Parsons, M. L.

    1985-01-01

    A major life-limiting phenomenon of electric thrusters is the sputter erosion of discharge chamber components. Thrusters for space propulsion are required to operate for extended periods of time, usually in excess of 10,000 hr. Lengthy and very costly life-tests in high-vacuum facilities have been required in the past to determine the erosion rates of thruster components. Alternative methods for determining erosion rates which can be performed in relatively short periods of time at considerably lower costs are studied. An attempt to relate optical emission intensity from an ion bombarded surface (screen grid) to the sputtering rate of that surface is made. The model used a kinetic steady-state (KSS) approach, balancing the rates of population and depopulation of ten low-lying excited states of the sputtered molybdenum atom (MoI) with those of the ground state to relate the spectral intensities of the various transitions of the MoI to the population densities. Once this is accomplished, the population density can be related to the sputtering rate of the target. Radiative and collisional modes of excitation and decay are considered. Since actual data has not been published for MoI excitation rate and decay constants, semiempirical equations are used. The calculated sputtering rate and intensity is compared to the measured intensity and sputtering rates of the 8 and 30 cm ion thrusters.

  16. Magnetic shielding of a laboratory Hall thruster. II. Experiments

    SciTech Connect

    Hofer, Richard R. Goebel, Dan M.; Mikellides, Ioannis G.; Katz, Ira

    2014-01-28

    The physics of magnetic shielding in Hall thrusters were validated through laboratory experiments demonstrating essentially erosionless, high-performance operation. The magnetic field near the walls of a laboratory Hall thruster was modified to effectively eliminate wall erosion while maintaining the magnetic field topology away from the walls necessary to retain efficient operation. Plasma measurements at the walls validate our understanding of magnetic shielding as derived from the theory. The plasma potential was maintained very near the anode potential, the electron temperature was reduced by a factor of two to three, and the ion current density was reduced by at least a factor of two. Measurements of the carbon backsputter rate, wall geometry, and direct measurement of plasma properties at the wall indicate that the wall erosion rate was reduced by a factor of 1000 relative to the unshielded thruster. These changes effectively eliminate wall erosion as a life limitation in Hall thrusters, enabling a new class of deep-space missions that could not previously be attempted.

  17. Electrostatic Plasma Accelerator (EPA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brophy, John R.; Aston, Graeme

    1995-01-01

    The application of electric propulsion to communications satellites, however, has been limited to the use of hydrazine thrusters with electric heaters for thrust and specific impulse augmentation. These electrothermal thrusters operate at specific impulse levels of approximately 300 s with heater powers of about 500 W. Low power arcjets (1-3 kW) are currently being investigated as a way to increase specific impulse levels to approximately 500 s. Ion propulsion systems can easily produce specific impulses of 3000 s or greater, but have yet to be applied to communications satellites. The reasons most often given for not using ion propulsion systems are their high level of overall complexity, low thrust with long burn times, and the difficulty of integrating the propulsion system into existing commercial spacecraft busses. The Electrostatic Plasma Accelerator (EPA) is a thruster concept which promises specific impulse levels between low power arcjets and those of the ion engine while retaining the relative simplicity of the arcjet. The EPA thruster produces thrust through the electrostatic acceleration of a moderately dense plasma. No accelerating electrodes are used and the specific impulse is a direct function of the applied discharge voltage and the propellant atomic mass.

  18. Plasma flow in a Hall thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taccogna, Francesco; Longo, Savino; Capitelli, Mario; Schneider, Ralf

    2005-04-01

    This work represents a two-dimensional (r,z)-3V axisymmetric fully kinetic particle-in-cell/Monte Carlo collision model of the plasmadynamics in the acceleration channel of a stationary plasma thruster. The model includes the process of secondary electron emission from the dielectric walls. In order to allow for a realistic simulation, differently from the previous fully kinetic model using a dummy mass ratio and vacuum permittivity or neglecting radial effects, a geometrical scaling of the channel is applied keeping the main dimensionless physics parameters constant. By this, the problem of the computational limits due to the very fast electron dynamics can be overcome. This model is able to give a clear picture of the plasma flow inside the acceleration channel. The results confirm the existence of an anode sheath with reverse ion flow, an ionization and acceleration region separated by a sonic transition point, and the ion flux distribution hitting the walls. Furthermore, the code is able to reproduce the observed two populations of electrons and to calculate the ion distribution on the exit plane used as input data for plume simulations.

  19. Experimental investigation of steady state high power MPD thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wegmann, Thomas; Auweter-Kurtz, Monika; Habiger, Harald A.; Kurtz, Helmut L.; Schrade, Herbert O.

    1992-07-01

    MPD thrusters with different geometries, nozzle type and cylindrical, were compared under various operating parameters. The effects of mass flow rate and power input on the operating conditions were explored, and plasma parameters were determined with both probe measurements and optical diagnostics. Besides water-cooled plasma accelerators, tests with a hot anode thruster having a radiation-cooled anode were performed. They showed the feasibility of large radiating tungsten anodes and a lower voltage level than water-cooled devices. A systematic study of the various instabilities of the arc and the plasma flow occurring at high power levels was begun. The cathode erosion and its mechanisms were examined with purified propellant gases.

  20. De-Orbiting of Space Debris by Means of a Towering Cable and a Single Thruster Spaceship: Whiplash and Tail Wagging Effects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    da Cruz Pacheco, Gabriel Felippe; Carpentier, Benjamin; Petit, Nicolas

    2013-08-01

    This papers exposes two difficulties that are likely to take place during the towing of a space debris. These effects, which could trouble de-orbitation strategies, are visible on simple simulations based on a model of coupled rigid-bodies dynamics. We name them tail wagging and whiplash effects, respectively.

  1. Design of a High-Energy, Two-Stage Pulsed Plasma Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Markusic, T. E.; Thio, Y. C. F.; Cassibry, J. T.; Rodgers, Stephen L. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Design details of a proposed high-energy (approx. 50 kJ/pulse), two-stage pulsed plasma thruster are presented. The long-term goal of this project is to develop a high-power (approx. 500 kW), high specific impulse (approx. 7500 s), highly efficient (approx. 50%),and mechanically simple thruster for use as primary propulsion in a high-power nuclear electric propulsion system. The proposed thruster (PRC-PPT1) utilizes a valveless, liquid lithium-fed thermal plasma injector (first stage) followed by a high-energy pulsed electromagnetic accelerator (second stage). A numerical circuit model coupled with one-dimensional current sheet dynamics, as well as a numerical MHD simulation, are used to qualitatively predict the thermal plasma injection and current sheet dynamics, as well as to estimate the projected performance of the thruster. A set of further modelling efforts, and the experimental testing of a prototype thruster, is suggested to determine the feasibility of demonstrating a full scale high-power thruster.

  2. Global model of a gridded-ion thruster powered by a radiofrequency inductive coil

    SciTech Connect

    Chabert, P.; Arancibia Monreal, J.; Bredin, J.; Popelier, L.; Aanesland, A.

    2012-07-15

    A global (volume-averaged) model of a gridded-ion thruster is proposed. The neutral propellant (xenon gas) is injected into the thruster chamber at a fixed rate and a plasma is generated by circulating a radiofrequency current in an inductive coil. The ions generated in this plasma are accelerated out of the thruster by a pair of DC biased grids. The neutralization downstream is not treated. Xenon atoms also flow out of the thruster across the grids. The model, based on particle and energy balance equations, solves for four global variables in the thruster chamber: the plasma density, the electron temperature, the neutral gas (atom) density, and the neutral gas temperature. The important quantities to evaluate the thruster efficiency and performances are calculated from these variables and from the voltage across the grids. It is found that the mass utilization efficiency rapidly decreases with the gas flow rate. However, the radiofrequency power transfer efficiency increases significantly with the injected gas flow rate. Therefore, there is a compromise to be found between these two quantities.

  3. Erosion rate diagnostics in ion thrusters using laser-induced fluorescence

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gaeta, C. J.; Matossian, J. N.; Turley, R. S.; Beattie, J. R.; Williams, J. D.; Williamson, W. S.

    1993-01-01

    We have used laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) to monitor the charge-exchange ion erosion of the molybdenum accelerator electrode in ion thrusters. This real-time, nonintrusive method was implemented by operating a 30cm-diam ring-cusp thruster using xenon propellant. With the thruster operating at a total power of 5 kW, laser radiation at a wavelength of 390 nm (corresponding to a ground state atomic transition of molybdenum) was directed through the extracted ion beam adjacent to the downstream surface of the molybdenum accelerator electrode. Molybdenum atoms, sputtered from this surface as a result of charge-exchange ion erosion, were excited by the laser radiation. The intensity of the laser-induced fluorescence radiation, which is proportional to the sputter rate of the molybdenum atoms, was measured and correlated with variations in thruster operating conditions such as accelerator electrode voltage, accelerator electrode current, and test facility background pressure. We also demonstrated that the LIF technique has sufficient sensitivity and spatial resolution to evaluate accelerator electrode lifetime in ground-based test facilities.

