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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 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Arcjet space thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keefer, Dennis; Rhodes, Robert

    1993-01-01

    Electrically powered arc jets which produce thrust at high specific impulse could provide a substantial cost reduction for orbital transfer and station keeping missions. There is currently a limited understanding of the complex, nonlinear interactions in the plasma propellant which has hindered the development of high efficiency arc jet thrusters by making it difficult to predict the effect of design changes and to interpret experimental results. A computational model developed at the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) to study laser powered thrusters and radio frequency gas heaters has been adapted to provide a tool to help understand the physical processes in arc jet thrusters. The approach is to include in the model those physical and chemical processes which appear to be important, and then to evaluate our judgement by the comparison of numerical simulations with experimental data. The results of this study have been presented at four technical conferences. The details of the work accomplished in this project are covered in the individual papers included in the appendix of this report. We present a brief description of the model covering its most important features followed by a summary of the effort.

  6. 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.

  7. Miniature Free-Space Electrostatic Ion Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hartley, Frank T.; Stephens, James B.

    2006-01-01

    A miniature electrostatic ion thruster is proposed for maneuvering small spacecraft. In a thruster based on this concept, one or more propellant gases would be introduced into an ionizer based on the same principles as those of the device described in an earlier article, "Miniature Bipolar Electrostatic Ion Thruster". On the front side, positive ions leaving an ionizer element would be accelerated to high momentum by an electric field between the ionizer and an accelerator grid around the periphery of the concave laminate structure. On the front side, electrons leaving an ionizer element 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 a thruster design consisting of multiple membrane ionizers in a thin laminate structure with a peripheral accelerator grid, the direction of thrust could then be controlled (without need for moving parts in the thruster) by regulating the supply of gas to specific ionizer.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Plasma acceleration processes in an ablative pulsed plasma thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Koizumi, Hiroyuki; Noji, Ryosuke; Komurasaki, Kimiya; Arakawa, Yoshihiro

    2007-03-15

    Plasma acceleration processes in an ablative pulsed plasma thruster (APPT) were investigated. APPTs are space propulsion options suitable for microspacecraft, and have recently attracted much attention because of their low electric power requirements and simple, compact propellant system. The plasma acceleration mechanism, however, has not been well understood. In the present work, emission spectroscopy, high speed photography, and magnetic field measurements are conducted inside the electrode channel of an APPT with rectangular geometry. The successive images of neutral particles and ions give us a comprehensive understanding of their behavior under electromagnetic acceleration. The magnetic field profile clarifies the location where the electromagnetic force takes effect. As a result, it is shown that high density, ablated neutral gas stays near the propellant surface, and only a fraction of the neutrals is converted into plasma and electromagnetically accelerated, leaving the residual neutrals behind.

  17. 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.

  18. On the longitudinal distribution of electric field in the acceleration zones of plasma accelerators and thrusters with closed electron drift

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, V. P.

    2017-04-01

    The long-term experience in controlling the electric field distribution in the discharge gaps of plasma accelerators and thrusters with closed electron drift and the key ideas determining the concepts of these devices and tendencies of their development are analyzed. It is shown that an electrostatic mechanism of ion acceleration in plasma by an uncompensated space charge of the cloud of magnetized electrons "kept" to the magnetic field takes place in the acceleration zones and that the electric field distribution can be controlled by varying the magnetic field in the discharge gap. The role played by the space charge makes the mechanism of ion acceleration in this type of thrusters is fundamentally different from the acceleration mechanism operating in purely electrostatic thrusters.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. IEC Thrusters for Space Probe Applications and Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Miley, George H.; Momota, Hiromu; Wu Linchun; Reilly, Michael P.; Teofilo, Vince L.; Burton, Rodney; Dell, Richard; Dell, Dick; Hargus, William A.