  4. Internal erosion rates of a 10-kW xenon ion thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rawlin, Vincent K.

    1988-01-01

    A 30 cm diameter divergent magnetic field ion thruster, developed for mercury operation at 2.7 kW, was modified and operated with xenon propellant at a power level of 10 kW for 567 h to evaluate thruster performance and lifetime. The major differences between this thruster and its baseline configuration were elimination of the three mercury vaporizers, use of a main discharge cathode with a larger orifice, reduction in discharge baffle diameter, and use of an ion accelerating system with larger acceleration grid holes. Grid thickness measurement uncertainties, combined with estimates of the effects of reactive residual facility background gases gave a minimum screen grid lifetime of 7000 h. Discharge cathode orifice erosion rates were measured with three different cathodes with different initial orifice diameters. Three potential problems were identified during the wear test: the upstream side of the discharge baffle eroded at an unacceptable rate; two of the main cathode tubes experienced oxidation, deformation, and failure; and the accelerator grid impingement current was more than an order of magnitude higher than that of the baseline mercury thruster. The charge exchange ion eroison was not quantified in this test. There were no measurable changes in the accelerator grid thickness or the accelerator grid hole diameters.

  5. Internal erosion rates of a 10-kW xenon ion thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rawlin, Vincent K.

    1988-01-01

    A 30 cm diameter divergent magnetic field ion thruster, developed for mercury operation at 2.7 kW, was modified and operated with xenon propellant at a power level of 10 kW for 567 h to evaluate thruster performance and lifetime. The major differences between this thruster and its baseline configuration were elimination of the three mercury vaporizers, use of a main discharge cathode with a larger orifice, reduction in discharge baffle diameter, and use of an ion accelerating system with larger acceleration grid holes. Grid thickness measurement uncertainties, combined with estimates of the effects of reactive residual facility background gases gave a minimum screen grid lifetime of 7000 h. Discharge cathode orifice erosion rates were measured with three different cathodes with different initial orifice diameters. Three potential problems were identified during the wear test: the upstream side of the discharge baffle eroded at an unacceptable rate; two of the main cathode tubes experienced oxidation, deformation, and failure; and the accelerator grid impingement current was more than an order of magnitude higher than that of the baseline mercury thruster. The charge exchange ion erosion was not quantified in this test. There were no measurable changes in the accelerator grid thickness or the accelerator grid hole diameters.

  6. Two-Axis Acceleration of Functional Connectivity Magnetic Resonance Imaging by Parallel Excitation of Phase-Tagged Slices and Half k-Space Acceleration

    PubMed Central

    Jesmanowicz, Andrzej; Nencka, Andrew S.; Li, Shi-Jiang

    2011-01-01

    Abstract Whole brain functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging requires acquisition of a time course of gradient-recalled (GR) volumetric images. A method is developed to accelerate this acquisition using GR echo-planar imaging and radio frequency (RF) slice phase tagging. For N-fold acceleration, a tailored RF pulse excites N slices using a uniform-field transmit coil. This pulse is the Fourier transform of the profile for the N slices with a predetermined RF phase tag on each slice. A multichannel RF receive coil is used for detection. For n slices, there are n/N groups of slices. Signal-averaged reference images are created for each slice within each slice group for each member of the coil array and used to separate overlapping images that are simultaneously received. The time-overhead for collection of reference images is small relative to the acquisition time of a complete volumetric time course. A least-squares singular value decomposition method allows image separation on a pixel-by-pixel basis. Twofold slice acceleration is demonstrated using an eight-channel RF receive coil, with application to resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging in the human brain. Data from six subjects at 3 T are reported. The method has been extended to half k-space acquisition, which not only provides additional acceleration, but also facilitates slice separation because of increased signal intensity of the central lines of k-space coupled with reduced susceptibility effects. PMID:22432957

  7. A direct current rectification scheme for microwave space power conversion using traveling wave electron acceleration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Manning, Robert M.

    1993-01-01

    The formation of the Vision-21 conference held three years ago allowed the present author to reflect and speculate on the problem of converting electromagnetic energy to a direct current by essentially reversing the process used in traveling wave tubes that converts energy in the form of a direct current to electromagnetic energy. The idea was to use the electric field of the electromagnetic wave to produce electrons through the field emission process and accelerate these electrons by the same field to produce an electric current across a large potential difference. The acceleration process was that of cyclotron auto-resonance. Since that time, this rather speculative ideas has been developed into a method that shows great promise and for which a patent is pending and a prototype design will be demonstrated in a potential laser power beaming application. From the point of view of the author, a forum such as Vision-21 is becoming an essential component in the rather conservative climate in which our initiatives for space exploration are presently formed. Exchanges such as Vision-21 not only allows us to deviate from the 'by-the-book' approach and rediscover the ability and power in imagination, but provides for the discussion of ideas hitherto considered 'crazy' so that they may be given the change to transcend from the level of eccentricity to applicability.

  8. Current status of MCNP6 as a simulation tool useful for space and accelerator applications

    SciTech Connect

    Mashnik, Stepan G; Bull, Jeffrey S; Hughes, H. Grady; Prael, Richard E; Sierk, Arnold J

    2012-07-20

    For the past several years, a major effort has been undertaken at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to develop the transport code MCNP6, the latest LANL Monte-Carlo transport code representing a merger and improvement of MCNP5 and MCNPX. We emphasize a description of the latest developments of MCNP6 at higher energies to improve its reliability in calculating rare-isotope production, high-energy cumulative particle production, and a gamut of reactions important for space-radiation shielding, cosmic-ray propagation, and accelerator applications. We present several examples of validation and verification of MCNP6 compared to a wide variety of intermediate- and high-energy experimental data on reactions induced by photons, mesons, nucleons, and nuclei at energies from tens of MeV to about 1 TeV/nucleon, and compare to results from other modern simulation tools.

  9. The BMDO Thruster-on-a-Pallet Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Caveny, Leonard H.; Curran, Francis M.; Sankovic, John M.; Allen, Douglas M.; Brophy, John R.; Garner, Charles

    1995-01-01

    The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization sponsors an aggressive program to develop and demonstrate electric propulsion and space power technologies for future missions. This program supports a focused effort to design, fabricate, and space qualify a Russian Hall thruster system-on-a-pallet ready to take advantage of a near-term flight opportunity. The Russian Hall Effect Thruster Technology (RHETT) program will demonstrate an integrated pallet design in late FY95. The program also includes a parallel effort to develop advanced Solar Concentrator Arrays with Refractive Linear Element Technology (SCARLET). This synergistic technology will be demonstrated in a flight experiment this summer on the Comet satellite. This paper provides an overview of the RHETT and SCARLET programs with an emphasis on electric propulsion, recent progress, and near-term program plans.

  10. Acceleration of a Particle-in-Cell Code for Space Plasma Simulations with OpenACC

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, Ivy Bo; Markidis, Stefano; Vaivads, Andris; Vencels, Juris; Deca, Jan; Lapenta, Giovanni; Hart, Alistair; Laure, Erwin

    2015-04-01

    We simulate space plasmas with the Particle-in-cell (PIC) method that uses computational particles to mimic electrons and protons in solar wind and in Earth magnetosphere. The magnetic and electric fields are computed by solving the Maxwell's equations on a computational grid. In each PIC simulation step, there are four major phases: interpolation of fields to particles, updating the location and velocity of each particle, interpolation of particles to grids and solving the Maxwell's equations on the grid. We use the iPIC3D code, which was implemented in C++, using both MPI and OpenMP, for our case study. By November 2014, heterogeneous systems using hardware accelerators such as Graphics Processing Unit (GPUs) and the Many Integrated Core (MIC) coprocessors for high performance computing continue growth in the top 500 most powerful supercomputers world wide. Scientific applications for numerical simulations need to adapt to using accelerators to achieve portability and scalability in the coming exascale systems. In our work, we conduct a case study of using OpenACC to offload the computation intensive parts: particle mover and interpolation of particles to grids, in a massively parallel Particle-in-Cell simulation code, iPIC3D, to multi-GPU systems. We use MPI for inter-node communication for halo exchange and communicating particles. We identify the most promising parts suitable for GPUs accelerator by profiling using CrayPAT. We implemented manual deep copy to address the challenges of porting C++ classes to GPU. We document the necessary changes in the exiting algorithms to adapt for GPU computation. We present the challenges and findings as well as our methodology for porting a Particle-in-Cell code to multi-GPU systems using OpenACC. In this work, we will present the challenges, findings and our methodology of porting a Particle-in-Cell code for space applications as follows: We profile the iPIC3D code by Cray Performance Analysis Tool (CrayPAT) and identify

  11. High-Energy Two-Stage Pulsed Plasma Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Markusic, Tom

    2003-01-01

    A high-energy (28 kJ per pulse) two-stage pulsed plasma thruster (MSFC PPT-1) has been constructed and tested. The motivation of this project is to develop a high power (approximately 500 kW), high specific impulse (approximately 10000 s), highly efficient (greater than 50%) thruster for use as primary propulsion in a high power nuclear electric propulsion system. PPT-1 was designed to overcome four negative characteristics which have detracted from the utility of pulsed plasma thrusters: poor electrical efficiency, poor propellant utilization efficiency, electrode erosion, and reliability issues associated with the use of high speed gas valves and high current switches. Traditional PPTs have been plagued with poor efficiency because they have not been operated in a plasma regime that fully exploits the potential benefits of pulsed plasma acceleration by electromagnetic forces. PPTs have generally been used to accelerate low-density plasmas with long current pulses. Operation of thrusters in this plasma regime allows for the development of certain undesirable particle-kinetic effects, such as Hall effect-induced current sheet canting. PPT-1 was designed to propel a highly collisional, dense plasma that has more fluid-like properties and, hence, is more effectively pushed by a magnetic field. The high-density plasma loading into the second stage of the accelerator is achieved through the use of a dense plasma injector (first stage). The injector produces a thermal plasma, derived from a molten lithium propellant feed system, which is subsequently accelerated by the second stage using mega-amp level currents, which eject the plasma at a speed on the order of 100 kilometers per second. Traditional PPTs also suffer from dynamic efficiency losses associated with snowplow loading of distributed neutral propellant. The twostage scheme used in PPT-I allows the propellant to be loaded in a manner which more closely approximates the optimal slug loading. Lithium propellant

  12. Challenges to computing plasma thruster dynamics

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, G.A. )

    1992-01-01

    This paper describes computational challenges in describing high thrust and I[sub sp] expected from the proposed ion-compressed antimatter nuclear (ICAN) propulsion system. This concept uses antiprotons to induce fission reactions that jump start a microfission/fusion process in a target compressed by low-energy ion beams. The ICAN system could readily provide the high energy density required for interplanetary space missions of short duration. In conventional rocket design, thrust is obtained by expelling a propellant under high pressure through a nozzle. A larger I[sub sp] can be achieved by operating the system at a higher temperature. Full ionization of propellant at high temperature introduces new and challenging questions in the design of plasma thrusters.

  13. Single bunch transverse instability in a circular accelerator with chromaticity and space charge

    SciTech Connect

    Balbekov, V.

    2015-10-21

    The transverse instability of a bunch in a circular accelerator is elaborated in this paper. A new tree-modes model is proposed and developed to describe the most unstable modes of the bunch. This simple and flexible model includes chromaticity and space charge, and can be used with any bunch and wake forms. The dispersion equation for the bunch eigentunes is obtained in form of a third-order algebraic equation. The known head-tail and TMCI modes appear as the limiting cases which are distinctly bounded at zero chromaticity only. It is shown that the instability parameters depend only slightly on the bunch model but they are rather sensitive to the wake shape. In particular, space charge effects are investigated in the paper and it is shown that their influence depends on sign of wake field enhancing the bunch stability if the wake is negative. In addition, the resistive wall wake is considered in detail including a comparison of single and collective effects. A comparison of the results with earlier publications is carried out.

  14. Single bunch transverse instability in a circular accelerator with chromaticity and space charge

    DOE PAGES

    Balbekov, V.

    2015-10-21

    The transverse instability of a bunch in a circular accelerator is elaborated in this paper. A new tree-modes model is proposed and developed to describe the most unstable modes of the bunch. This simple and flexible model includes chromaticity and space charge, and can be used with any bunch and wake forms. The dispersion equation for the bunch eigentunes is obtained in form of a third-order algebraic equation. The known head-tail and TMCI modes appear as the limiting cases which are distinctly bounded at zero chromaticity only. It is shown that the instability parameters depend only slightly on the bunchmore » model but they are rather sensitive to the wake shape. In particular, space charge effects are investigated in the paper and it is shown that their influence depends on sign of wake field enhancing the bunch stability if the wake is negative. In addition, the resistive wall wake is considered in detail including a comparison of single and collective effects. A comparison of the results with earlier publications is carried out.« less

  15. Design of a Low-Energy FARAD Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polzin, K. A.; Rose, M. F.; Miller, R.; Best, S.; Owens, T.; Dankanich, J.

    2007-01-01

    The design of an electrodeless thruster that relies on a pulsed, rf-assisted discharge and electromagnetic acceleration using an inductive coil is presented. The thruster design is optimized using known performance,scaling parameters, and experimentally-determined design rules, with design targets for discharge energy, plasma exhaust velocity; and thrust efficiency of 100 J/pulse, 25 km/s, and 50%, respectively. Propellant is injected using a high-speed gas valve and preionized by a pulsed-RF signal supplied by a vector inversion generator, allowing for current sheet formation at lower discharge voltages and energies relative to pulsed inductive accelerators that do not employ preionization. The acceleration coil is designed to possess an inductance of at least 700 nH while the target stray (non-coil) inductance in the circuit is 70 nH. A Bernardes and Merryman pulsed power train or a pulse compression power train provide current to the acceleration coil and solid-state components are used to switch both powertrains.

  16. Cylindrical Hall Thrusters with Permanent Magnets

    SciTech Connect

    Raitses, Yevgeny; Merino, Enrique; Fisch, Nathaniel J.

    2010-10-18

    The use of permanent magnets instead of electromagnet coils for low power Hall thrusters can offer a significant reduction of both the total electric power consumption and the thruster mass. Two permanent magnet versions of the miniaturized cylindrical Hall thruster (CHT) of different overall dimensions were operated in the power range of 50W-300 W. The discharge and plasma plume measurements revealed that the CHT thrusters with permanent magnets and electromagnet coils operate rather differently. In particular, the angular ion current density distribution from the permanent magnet thrusters has an unusual halo shape, with a majority of high energy ions flowing at large angles with respect to the thruster centerline. Differences in the magnetic field topology outside the thruster channel and in the vicinity of the channel exit are likely responsible for the differences in the plume characteristics measured for the CHTs with electromagnets and permanent magnets. It is shown that the presence of the reversing-direction or cusp-type magnetic field configuration inside the thruster channel without a strong axial magnetic field outside the thruster channel does not lead to the halo plasma plume from the CHT. __________________________________________________

  17. An engineering model 30 cm ion thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Poeschel, R. L.; King, H. J.; Schnelker, D. E.

    1973-01-01

    Thruster development at Hughes Research Laboratories and NASA Lewis Research Center has brought the 30-cm mercury bombardment ion thruster to the state of an engineering model. This thruster has been designed to have sufficient internal strength for direct mounting on gimbals, to weigh 7.3 kg, to operate with a corrected overall efficiency of 71%, and to have 10,000 hours lifetime. Subassemblies, such as the ion optical system, isolators, etc., have been upgraded to meet launch qualification standards. This paper presents a summary of the design specifications and performance characteristics which define the interface between the thruster module and the remainder of the propulsion system.

  18. Cylindrical Hall thrusters with permanent magnets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raitses, Yevgeny; Merino, Enrique; Fisch, Nathaniel J.

    2010-11-01

    The use of permanent magnets instead of electromagnet coils for low power Hall thrusters can offer a significant reduction in both the total electric power consumption and the thruster mass. Two permanent magnet versions of the miniaturized cylindrical Hall thruster (CHT) of different overall dimensions were operated in the power range of 50-300 W. The discharge and plasma plume measurements revealed that the CHT thrusters with permanent magnets and electromagnet coils operate rather differently. In particular, the angular ion current density distribution from the permanent magnet thrusters has an unusual halo shape, with a majority of high energy ions flowing at large angles with respect to the thruster centerline. Differences in the magnetic field topology outside the thruster channel and in the vicinity of the channel exit are likely responsible for the differences in the plume characteristics measured for the CHTs with electromagnets and permanent magnets. It is shown that the presence of the reversing-direction or cusp-type magnetic field configuration inside the thruster channel without a strong axial magnetic field outside the thruster channel does not lead to the halo plasma plume from the CHT.

  19. Adapting magnetoelectrostatic containment to inert gas thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ramsey, W. D.; James, E. L.

    1981-01-01

    Two different types of 12 cm magnetoelectrostatic containment (MESC) ion thrusters have been adapted to argon-xenon operation. Discharge chamber optimization produced excellent performance with both the hexagonal and hemispherical shaped thrusters. The hemispherical thruster design yielded the best performance, ionizing 75 to 96 percent of the xenon propellant with a discharge energy consumption rate of 185 to 320 eV/ion. Argon operation of the same thruster achieved 60 to 80 percent propellant ionization at 215 to 370 eV/ion.

  20. Development of Long-Lifetime Pulsed Gas Valves for Pulsed Electric Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burkhardt, Wendel M.; Crapuchettes, John M.; Addona, Brad M.; Polzin, Kurt A.