    2009-03-16

    Earlier conceptual design studies (Bussard, 1990; Miley et al., 1998; Burton et al., 2003) have described Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) fusion propulsion to provide a high-power density fusion propulsion system capable of aggressive deep space missions. However, this requires large multi-GW thrusters and a long term development program. As a first step towards this goal, a progression of near-term IEC thrusters, stating with a 1-10 kWe electrically-driven IEC jet thruster for satellites are considered here. The initial electrically-powered unit uses a novel multi-jet plasma thruster based on spherical IEC technology with electrical input power from a solar panel. In this spherical configuration, Xe ions are generated and accelerated towards the center of double concentric spherical grids. An electrostatic potential well structure is created in the central region, providing ion trapping. Several enlarged grid opening extract intense quasi-neutral plasma jets. A variable specific impulse in the range of 1000-4000 seconds is achieved by adjusting the grid potential. This design provides high maneuverability for satellite and small space probe operations. The multiple jets, combined with gimbaled auxiliary equipment, provide precision changes in thrust direction. The IEC electrical efficiency can match or exceed efficiencies of conventional Hall Current Thrusters (HCTs) while offering advantages such as reduced grid erosion (long life time), reduced propellant leakage losses (reduced fuel storage), and a very high power-to-weight ratio. The unit is ideally suited for probing missions. The primary propulsive jet enables delicate maneuvering close to an object. Then simply opening a second jet offset 180 degrees from the propulsion one provides a 'plasma analytic probe' for interrogation of the object.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Non Conventional Hall-type Thrusters for Low Power Space Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raitses, Yevgeny

    2000-10-01

    The conventional Hall thruster is based on the electrostatic acceleration of ions in axial electric and radial magnetic fields in a coaxial channel. The electrostatic acceleration occurs across a neutral plasma, with electrons held axially by the radial magnetic field. Because the space charge limit on current density is overcome, Hall thrusters provide higher thrust densities than conventional ion sources. Over the last forty years, three main configurations of Hall thrusters, namely, magnetic layer, anode layer and end-Hall, have been developed. They may be compared in terms of the thruster efficiency and scaling. Coaxial magnetic layer and anode layer thrusters demonstrate high performance, but produce a large plume. They also exhibit difficulties in scaling down to low power, because small sizes create larger demands on the magnetic circuit and increase wall effects. In contrast, end-Hall thrusters are easily scaled down, but have low efficiency. However further variations on the theme of acceleration with closed electron drifts can be imagined. Recently, we demonstrated that by using segmented electrodes, the beam divergence can be reduced in the conventional coaxial configuration [1,2]. Moreover, we demonstrated very stable Hall-type operation with acceleration in a cylindrical ceramic channel [3]. These non conventional Hall-type thrusters results appear to be attractive particularly for low-power applications. [1] A. Fruchtman and N. J. Fisch, Journal of Propulsion and Power, submitted (1999). [2] Y. Raitses, L. A. Dorf, A. A. Litvak and N. J. Fisch, Journal of Applied Physics (Aug. 2000). [3] Y. Raitses and N. J. Fisch, Review of Scientific Instruments, submitted (2000)

  13. System tests with electric thruster beam and accelerator directly powered from laboratory solar arrays

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stover, J. B.

    1976-01-01

    Laboratory high voltage solar arrays were operated directly connected to power the beam and accelerator loads of an 8-centimeter ion thruster. The beam array comprised conventional 2 by 2 centimeter solar cells; the accelerator array comprised multiple junction edge-illuminated solar cells. Conventional laboratory power supplies powered the thruster's other loads. Tests were made to evaluate thruster performance and to investigate possible electrical interactions between the solar arrays and the thruster. Thruster performance was the same as with conventional laboratory beam and accelerator power supplies. Most of the thruster beam short circuits that occurred during solar array operation were cleared spontaneously without automatic or manual intervention. No spontaneous clearing occurred during conventional power supply operation.