    2015-01-01

    It is advantageous for gas-fed pulsed electric thrusters to employ pulsed valves so propellant is only flowing to the device during operation. The propellant utilization of the thruster will be maximized when all the gas injected into the thruster is acted upon by the fields produced by the electrical pulse. Gas that is injected too early will diffuse away from the thruster before the electrical pulse can act to accelerate the propellant. Gas that is injected too late will miss being accelerated by the already-completed electrical pulse. As a consequence, the valve must open quickly and close equally quickly, only remaining open for a short duration. In addition, the valve must have only a small amount of volume between the sealing body and the thruster so the front and back ends of the pulse are as coincident as possible with the valve cycling, with very little latent propellant remaining in the feed lines after the valve is closed. For a real mission of interest, a pulsed thruster can be expected to pulse at least 10(exp 10) - 10(exp 11) times, setting the range for the number of times a valve must open and close. The valves described in this paper have been fabricated and tested for operation in an inductive pulsed plasma thruster (IPPT) for in-space propulsion. In general, an IPPT is an electrodeless space propulsion device where a capacitor is charged to an initial voltage and then discharged, producing a high-current pulse through a coil. The field produced by this pulse ionizes propellant, inductively driving current in a plasma located near the face of the coil. Once the plasma is formed, it can be accelerated and expelled at a high exhaust velocity by the electromagnetic Lorentz body force arising from the interaction of the induced plasma current and the magnetic field produced by the current in the coil. The valve characteristics needed for the IPPT application require a fast-acting valve capable of a minimum of 10(exp 10) valve actuation cycles. Since

  1. Accelerator-Based Studies of Heavy Ion Interactions Relevant to Space Biomedicine

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, J.; Heilbronn, L.; Zeitlin, C.

    1999-01-01

    Evaluation of the effects of space radiation on the crews of long duration space missions must take into account the interactions of high energy atomic nuclei in spacecraft and planetary habitat shielding and in the bodies of the astronauts. These heavy ions (i.e. heavier than hydrogen), while relatively small in number compared to the total galactic cosmic ray (GCR) charged particle flux, can produce disproportionately large effects by virtue of their high local energy deposition: a single traversal by a heavy charged particle can kill or, what may be worse, severely damage a cell. Research into the pertinent physics and biology of heavy ion interactions has consequently been assigned a high priority in a recent report by a task group of the National Research Council. Fragmentation of the incident heavy ions in shielding or in the human body will modify an initially well known radiation field and thereby complicate both spacecraft shielding design and the evaluation of potential radiation hazards. Since it is impractical to empirically test the radiation transport properties of each possible shielding material and configuration, a great deal of effort is going into the development of models of charged particle fragmentation and transport. Accurate nuclear fragmentation cross sections (probabilities), either in the form of measurements with thin targets or theoretical calculations, are needed for input to the transport models, and fluence measurements (numbers of fragments produced by interactions in thick targets) are needed both to validate the models and to test specific shielding materials and designs. Fluence data are also needed to characterize the incident radiation field in accelerator radiobiology experiments. For a number of years, nuclear fragmentation measurements at GCR-like energies have been carried out at heavy ion accelerators including the LBL Bevalac, Saturne (France), the Synchrophasotron and Nuklotron (Dubna, Russia), SIS-18 (GSI, Germany), the

  2. High-Efficiency Hall Thruster Discharge Power Converter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jaquish, Thomas

    2015-01-01

    Busek Company, Inc., is designing, building, and testing a new printed circuit board converter. The new converter consists of two series or parallel boards (slices) intended to power a high-voltage Hall accelerator (HiVHAC) thruster or other similarly sized electric propulsion devices. The converter accepts 80- to 160-V input and generates 200- to 700-V isolated output while delivering continually adjustable 300-W to 3.5-kW power. Busek built and demonstrated one board that achieved nearly 94 percent efficiency the first time it was turned on, with projected efficiency exceeding 97 percent following timing software optimization. The board has a projected specific mass of 1.2 kg/kW, achieved through high-frequency switching. In Phase II, Busek optimized to exceed 97 percent efficiency and built a second prototype in a form factor more appropriate for flight. This converter then was integrated with a set of upgraded existing boards for powering magnets and the cathode. The program culminated with integrating the entire power processing unit and testing it on a Busek thruster and on NASA's HiVHAC thruster.

  3. Development of optical diagnostics for performance evaluation of arcjet thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cappelli, Mark A.

    1995-01-01

    Laser and optical emission-based measurements have been developed and implemented for use on low-power hydrogen arcjet thrusters and xenon-propelled electric thrusters. In the case of low power hydrogen arcjets, these laser induce fluorescence measurements constitute the first complete set of data that characterize the velocity and temperature field of such a device. The research performed under the auspices of this NASA grant includes laser-based measurements of atomic hydrogen velocity and translational temperature, ultraviolet absorption measurements of ground state atomic hydrogen, Raman scattering measurements of the electronic ground state of molecular hydrogen, and optical emission based measurements of electronically excited atomic hydrogen, electron number density, and electron temperature. In addition, we have developed a collisional-radiative model of atomic hydrogen for use in conjunction with magnetohydrodynamic models to predict the plasma radiative spectrum, and near-electrode plasma models to better understand current transfer from the electrodes to the plasma. In the final year of the grant, a new program aimed at developing diagnostics for xenon plasma thrusters was initiated, and results on the use of diode lasers for interrogating Hall accelerator plasmas has been presented at recent conferences.

  4. Investigation of mercury thruster isolators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mantenieks, M. A.

    1973-01-01

    Mercury ion thruster isolator lifetime tests were performed using different isolator materials and geometries. Tests were performed with and without the flow of mercury through the isolators in an oil diffusion pumped vacuum facility and cryogenically pumped bell jar. The onset of leakage current in isolators occurred in time intervals ranging from a few hours to many hundreds of hours. In all cases, surface contamination was responsible for the onset of leakage current and subsequent isolator failure. Rate of increase of leakage current and the leakage current level increased approximately exponentially with isolator temperature. Careful attention to shielding techniques and the elimination of sources of metal oxides appear to have eliminated isolator failures as a thruster life limiting mechanism.

  5. An acceleration of the characteristics by a space-angle two-level method using surface discontinuity factors

    SciTech Connect

    Grassi, G.

    2006-07-01

    We present a non-linear space-angle two-level acceleration scheme for the method of the characteristics (MOC). To the fine level on which the MOC transport calculation is performed, we associate a more coarsely discretized phase space in which a low-order problem is solved as an acceleration step. Cross sections on the coarse level are obtained by a flux-volume homogenisation technique, which entails the non-linearity of the acceleration. Discontinuity factors per surface are introduced as additional degrees of freedom on the coarse level in order to ensure the equivalence of the heterogeneous and the homogenised problem. After each fine transport iteration, a low-order transport problem is iteratively solved on the homogenised grid. The solution of this problem is then used to correct the angular moments of the flux resulting from the previous free transport sweep. Numerical tests for a given benchmark have been performed. Results are discussed. (authors)

  6. IEC accelerator beam coordinate transformations for clinical Monte Carlo simulation from a phase space or full BEAMnrc particle source.

    PubMed

    Bush, Karl K; Zavgorodni, Sergei F

    2010-12-01

    Monte Carlo simulation of clinical treatment plans require, in general, a coordinate transformation to describe the incident radiation field orientation on a patient phantom coordinate system. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has defined an accelerator coordinate system along with positive directions for gantry, couch and collimator rotations. In order to describe the incident beam's orientation with respect to the patient's coordinate system, DOSXYZnrc simulations often require transformation of the accelerator's gantry, couch and collimator angles to describe the incident beam. Similarly, versions of the voxelized Monte Carlo code (VMC(++)) require non-trivial transformation of the accelerator's gantry, couch and collimator angles to standard Euler angles α, β, γ, to describe an incident phase space source orientation with respect to the patient's coordinate system. The transformations, required by each of these Monte Carlo codes to transport phase spaces through a phantom, have been derived with a rotation operator approach. The transformations have been tested and verified against the Eclipse treatment planning system.

  7. Feasibility of a down-scaled HEMP-Thruster as possible N-propulsion system for LISA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, A.; Köhler, P.; Gärtner, W.; Hey, F. G.; Berger, M.; Braxmaier, C.; Feili, D.; Weise, D.; Johann, U.

    2013-01-01

    An experimental feasibility study on down-scaling HEMP thrusters to textmu N thrust levels as required e.g. for NGO is presented. Prototypes are used to probe the operation space as well as measuring the divergence angle of the plume and ion acceleration voltage by means of Faraday Cups and a Retarding Potential Analyser in order to gain a deeper understanding of the influence of design parameters. From the measured values thrust and specific impulse are calculated using simple models. Stable operation with a calculated thrust down to 70 N has been demonstrated and divergence efficiencies of about 0.5 are observed. Due to the importance of the thrust value and uncertainties of the models it is clearly desirable to measure the thrust and thrust noise directly with a thrust balance. Such a device is under construction, with a picometer noise level heterodyne interferometer as optical readout.

  8. Arcjet thruster research and technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Makel, Darby B.; Cann, Gordon L.

    1988-01-01

    The design, analysis, and performance testing of an advanced lower power arcjet is described. A high impedance, vortex stabilized 1-kw class arcjet has been studied. A baseline research thruster has been built and endurance and performance tested. This advanced arcjet has demonstrated long lifetime characteristics, but lower than expected performance. Analysis of the specific design has identified modifications which should improve performance and maintain the long life time shown by the arcjet.

  9. Micro-Chemical Monopropellant Thruster

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-02-01

    securing them within a suitable chamber, formed of a section of stainless steel tube. A layer of magnesium oxide based ceramic adhesive (Aremco...thruster reduces, the mass flow rate of propellant reduces together with the associated dimensions of the complete system. Empirical guidelines exist...catalyst bed performance, but initial indications suggested that a ceramic foam of density greater than 20% was required. The tests with the

  10. Performance and Thermal Characterization of the NASA-300MS 20 kW Hall Effect Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kamhawi, Hani; Huang, Wensheng; Haag, Thomas; Shastry, Rohit; Soulas, George; Smith, Timothy; Mikellides, Ioannis; Hofer, Richard

    2013-01-01

    NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate is sponsoring the development of a high fidelity 15 kW-class long-life high performance Hall thruster for candidate NASA technology demonstration missions. An essential element of the development process is demonstration that incorporation of magnetic shielding on a 20 kW-class Hall thruster will yield significant improvements in the throughput capability of the thruster without any significant reduction in thruster performance. As such, NASA Glenn Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory collaborated on modifying the NASA-300M 20 kW Hall thruster to improve its propellant throughput capability. JPL and NASA Glenn researchers performed plasma numerical simulations with JPL's Hall2De and a commercially available magnetic modeling code that indicated significant enhancement in the throughput capability of the NASA-300M can be attained by modifying the thruster's magnetic circuit. This led to modifying the NASA-300M magnetic topology to a magnetically shielded topology. This paper presents performance evaluation results of the two NASA-300M magnetically shielded thruster configurations, designated 300MS and 300MS-2. The 300MS and 300MS-2 were operated at power levels between 2.5 and 20 kW at discharge voltages between 200 and 700 V. Discharge channel deposition from back-sputtered facility wall flux, and plasma potential and electron temperature measurements made on the inner and outer discharge channel surfaces confirmed that magnetic shielding was achieved. Peak total thrust efficiency of 64% and total specific impulse of 3,050 sec were demonstrated with the 300MS-2 at 20 kW. Thermal characterization results indicate that the boron nitride discharge chamber walls temperatures are approximately 100 C lower for the 300MS when compared to the NASA- 300M at the same thruster operating discharge power.

  11. Overview of NASA GRCs Green Propellant Infusion Mission Thruster Testing and Plume Diagnostics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Deans, Matthew C.; Reed, Brian D.; Yim, John T.; Arrington, Lynn A.; Williams, George J.; Kojima, Jun J.; McLean, Christopher H.

    2014-01-01

    The Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) is sponsored by NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) Technology Demonstration Mission (TDM) office. The goal of GPIM is to advance the technology readiness level of a green propulsion system, specifically, one using the monopropellant, AF-M315E, by demonstrating ground handling, spacecraft processing, and on-orbit operations. One of the risks identified for GPIM is potential contamination of sensitive spacecraft surfaces from the effluents in the plumes of AF-M315E thrusters. NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) is conducting activities to characterize the effects of AF-M315E plume impingement and deposition. GRC has established individual plume models of the 22-N and 1-N thrusters that will be used on the GPIM spacecraft. The models describe the pressure, temperature, density, Mach number, and species concentration of the AF-M315E thruster exhaust plumes. The models are being used to assess the impingement effects of the AF-M315E thrusters on the GPIM spacecraft. The model simulations will be correlated with plume measurement data from Laboratory and Engineering Model 22-N, AF-M315E thrusters. The thrusters will be tested in a small rocket, altitude facility at NASA GRC. The GRC thruster testing will be conducted at duty cycles representatives of the planned GPIM maneuvers. A suite of laser-based diagnostics, including Raman spectroscopy, Rayleigh spectroscopy, Schlieren imaging, and physical probes will be used to acquire plume measurements of AFM315E thrusters. Plume data will include temperature, velocity, relative density, and species concentration. The plume measurement data will be compared to the corresponding simulations of the plume model. The GRC effort will establish a data set of AF-M315E plume measurements and a plume model that can be used for future AF-M315E applications.

  12. A multiple thruster array for 30-cm thrusters. [propulsion system performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rawlin, V. K.; Matenieks, M. A.

    1975-01-01

    A 3.0 m diameter chamber of the 7.6 m diameter by 21.4 m long vacuum tank was modified to permit testing of an array of up to six 30-cm thrusters with a variety of laboratory and thermal vacuum breadboard power systems. A primary objective of the Multiple Thruster Array (MTA) program is to assess the impact of multiple thruster operation on individual thruster and power processor requirements. The areas of thruster startup, steady-state operation, throttling, high voltage recycle, thrust vectoring, and shutdown are of special concern. The results of initial tests are reported.

  13. Plasma thrusters development in France

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rolfo, André; Cadiou, Anne; Secheresse, O.; Dumazert, P.; Gounot, V.; Ragot, X.; Mattei, N.; Grassin, T.; Garnero, P.

    2002-07-01

    This paper presents an overview of the FRENCH plasma propulsion activities. The main existing and future projects are described. The field of application of plasma propulsion is the station keeping and the orbit raising of geostationary telecommunication satellites (STENTOR) and the transfer of interplanetary vehicles such as Mars Sample Return. The works done in the frame of the preparation of the first commercial spacecraft as well as the preparation of the future and the associated Research and Technology program are described. The scientific activity supporting the development of Hall thrusters is on-going in the frame of the GDR (Groupement de Recherche) CNRS/CNES/Snecma Moteurs /ONERA on Plasma Propulsion. Several Russian entities are also involved: the MIREA (Moscow Institute of Radioelectronics and Automatics), of the RIAME MAI (Research Institute of Applied Mechanics and Electrodynamics - Moscow Aviation Institute) and of the SPT « father å Professor MOROZOV The industrial development activities are jointly conducted by Snecma Moteurs and Russian manufacturer FAKEL. The future developments are mainly dedicated to the use of electric propulsion for the orbit raising of telecommunications satellites which leads to the development of thrusters with higher thrust than those existing today. Works are also performed to develop and improve the tools necessary to evaluate the plume effects of plasma thrusters.

  14. The 5200 cycle test of an 8-cm diameter Hg ion thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mantenieks, M. A.; Wintucky, E. G.

    1978-01-01

    An accelerated cycle test was conducted in which an 8-cm Engineering Model Thruster (EMT) prototype successfully completed 5200 on-off cycles and a total of more than 1300hours of thruster operation at a 4.5 mN thrust level. Cathode tip heater powers required for starting and keeper voltages remained well within acceptable limits. The discharge chamber utilization and electrical efficiency were nearly constant over the duration of the test. It was concluded that on-off cyclic operation by itself does not appreciably degrade starting capability or performance of the 8-cm EMT.

  15. Lifetime Assessment of the NEXT Ion Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    VanNoord, Jonathan L.

    2010-01-01

    Ion thrusters are low thrust, high specific impulse devices with required operational lifetimes on the order of 10,000 to 100,000 hr. The NEXT ion thruster is the latest generation of ion thrusters under development. The NEXT ion thruster currently has a qualification level propellant throughput requirement of 450 kg of xenon, which corresponds to roughly 22,000 hr of operation at the highest throttling point. Currently, a NEXT engineering model ion thruster with prototype model ion optics is undergoing a long duration test to determine wear characteristics and establish propellant throughput capability. The NEXT thruster includes many improvements over previous generations of ion thrusters, but two of its component improvements have a larger effect on thruster lifetime. These include the ion optics with tighter tolerances, a masked region and better gap control, and the discharge cathode keeper material change to graphite. Data from the NEXT 2000 hr wear test, the NEXT long duration test, and further analysis is used to determine the expected lifetime of the NEXT ion thruster. This paper will review the predictions for all of the anticipated failure mechanisms. The mechanisms will include wear of the ion optics and cathode s orifice plate and keeper from the plasma, depletion of low work function material in each cathode s insert, and spalling of material in the discharge chamber leading to arcing. Based on the analysis of the NEXT ion thruster, the first failure mode for operation above a specific impulse of 2000 sec is expected to be the structural failure of the ion optics at 750 kg of propellant throughput, 1.7 times the qualification requirement. An assessment based on mission analyses for operation below a specific impulse of 2000 sec indicates that the NEXT thruster is capable of double the propellant throughput required by these missions.

  16. Low Frequency Vibration Characteristics of the Space Acceleration Measurement System 2 Tape Drive Assembly

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Javeed, Mehzad; Russell, James W.