  14. 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.; hide

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

    NASAs 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 presentation 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, 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 thrusters 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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 tested on five different 30-cm diameter bombardment thrustors to evaluate the effects of grid geometry variations on thrustor 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. Also investigated were the effects on discharge chamber performance of main magnetic field changes, magnetic baffle current cathode pole piece length and cathode position.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Plasma Characteristics in the Acceleration Channel of a Microwave Discharge Hall Thruster and Relationships between Thruster Performance and Acceleration Channel Length

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuwano, Hirohisa; Kuninaka, Hitoshi; Nakashima, Hideki

    Microwave discharge Hall thruster can be operated by two operating modes. The first one is “no microwave launching” mode, thus having the thruster operating as single-stage type. The other mode is “microwave launching” mode, thus having the thruster operating as double-stage type. In order to examine the influence of microwave launching mode upon the plasma condition inside the acceleration channel, as well as the relationships between thruster perform­ance and acceleration channel length, single-probe measurements and ion beam energy diagnostics in the plume were carried out. Single-probe measurements revealed the existence of dense plasma and high electron temperature region in the acceleration channel upstream due to the heating of the electrons by microwave. The variation in the discharge current characteristic due to the difference in acceleration channel length was not significant. As for discharge current, double-stage operation always results in a lower value compared to the value at the single-stage operation. Ion beam current was always higher at double-stage operation compared to the value at single-stage operation. Voltage utilization efficiency has improved as the channel length became short with microwave launching.

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

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-09-14

    Base , CA 93524 There is interest within the electric propulsion community in the use of krypton as a propellant for electrostatic thrusters. It is a...same thruster. The single case with matched applied magnetic field, acceleration potential, and volumetric flow does not optimize for propellant ...differences as a result of propellant selection can be more fully understood. Discussion and Conclusions Comparison of xenon and krypton for a single

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Space Acceleration Measurement Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Foster, William

    2000-01-01

    The Space Acceleration Measurement Systems (SAMS) Project develops and deploys the measurement systems for the Acceleration Measurement Program (AMP). At this time there are two types of measurement systems available, quasi-steady and vibratory. Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment (OARE) and Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS) are the current quasi-steady systems available. OARE has flown numerous times supporting STS missions. MAMS has been delivered to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for its deployment on the International Space Station (ISS). Vibratory measurements have been made and will be made by the Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS-I) Generation I, Space Acceleration Measurement System Generation II (SAMS-II), and Space Acceleration Measurement System Free Flyer or Generation III (SAMS-FF). SAMS-I supported 21 STS missions and has been retired. SAMS-II will be delivered to KSC to support ISS-6A launch (currently April 19, 2001). SAMS-FF has replaced SAMS-I in support of STS missions and has been deployed on sounding rockets, the KC-135 and ground facilities. SAMS-FF hardware shall be deployed on ISS in the future to provide a more compact solution.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Development of a multiplexed electrospray micro-thruster with post-acceleration and beam containment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lenguito, G.; Gomez, A.

    2013-10-01

    We report the development of a compact thruster based on Multiplexed ElectroSprays (MES). It relied on a microfabricated Si array of emitters coupled with an extractor electrode and an accelerator electrode. The accelerator stage was introduced for two purposes: containing beam opening and avoiding electrode erosion due to droplet impingement, as well as boosting specific impulse and thrust. Multiplexing is generally necessary as a thrust multiplier to reach eventually the level required (O(102) μN) by small satellites. To facilitate system optimization and debugging, we focused on a 7-nozzle MES device and compared its performance to that of a single emitter. To ensure uniformity of operation of all nozzles their hydraulic impedance was augmented by packing them with micrometer-size beads. Two propellants were tested: a solution of 21.5% methyl ammonium formate in formamide and the better performing pure ionic liquid ethyl ammonium nitrate (EAN). The 7-MES device spraying EAN at ΔV = 5.93 kV covered a specific impulse range from 620 s to 1900 s and a thrust range from 0.6 μN to 5.4 μN, at 62% efficiency. Remarkably, less than 1% of the beam was demonstrated to impact on the accelerator electrode, which bodes well for long-term applications in space.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Microelectrospray Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dankanich, John; Demmons, Nate; Marrese-Reading, Colleen; Lozano, Paulo