    1996-01-01

    This report summarizes results of force and moment measurements of the Space Acceleration Measurement System 2 (SAMS 2) Tape Drive Assembly (TDA) over the frequency range from 0.35 Hz to 256 Hz for steady state operations including write, read, rewind, and fast forward. Time domain force results are presented for transient TDA operations that include software eject, manual eject, and manual load. Three different mounting configurations were employed for attaching the inner box with the tape drive unit to the outer box. Two configurations employed grommet sets with spring rates of 42 and 62 pounds per inch respectively. The third configuration employed a set of metallic washers. For all four steady state operations the largest average forces were on the Y axis with the metallic washers and were less than 0.005 pounds. The largest average moments were on the X axes with the washers and were less than 0.030 pound inches. At the third octave centerband frequency of 31.5 Hz, the 42 pound per inch grommets showed the greatest forces and moments for read and write operations. At the third octave centerband frequency of 49.6 Hz, the 62 pound per inch grommets showed the greatest forces and moments for rewind operation. Transient operation forces ranged from 0.75 pounds for the software eject to greater than 1 pound for manual load and eject.

  17. NASA Brief: Q-Thruster Physics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    White, Harold

    2013-01-01

    Q-thrusters are a low-TRL form of electric propulsion that operates on the principle of pushing off of the quantum vacuum. A terrestrial analog to this is to consider how a submarine uses its propeller to push a column of water in one direction, while the sub recoils in the other to conserve momentum -the submarine does not carry a "tank" of sea water to be used as propellant. In our case, we use the tools of Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) to show how the thruster pushes off of the quantum vacuum which can be thought of as a sea of virtual particles -principally electrons and positrons that pop into and out of existence, and where fields are stronger, there are more virtual particles. The idea of pushing off the quantum vacuum has been in the technical literature for a few decades, but to date, the obstacle has been the magnitude of the predicted thrust which has been derived analytically to be very small, and therefore not likely to be useful for human spaceflight. Our recent theoretical model development and test data suggests that we can greatly increase the magnitude of the negative pressure of the quantum vacuum and generate a specific force such that technology based on this approach can be competitive for in-space propulsion approx. 0.1N/kW), and possibly for terrestrial applications (approx. 10N/kW). As an additional validation of the approach, the theory allows calculation of physics constants from first principles: Gravitational constant, Planck constant, Bohr radius, dark energy fraction, electron mass.

  18. Grid Gap Measurement for an NSTAR Ion Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Diaz, Esther M.; Soulas, George C.

    2006-01-01

    The change in gap between the screen and accelerator grids of an engineering model NSTAR ion optics assembly was measured during thruster operation with beam extraction. The molybdenum ion optics assembly was mounted onto an engineering model NSTAR ion thruster. The measurement technique consisted of measuring the difference in height of an alumina pin relative to the downstream accelerator grid surface. The alumina pin was mechanically attached to the center aperture of the screen grid and protruded through the center aperture of the accelerator grid. The change in pin height was monitored using a long distance microscope coupled to a digital imaging system. Transient and steady-state hot grid gaps were measured at three power levels: 0.5, 1.5 and 2.3 kW. Also, the change in grid gap was measured during the transition between power levels, and during the startup with high voltage applied just prior to discharge ignition. Performance measurements, such as perveance, electron backstreaming limit and screen grid ion transparency, were also made to confirm that this ion optics assembly performed similarly to past testing. Results are compared to a prior test of 30 cm titanium ion optics.

  19. The Berkeley Accelerator Space Effects (BASE) Facility A new mission for the 88-Inch Cyclotron at LBNL

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McMahan, M. A.

    2005-12-01

    In FY04, the 88-Inch Cyclotron began a new operating mode that supports a local research program in nuclear science, R&D in accelerator technology and a test facility for the National Security Space (NSS) community (the US Air Force and NRO). The NSS community (and others on a cost recovery basis) can take advantage of both the light- and heavy-ion capabilities of the cyclotron to simulate the space radiation environment. A significant portion of this work involves the testing of microcircuits for single event effects. The experimental areas within the building that are used for the radiation effects testing are now called the Berkeley Accelerator Space Effects (BASE) Facility. Improvements to the facility to provide increased reliability, quality assurance and new capabilities are underway and will be discussed. These include a 16 A MeV "cocktail" of beams for heavy ion testing, a neutron beam, more robust dosimetry, and other upgrades.

  20. PIC simulation of electrodeless plasma thruster with rotating electric field

    SciTech Connect

    Nomura, Ryosuke; Ohnishi, Naofumi; Nishida, Hiroyuki

    2012-11-27

    For longer lifetime of electric propulsion system, an electrodeless plasma thruster with rotating electric field have been proposed utilizing a helicon plasma source. The rotating electric field may produce so-called Lissajous acceleration of helicon plasma in the presence of diverging magnetic field through a complicated mechanism originating from many parameters. Two-dimensional simulations of the Lissajous acceleration were conducted by a code based on Particle-In-Cell (PIC) method and Monte Carlo Collision (MCC) method for understanding plasma motion in acceleration area and for finding the optimal condition. Obtained results show that azimuthal current depends on ratio of electron drift radius to plasma region length, AC frequency, and axial magnetic field. When ratio of cyclotron frequency to the AC frequency is higher than unity, reduction of the azimuthal current by collision effect is little or nothing.

  1. In-Space Propulsion Technology Program Solar Electric Propulsion Technologies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dankanich, John W.

    2006-01-01

    NASA's In-space Propulsion (ISP) Technology Project is developing new propulsion technologies that can enable or enhance near and mid-term NASA science missions. The Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) technology area has been investing in NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT), the High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAC), lightweight reliable feed systems, wear testing, and thruster modeling. These investments are specifically targeted to increase planetary science payload capability, expand the envelope of planetary science destinations, and significantly reduce the travel times, risk, and cost of NASA planetary science missions. Status and expected capabilities of the SEP technologies are reviewed in this presentation. The SEP technology area supports numerous mission studies and architecture analyses to determine which investments will give the greatest benefit to science missions. Both the NEXT and HiVHAC thrusters have modified their nominal throttle tables to better utilize diminished solar array power on outbound missions. A new life extension mechanism has been implemented on HiVHAC to increase the throughput capability on low-power systems to meet the needs of cost-capped missions. Lower complexity, more reliable feed system components common to all electric propulsion (EP) systems are being developed. ISP has also leveraged commercial investments to further validate new ion and hall thruster technologies and to potentially lower EP mission costs.

  2. Numerical Modeling and Testing of an Inductively-Driven and High-Energy Pulsed Plasma Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Parma, Brian

    2004-01-01

    Pulsed Plasma Thrusters (PPTs) are advanced electric space propulsion devices that are characterized by simplicity and robustness. They suffer, however, from low thrust efficiencies. This summer, two approaches to improve the thrust efficiency of PPTs will be investigated through both numerical modeling and experimental testing. The first approach, an inductively-driven PPT, uses a double-ignition circuit to fire two PPTs in succession. This effectively changes the PPTs configuration from an LRC circuit to an LR circuit. The LR circuit is expected to provide better impedance matching and improving the efficiency of the energy transfer to the plasma. An added benefit of the LR circuit is an exponential decay of the current, whereas a traditional PPT s under damped LRC circuit experiences the characteristic "ringing" of its current. The exponential decay may provide improved lifetime and sustained electromagnetic acceleration. The second approach, a high-energy PPT, is a traditional PPT with a variable size capacitor bank. This PPT will be simulated and tested at energy levels between 100 and 450 joules in order to investigate the relationship between efficiency and energy level. Arbitrary Coordinate Hydromagnetic (MACH2) code is used. The MACH2 code, designed by the Center for Plasma Theory and Computation at the Air Force Research Laboratory, has been used to gain insight into a variety of plasma problems, including electric plasma thrusters. The goals for this summer include numerical predictions of performance for both the inductively-driven PPT and high-energy PFT, experimental validation of the numerical models, and numerical optimization of the designs. These goals will be met through numerical and experimental investigation of the PPTs current waveforms, mass loss (or ablation), and impulse bit characteristics.

  3. Performance and Facility Background Pressure Characterization Tests of NASAs 12.5-kW Hall Effect Rocket with Magnetic Shielding Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kamhawi, Hani; Huang, Wensheng; Haag, Thomas; Shastry, Rohit; Thomas, Robert; Yim, John; Herman, Daniel; Williams, George; Myers, James; Hofer, Richard; Mikellides, Ioannis; Sekerak, Michael; Polk, James

    2015-01-01

    NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Demonstration Mission (SEP/TDM) project is funding the development of a 12.5-kW Hall thruster system to support future NASA missions. The thruster designated Hall Effect Rocket with Magnetic Shielding (HERMeS) is a 12.5-kW Hall thruster with magnetic shielding incorporating a centrally mounted cathode. HERMeS was designed and modeled by a NASA GRC and JPL team and was fabricated and tested in vacuum facility 5 (VF5) at NASA GRC. Tests at NASA GRC were performed with the Technology Development Unit 1 (TDU1) thruster. TDU1's magnetic shielding topology was confirmed by measurement of anode potential and low electron temperature along the discharge chamber walls. Thermal characterization tests indicated that during full power thruster operation at peak magnetic field strength, the various thruster component temperatures were below prescribed maximum allowable limits. Performance characterization tests demonstrated the thruster's wide throttling range and found that the thruster can achieve a peak thruster efficiency of 63% at 12.5 kW 500 V and can attain a specific impulse of 3,000 s at 12.5 kW and a discharge voltage of 800 V. Facility background pressure variation tests revealed that the performance, operational characteristics, and magnetic shielding effectiveness of the TDU1 design were mostly insensitive to increases in background pressure.

  4. Development of the Plasma Thruster Particle-in-Cell Simulator to Complement Empirical Studies of a Low-Power Cusped-Field Thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gildea, Stephen Robert

    conical jet of fast ions in the near plume region. The influences guiding the formation of the simulated beam in low-current mode are described in detail. A module for predicting erosion rates on dielectric surfaces has also been incorporated into PTpic and applied to simulations of both DCFT operational modes. Two data sets from high---current mode simulations successfully reproduce elevated erosion profiles in each of the three magnetic ring-cusps present in the DCFT. Discrepancies between the simulated and experimental data do exist, however, and are once again attributable to the misplacement of the primary acceleration region of the thruster. Having successfully captured the most significant erosion profile features observed in high-current mode, a simulation of erosion in low-current mode indicates substantially reduced erosion in comparison to the more oscillatory mode. These findings further motivate the completion of low-current mode erosion measurements, and continued numerical studies of the DCFT. Additionally, PTpic has proven to be a useful simulation tool for this project, and has been developed with adaptability in mind to facilitate its application to a variety of thruster designs---including Hall thrusters. (Copies available exclusively from MIT Libraries, libraries.mit.edu/docs - docs mit.edu)

  5. Space-charge effects in ultra-high current electron bunches generated by laser-plasma accelerators

    SciTech Connect

    Grinner, F. J.; Schroeder, C. B.; Maier, A. R.; Becker, S.; Mikhailova, J. M.

    2009-02-11

    Recent advances in laser-plasma accelerators, including the generation of GeV-scale electron bunches, enable applications such as driving a compact free-electron-laser (FEL). Significant reduction in size of the FEL is facilitated by the expected ultra-high peak beam currents (10-100 kA) generated in laser-plasma accelerators. At low electron energies such peak currents are expected to cause space-charge effects such as bunch expansion and induced energy variations along the bunch, potentially hindering the FEL process. In this paper we discuss a self-consistent approach to modeling space-charge effects for the regime of laser-plasma-accelerated ultra-compact electron bunches at low or moderate energies. Analytical treatments are considered as well as point-to-point particle simulations, including the beam transport from the laser-plasma accelerator through focusing devices and the undulator. In contradiction to non-self-consistent analyses (i.e., neglecting bunch evolution), which predict a linearly growing energy chirp, we have found the energy chirp reaches a maximum and decreases thereafter. The impact of the space-charge induced chirp on FEL performance is discussed and possible solutions are presented.

  6. Micro-Discharge Micro-Thruster

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2005-06-01

    Approved for public release, distribution unlimited 1 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Micro -discharge Micro -thruster John...This paper summarizes the experiments and analysis of the micro -discharge micro - thruster developed jointly by Ewing Technology Associates and the...University of Washington. The key experimental result has been the demonstration of a sustained discharge in a very simple micro -discharge type of

  7. Effect of Background Pressure on the Performance and Plume of the HiVHAc Hall Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huang, Wensheng; Kamhawi, Hani; Haag, Thomas

    2013-01-01

    During the Single String Integration Test of the NASA HiVHAc Hall thruster, a number of plasma diagnostics were implemented to study the effect of varying facility background pressure on thruster operation. These diagnostics include thrust stand, Faraday probe, ExB probe, and retarding potential analyzer. The test results indicated a rise in thrust and discharge current with background pressure. There was also a decrease in ion energy per charge, an increase in multiply-charged species production, a decrease in plume divergence, and a decrease in ion beam current with increasing background pressure. A simplified ingestion model was applied to determine the maximum acceptable background pressure for thrust measurement. The maximum acceptable ingestion percentage was found to be around 1%. Examination of the diagnostics results suggest the ionization and acceleration zones of the thruster were shifting upstream with increasing background pressure.

  8. Primary electric propulsion technology study. [for thruster wear-out mechanisms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Poeschel, R. L.; Beattie, J. R.

    1979-01-01

    An investigation of the 30-cm engineering-model-thruster technology with emphasis placed on the development of models for understanding and predicting the operational characteristics and wear-out mechanisms of the thruster as a function of operating or design parameters is presented. The task studies include: (1) the wear mechanisms and wear rates that determine the useful lifetime of the thruster discharge chamber; (2) cathode lifetime as determined by the depletion of barium from the barium-aluminate-impregnated-porous-tungsten insert that serves as a barium reservoir; (3) accelerator-grid-system technology; (4) a verification of the high-voltage propellant-flow-electrical-isolator design developed under NASA contract NAS3-20395 for operation at 10-kV applied voltage and 10-A equivalent propellant flow with mercury and argon propellants. A model was formulated for predicting performance.

  9. Visual evidence of suppressing the ion and electron energy loss on the wall in Hall thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ding, Yongjie; Peng, Wuji; Sun, Hezhi; Wei, Liqiu; Zeng, Ming; Wang, Fufeng; Yu, Daren

    2017-03-01

    A method of pushing down magnetic field with two permanent magnetic rings is proposed in this paper. It can realize ionization in a channel and acceleration outside the channel. The wall will only suffer from the bombardment of low-energy ions and electrons, which can effectively reduce channel erosion and extend the operational lifetime of thrusters. Furthermore, there is no additional power consumption of coils, which improves the efficiency of systems. We show here the newly developed 200 W no wall-loss Hall thruster (NWLHT-200) that applies the method of pushing down magnetic field with two permanent magnetic rings; the visual evidence we obtained preliminarily confirms the feasibility that the proposed method can realize discharge without wall energy loss or erosion of Hall thrusters.

  10. Integrated Stirling Convertor and Hall Thruster Test Conducted

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mason, Lee S.

    2002-01-01

    An important aspect of implementing Stirling Radioisotope Generators on future NASA missions is the integration of the generator and controller with potential spacecraft loads. Some recent studies have indicated that the combination of Stirling Radioisotope Generators and electric propulsion devices offer significant trip time and payload fraction benefits for deep space missions. A test was devised to begin to understand the interactions between Stirling generators and electric thrusters. An electrically heated RG- 350 (350-W output) Stirling convertor, designed and built by Stirling Technology Company of Kennewick, Washington, under a NASA Small Business Innovation Research agreement, was coupled to a 300-W SPT-50 Hall-effect thruster built for NASA by the Moscow Aviation Institute (RIAME). The RG-350 and the SPT-50 shown, were installed in adjacent vacuum chamber ports at NASA Glenn Research Center's Electric Propulsion Laboratory, Vacuum Facility 8. The Stirling electrical controller interfaced directly with the Hall thruster power-processing unit, both of which were located outside of the vacuum chamber. The power-processing unit accepted the 48 Vdc output from the Stirling controller and distributed the power to all the loads of the SPT-50, including the magnets, keeper, heater, and discharge. On February 28, 2001, the Glenn test team successfully operated the Hall-effect thruster with the Stirling convertor. This is the world's first known test of a dynamic power source with electric propulsion. The RG-350 successfully managed the transition from the purely resistive load bank within the Stirling controller to the highly capacitive power-processing unit load. At the time of the demonstration, the Stirling convertor was operating at a hot temperature of 530 C and a cold temperature of -6 C. The linear alternator was producing approximately 250 W at 109 Vac, while the power-processing unit was drawing 175 W at 48 Vdc. The majority of power was delivered to the

  11. Effects of Hyperbolic Rotation in Minkowski Space on the Modeling of Plasma Accelerators in a Lorentz Boosted Frame

    SciTech Connect

    Vay, J.-L.; Geddes, C. G. R.; Cormier-Michel, E.; Grote, D. P.

    2010-09-21

    Laser driven plasma accelerators promise much shorter particle accelerators but their development requires detailed simulations that challenge or exceed current capabilities. We report the first direct simulations of stages up to 1 TeV from simulations using a Lorentz boosted calculation frame resulting in a million times speedup, thanks to a frame boost as high as gamma = 1300. Effects of the hyperbolic rotation in Minkowski space resulting from the frame boost on the laser propagation in the plasma is shown to be key in the mitigation of a numerical instability that was limiting previous attempts.