    2015-01-01

    Propulsion technology is often a critical enabling technology for space missions. NASA is investing in technologies to enable high value missions with very small spacecraft, even CubeSats. However, these nanosatellites currently lack any appreciable propulsion capability. CubeSats are typically deployed and tumble or drift without any ability to transfer to higher value orbits, perform orbit maintenance, or perform de-orbit. Larger spacecraft can also benefit from high precision attitude control systems. Existing practices include reaction wheels with lifetime concerns and system level complexity. Microelectrospray thrusters will provide new propulsion capabilities to address these mission needs. Electric propulsion is an approach to accelerate propellant to very high exhaust velocities through the use of electrical power. Typical propulsion systems are limited to the combustion energy available in the chemical bonds of the fuel and then acceleration through a converging diverging nozzle. However, electric propulsion can accelerate propellant to ten times higher velocities and therefore increase momentum transfer efficiency, or essentially, increase the fuel economy. Fuel efficiency of thrusters is proportional to the exhaust velocity and referred to as specific impulse (Isp). The state-of-the-art (SOA) for CubeSats is cold gas propulsion with an Isp of 50-80 s. The Space Shuttle main engine demonstrated a specific impulse of 450 s. The target Isp for the Mars Exploration Program (MEP) systems is >1,500 s. This propellant efficiency can enable a 1-kg, 10-cm cube to transfer from low-Earth orbit to interplanetary space with only 200 g of propellant. In September 2013, NASA's Game Changing Development program competitively awarded three teams with contracts to develop MEP systems from Technology Readiness Level-3 (TRL-3), experimental concept, to TRL-5, system validation in a relevant environment. The project is planned for 18 months of system development. Due to the

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. A high power ion thruster for deep space missions.

    PubMed

    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. Analysis and design of ion thruster for large space systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Poeschel, R. L.; Kami, S.

    1980-01-01

    Design analyses showed that an ion thruster of approximately 50 cm in diameter will be required to produce a thrust of 0.5 N using xenon or argon as propellants, and operating the thruster at a specific impulse of 3530 sec or 6076 sec respectively. A multipole magnetic confinement discharge chamber was specified.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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."

  10. 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."

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Space Technology: Game Changing Development Deep Space Engine (DSE) 100 lbf and 5 lbf Thruster Development and Qualification

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barnett, Gregory

    2017-01-01

    Science mission studies require spacecraft propulsion systems that are high-performance, lightweight, and compact. Highly matured technology and low-cost, short development time of the propulsion system are also very desirable. The Deep Space Engine (DSE) 100-lbf thruster is being developed to meet these needs. The overall goal of this game changing technology project is to qualify the DSE thrusters along with 5-lbf attitude control thrusters for space flight and for inclusion in science and exploration missions. The aim is to perform qualification tests representative of mission duty cycles. Most exploration missions are constrained by mass, power and cost. As major propulsion components, thrusters are identified as high-risk, long-lead development items. NASA spacecraft primarily rely on 1960s' heritage in-space thruster designs and opportunities exist for reducing size, weight, power, and cost through the utilization of modern materials and advanced manufacturing techniques. Advancements in MON-25/MMH hypergolic bipropellant thrusters represent a promising avenue for addressing these deficiencies with tremendous mission enhancing benefits. DSE is much lighter and costs less than currently available thrusters in comparable thrust classes. Because MON-25 propellants operate at lower temperatures, less power is needed for propellant conditioning for in-space propulsion applications, especially long duration and/or deep-space missions. Reduced power results in reduced mass for batteries and solar panels. DSE is capable of operating at a wide propellant temperature range (between -22 F and 122 F) while a similar existing thruster operates between 45 F and 70 F. Such a capability offers robust propulsion operation as well as flexibility in design. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center evaluated available operational Missile Defense Agency heritage thrusters suitable for the science and lunar lander propulsion systems.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Control structure interactions in large space structures Analysis using energy approach. [for constant and pulsed thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shrivastava, S. K.; Ried, R. C.; Manoharan, M. G.

    1983-01-01

    A simple energy approach to study the problem of control structure interactions in large space structures is presented. For the illustrative cases of free-free beam and free rectangular plate, the vibrational energy imparted during operation of constant and pulsed thrusters is found in a nondimensional form. Then based on a parametric study, suggestions are made on the choice of the thruster location and parameters to minimize the control structure interactions.