  12. DC-like Phase Space Manipulation and Particle Acceleration Using Chirped AC Fields

    SciTech Connect

    P.F. Schmit and N.J. Fisch

    2009-06-17

    Waves in plasmas can accelerate particles that are resonant with the wave. A DC electric field also accelerates particles, but without a resonance discrimination, which makes the acceleration mechanism profoundly different. We investigate the effect on a Hamiltonian distribution of an accelerating potential waveform, which could, for example, represent the average ponderomotive effect of two counterpropagating electromagnetic waves. In particular, we examine the apparent DC-like time-asymptotic response of the distribution in regimes where the potential structure is accelerated adiabatically. A highly resonant population within the distribution is always present, and we characterize its nonadiabatic response during wave-particle resonance using an integral method in the noninertial reference frame moving with the wave. Finally, we show that in the limit of infinitely slow acceleration of the wave, these highly resonant particles disappear and the response

  13. Domed, 40-cm-Diameter Ion Optics for an Ion Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Soulas, George C.; Haag, Thomas W.; Patterson, Michael J.

    2006-01-01

    Improved accelerator and screen grids for an ion accelerator have been designed and tested in a continuing effort to increase the sustainable power and thrust at the high end of the accelerator throttling range. The accelerator and screen grids are undergoing development for intended use as NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) a spacecraft thruster that would have an input-power throttling range of 1.2 to 6.9 kW. The improved accelerator and screen grids could also be incorporated into ion accelerators used in such industrial processes as ion implantation and ion milling. NEXT is a successor to the NASA Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Application Readiness (NSTAR) thruster - a state-of-the-art ion thruster characterized by, among other things, a beam-extraction diameter of 28 cm, a span-to-gap ratio (defined as this diameter divided by the distance between the grids) of about 430, and a rated peak input power of 2.3 kW. To enable the NEXT thruster to operate at the required higher peak power, the beam-extraction diameter was increased to 40 cm almost doubling the beam-extraction area over that of NSTAR (see figure). The span-to-gap ratio was increased to 600 to enable throttling to the low end of the required input-power range. The geometry of the apertures in the grids was selected on the basis of experience in the use of grids of similar geometry in the NSTAR thruster. Characteristics of the aperture geometry include a high open-area fraction in the screen grid to reduce discharge losses and a low open-area fraction in the accelerator grid to reduce losses of electrically neutral gas atoms or molecules. The NEXT accelerator grid was made thicker than that of the NSTAR to make more material available for erosion, thereby increasing the service life and, hence, the total impulse. The NEXT grids are made of molybdenum, which was chosen because its combination of high strength and low thermal expansion helps to minimize thermally and inertially induced

  14. Cathode Effects in Cylindrical Hall Thrusters

    SciTech Connect

    Granstedt, E.M.; Raitses, Y.; Fisch, N. J.

    2008-09-12

    Stable operation of a cylindrical Hall thruster (CHT) has been achieved using a hot wire cathode, which functions as a controllable electron emission source. It is shown that as the electron emission from the cathode increases with wire heating, the discharge current increases, the plasma plume angle reduces, and the ion energy distribution function shifts toward higher energies. The observed effect of cathode electron emission on thruster parameters extends and clarifies performance improvements previously obtained for the overrun discharge current regime of the same type of thruster, but using a hollow cathode-neutralizer. Once thruster discharge current saturates with wire heating, further filament heating does not affect other discharge parameters. The saturated values of thruster discharge parameters can be further enhanced by optimal placement of the cathode wire with respect to the magnetic field.

  15. Propulsion Instruments for Small Hall Thruster Integration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Lee K.; Conroy, David G.; Spanjers, Greg G.; Bromaghim, Daron R.

    2001-01-01

    Planning and development are underway for the propulsion instrumentation necessary for the next AFRL electric propulsion flight project, which includes both a small Hall thruster and a micro-PPT. These instruments characterize the environment induced by the thruster and the associated data constitute part of a 'user's manual' for these thrusters. Several instruments probe the back-flow region of the thruster plume, and the data are intended for comparison with detailed numerical models in this region. Specifically, an ion probe is under development to determine the energy and species distributions, and a Langmuir probe will be employed to characterize the electron density and temperature. Other instruments directly measure the effects of thruster operation on spacecraft thermal control surfaces, optical surfaces, and solar arrays. Specifically, radiometric, photometric, and solar-cell-based sensors are under development. Prototype test data for most sensors should be available, together with details of the instrumentation subsystem and spacecraft interface.

  16. Scaling of Ion Thrusters to Low Power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, Michael J.; Grisnik, Stanley P.; Soulas, George C.

    1998-01-01

    Analyses were conducted to examine ion thruster scaling relationships in detail to determine performance limits, and lifetime expectations for thruster input power levels below 0.5 kW. This was motivated by mission analyses indicating the potential advantages of high performance, high specific impulse systems for small spacecraft. The design and development status of a 0.1-0.3 kW prototype small thruster and its components are discussed. Performance goals include thruster efficiencies on the order of 40% to 54% over a specific impulse range of 2000 to 3000 seconds, with a lifetime in excess of 8000 hours at full power. Thruster technologies required to achieve the performance and lifetime targets are identified.

  17. Temperature and current accelerated lifetime conditions and testing of laser diodes for ESA BepiColombo space mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klumel, Genady; Karni, Yoram; Cohen, Shalom; Rech, Markus; Weidlich, Kai

    2011-03-01

    System designers and end users of diode pumped solid state lasers often require knowledge of the operability limits of QCW laser diode pump sources and their predicted reliability performance as a function of operating conditions. Accelerated ageing at elevated temperatures, duty cycles and/or currents allows extended lifetime testing of diode stacks to be executed on compressed timescales with high confidence. We present a novel, time-efficient technique for the determination of accelerated lifetime test conditions using degradation rate data, rather than the traditionally used failures against time data. To assess the effect of thermally accelerated ageing, 4 groups of 4 stacks each were operated for 60 million pulses at different temperature stress levels by varying the pulse repetition rate from 100Hz to 250Hz. The measured power degradation rates fitted to an Arrhenius type model, result in activation energy of 0.47- 0.74eV, apparently indicating two thermally activated degradation modes with different activation energies. Similarly, for current accelerated ageing, another 4 groups of 4 stacks were tested at operation currents from 120A to 150A. The optical power degradation rates due to current stress follow a power law behavior with a current acceleration factor of 1.7. The obtained acceleration parameters allowed considerable reduction of the lifetime test duration, which would have otherwise taken an unacceptably long time under nominal operating conditions. The successful results of the accelerated lifetime have been a major milestone enabling qualification of SCD stacks as pump sources for the laser altimeter in ESA Bepi-Colombo space mission. The presented reliability analysis allows life test qualification programs to be accelerated for generic QCW stacks and their lifetime to be predicted in various operating environments.

  18. Mission Advantages of NEXT: Nasa's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven; Gefert, Leon; Benson, Scott; Patterson, Michael; Noca, Muriel; Sims, Jon

    2002-01-01

    With the demonstration of the NSTAR propulsion system on the Deep Space One mission, the range of the Discovery class of NASA missions can now be expanded. NSTAR lacks, however, sufficient performance for many of the more challenging Office of Space Science (OSS) missions. Recent studies have shown that NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) ion propulsion system is the best choice for many exciting potential OSS missions including outer planet exploration and inner solar system sample returns. The NEXT system provides the higher power, higher specific impulse, and higher throughput required by these science missions.

  19. Transport of Sputtered Carbon During Ground-Based Life Testing of Ion Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marker, Colin L.; Clemons, Lucas A.; Banks, Bruce A.; Miller, Sharon; Snyder, Aaron; Hung, Ching-Cheh; Karniotis, Christina A.; Waters, Deborah L.

    2005-01-01

    High voltage, high power electron bombardment ion thrusters needed for deep space missions will be required to be operated for long durations in space as well as during ground laboratory life testing. Carbon based ion optics are being considered for such thrusters. The sputter deposition of carbon and arc vaporized carbon flakes from long duration operation of ion thrusters can result in deposition on insulating surfaces, causing them to become conducting. Because the sticking coefficient is less than one, secondary deposition needs to be considered to assure that shorting of critical components does not occur. The sticking coefficient for sputtered carbon and arc vaporized carbon is measured as well as directional ejection distribution data for carbon that does not stick upon first impact.

  20. Ion and advanced electric thruster research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilbur, P. J.

    1980-01-01

    A phenomenological model of the orificed, hollow cathode based on the field enhanced, thermionic mechanism of electron emission is presented. High frequency oscillations associated with the orificed, hollow cathode are shown to be a consequence of current flow through the cathode orifice. A procedure for Langmuir probing of the hollow cathode discharge and analyzing the resulting probe characteristics is discussed. The results of sputter yield measurements made for molybdenum, tantalum, type 304 stainless steel and copper surfaces being bombarded by low energy argon or mercury ions are also given. The effects of nitrogen and alternated copper layers on the sputter yields of molybdenum, tantalum and 304 stainless steel are also discussed. A dynamic model of electrothermal rocket and ramjet thrusters is developed. The gross performance of these devices is compared to that of an electromagnetic gun for the case of a high acceleration, Earth launch mission. The theoretical performance of electrothermal rockets and ramjets is shown to be comparable to that of the electromagnetic gun.