  17. 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

  18. Hall Thruster

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2017-03-06

    NASA Glenn engineer Dr. Peter Peterson prepares a high-power Hall thruster for ground testing in a vacuum chamber that simulates the environment in space. This high-powered solar electric propulsion thruster has been identified as a critical part of NASA’s future deep space exploration plans.

  19. 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.

  20. Ion Thruster and Power Processor Developed for the Deep Space 1 Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sovey, James S.

    1999-01-01

    The NASA Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Applications Readiness (NSTAR) Program has provided a single-string primary propulsion system to NASA's Deep Space 1 spacecraft. This spacecraft will carry about 81 kg of xenon propellant for the ion thruster, which can be throttled down from 2.3 to 0.5 kW as the spacecraft moves away from the Sun. The propellant load will provide about 20 months of propulsion at the one-half power throttle setpoint of 1.2 kW. This mission will validate the 2.5-kW ion propulsion system and will fly by the asteroid 1992 KD in 1999. If funding permits, Deep Space 1 also will encounter comets Wilson-Harrington and Borrelly in 2001. NASA Lewis Research Center's On-Board Propulsion Branch was responsible for the development of the 30-cm-diameter ion thruster, the 2.5-kW power processor unit (PPU), and the Digital Control and Interface Unit (DCIU) that controls the PPU/thruster/feed system and provides data and recovery from fault conditions. Lewis transferred the thruster and PPU technologies to the Hughes Electron Dynamics Division, which was selected to build two sets of flight thrusters, as well as the PPU's and DCIU's. Hughes subcontracted the DCIU development to Spectrum Astro Incorporated. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) was primarily responsible for the NSTAR project management, thruster lifetests, the feed system, diagnostics, and the propulsion subsystem integration. A total of four engineering model thrusters and three breadboard PPU's were built, integrated, and tested. More than 50 development tests were conducted along with thruster design verification tests of 2000 and 1000 hours. In addition, an 8000-hr life demonstration test was successfully completed and demonstrated wear-rates consistent with full-power lifetimes in excess of 12,000 hours.

  1. 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.

  2. Power matching between plasma generation and electrostatic acceleration in helicon electrostatic thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ichihara, D.; Nakagawa, Y.; Uchigashima, A.; Iwakawa, A.; Sasoh, A.; Yamazaki, T.

    2017-10-01

    The effects of a radio-frequency (RF) power on the ion generation and electrostatic acceleration in a helicon electrostatic thruster were investigated with a constant discharge voltage of 300 V using argon as the working gas at a flow rate either of 0.5 Aeq (Ampere equivalent) or 1.0 Aeq. A RF power that was even smaller than a direct-current (DC) discharge power enhanced the ionization of the working gas, thereby both the ion beam current and energy were increased. However, an excessively high RF power input resulted in their saturation, leading to an unfavorable increase in an ionization cost with doubly charged ion production being accompanied. From the tradeoff between the ion production by the RF power and the electrostatic acceleration made by the direct current discharge power, the thrust efficiency has a maximum value at an optimal RF to DC discharge power ratio of 0.6 - 1.0.

  3. Thruster performance and acceleration mechanisms of a quasi-steady MPD arcjet with applied magnetic fields

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sasaki, Masanori; Tahara, Hirokazu; Kagaya, Yoichi; Yoshikawa, Takao

    A quasi-steady magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) arcjet with applied axial magnetic fields has been investigated at high specific impulse levels to improve the thruster performance and to understand the complex acceleration mechanisms with both a self-induced magnetic field and an applied one. Axial-field application was found to achieve higher thrust efficiencies at the same specific impulses and to achieve stable operations at higher specific impulses with less electrode erosion. Furthermore, the measured pressure characteristics near the electrodes and current density patterns showed that the total thrust increased in spite of a decrease in the electromagnetic pumping thrust and the small contribution of Hall acceleration. Thus, additional thrust components due to the axial field were expected to exist.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Lorentz Force Accelerator Technology Investigated

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pencil, Eric J.; LaPointe, Michael R.; Arrington, Lynn A.; Kamhawi, Hani; Benson, Scott W.; Hoskins, W. Andrew

    2004-01-01

    The NASA Glenn Research Center is developing Lorenz force accelerators (LFAs) for a wide variety of space applications. These range from the precision control of formation-flying spacecraft to the primary propulsion system for very high power interplanetary spacecraft. The specific thruster technologies being addressed are pulsed plasma thrusters (PPT) and magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Deflagration plasma thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cheng, D. Y.; Chang, C. N.

    1984-01-01

    This paper introduces the application of the magnetized plasma deflagration process to space propulsion. The deflagration process has the unique capability of efficiently converting input energy into kinetic energy in the accelerating direction. To illustrate the totally divergent characters of 'snowplow' detonation and deflagration discharges, examples of the differences between deflagration and detonation 'snowplow' discharges are expressed in terms of current densities, temperature, and particle velocities. Magnetic field profiles of the deflagration mode of discharges are measured. Typical attainable plasma characteristics are described in terms of velocity, electron temperature, and density, as well as measurement techniques. Specific impulses measured by piezo-electric probe and pendulum methods are presented. The influence of the transmission line in the discharge circuits on plasma velocity is measured by means of a microwave time-of-flight method. The results for the deflagration thruster are compared with other space thrusters. Further research areas are identified.

  15. 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.

  16. High-Power Magnetoplasmadynamic Thruster Being Developed

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    LaPointe, Michael R.

    2001-01-01

    High-power electromagnetic thrusters have been proposed as primary in-space propulsion options for several of the bold new interplanetary and deep space missions envisioned by the Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) Strategic Enterprise. As the lead center for electric propulsion, the NASA Glenn Research Center is actively involved in the design, development, and testing of high-power electromagnetic technologies to meet these demanding mission requirements. One concept of particular interest is the magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster, shown schematically in the preceding figure. In its basic form, the MPD thruster consists of a central cathode surrounded by a concentric cylindrical anode. A high-current arc is struck between the anode and cathode, which ionizes and accelerates a gas (plasma) propellant. In the self-field version of the thruster, an azimuthal magnetic field generated by the current returning through the cathode interacts with the radial discharge current flowing through the plasma to produce an axial electromagnetic body force, providing thrust. In applied field-versions of the thruster, a magnetic field coil surrounding the anode is used to provide additional radial and axial magnetic fields that can help stabilize and accelerate the plasma propellant. The following figure shows an experimental megawatt-class MPD thruster developed at Glenn. The MPD thruster is fitted inside a magnetic field coil, which in turn is mounted on a thrust stand supported by thin metal flexures. A calibrated position transducer is used to determine the force provided by the thruster as a function of thrust stand displacement. Power to the thruster is supplied by a 250-kJ capacitor bank, which provides up to 30- MW to the thruster for a period of 2 msec. This short period of time is sufficient to establish thruster performance similar to steady-state operation, and it allows a number of thruster designs to be quickly and economically evaluated. In concert

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. The MPD arcjet thruster system for Electric Propulsion Experiment onboard Space Flyer Unit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Toki, Kyoichiro; Shimizu, Yukio; Kuriki, Kyoichi; Suzuki, Hiroshi; Kunii, Yoshinori

    The Electric Propulsion Experiment (EPEX) will be tested in the Space Flyer Unit Mission One (SFU-1) as the first space-flown hydrazine MPD arcjet thruster system in the world. The development was continued after the breadboard model system endurance test in 1988 to start the engineering model fabrication/test. Presently the components of EPEX are scheduled to be integrated in a Payload Unit (PLU) box together with two other experiments in order to dedicate them to a system integration test following several environment tests.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Laser Fine-Adjustment Thruster For Space Vehicles

    SciTech Connect

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

    2010-05-06

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Laser-Supported Detonation Concept as a Space Thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Fujiwara, Toshi; Miyasaka, Takeshi

    2004-03-30

    Similar to the concept of pulse detonation engine (PDE), a detonation generated in the 'combustion chamber' due to incoming laser absorption can produce the thrust basically much higher than the one that a laser-supported deflagration wave can provide. Such a laser-supported detonation wave concept has been theoretically studied by the first author for about 20 years in view of its application to space propulsion. The entire work is reviewed in the present paper. The initial condition for laser absorption can be provided by increasing the electron density using electric discharge. Thereafter, once a standing/running detonation wave is formed, the laser absorption can continuously be performed by the classical absorption mechanism called Inverse Bremsstrahlung behind a strong shock wave.

  10. Laser-Supported Detonation Concept as a Space Thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fujiwara, Toshi; Miyasaka, Takeshi

    2004-03-01

    Similar to the concept of pulse detonation engine (PDE), a detonation generated in the ``combustion chamber'' due to incoming laser absorption can produce the thrust basically much higher than the one that a laser-supported deflagration wave can provide. Such a laser-supported detonation wave concept has been theoretically studied by the first author for about 20 years in view of its application to space propulsion. The entire work is reviewed in the present paper. The initial condition for laser absorption can be provided by increasing the electron density using electric discharge. Thereafter, once a standing/running detonation wave is formed, the laser absorption can continuously be performed by the classical absorption mechanism called Inverse Bremsstrahlung behind a strong shock wave.

  11. 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.

  12. Operational characteristics and plasma measurements in cylindrical Hall thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shirasaki, Atsushi; Tahara, Hirokazu

    2007-04-01

    The cylindrical Hall thruster (CHT) is an attractive approach to achieve a long lifetime thruster operation especially in low power space applications. Because of the larger volume-to-surface ratio than conventional coaxial Hall thrusters, the cylindrical Hall thrusters are characterized by a reduced heating of the thruster parts and potential lower erosion. Existing CHTs can feature a short coaxial channel in order to sustain a high ionization in the thruster discharge. A 5.6 cm diameter cylindrical Hall thruster was developed and operated with and without a short coaxial region of the thruster channel, in the power range of 70-300 W. It is shown that the CHT without coaxial region can operate stable and achieve higher thrust efficiency, 22%-32% more than that with a coaxial region. Plasma probe measurements inside the thruster channel and ion energy measurements in the plasma plume suggest that the ionization/acceleration region in the CHT is located near the anode region where a radial magnetic field is stronger.

  13. SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device)

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2011-10-05

    ISS029-E-017480 (5 Oct. 2011) --- Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, Expedition 29 flight engineer, uses the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD) in the Columbus laboratory of the International Space Station.

  14. SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device)

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2011-10-05

    ISS029-E-017474 (5 Oct. 2011) --- Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, Expedition 29 flight engineer, prepares to use the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD) in the Columbus laboratory of the International Space Station.

  15. 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.

  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. 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.

  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. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  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. 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.

  4. Method of constructing dished ion thruster grids to provide hole array spacing compensation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Banks, B. A. (Inventor)

    1976-01-01

    The center-to-center spacings of a photoresist pattern for an array of holes applied to a thin metal sheet are increased by uniformly stretching the thin metal sheet in all directions along the plane of the sheet. The uniform stretching is provided by securely clamping the periphery of the sheet and applying an annular force against the face of the sheet, within the periphery of the sheet and around the photoresist pattern. The technique is used in the construction of ion thruster grid units where the outer or downstream grid is subjected to uniform stretching prior to convex molding. The technique provides alignment of the holes of grid pairs so as to direct the ion beamlets in a direction parallel to the axis of the grid unit and thereby provide optimization of the available thrust.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  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. MPD thruster application study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1981-01-01

    Developmental considerations for the magneto-plasma-dynamic (MPD) thruster are defined. General characteristics of an MPD engine are compared to those of chemical propulsion and ion bombardment engines and performance criteria which are mission specific are examined. Requirements for thruster ground testing facilities are discussed and the utilization of the space shuttle for an orbital flight test is addressed.

  13. 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.

  14. Electron Bombardment Ion Thruster

    NASA Image and Video Library

    1970-08-21

    Researchers at the Lewis Research Center had been studying different methods of electric rocket propulsion since the mid-1950s. Harold Kaufman created the first successful engine, the electron bombardment ion engine, in the early 1960s. Over the ensuing decades Lewis researchers continued to advance the original ion thruster concept. A Space Electric Rocket Test (SERT) spacecraft was launched in June 1964 to test Kaufman’s engine in space. SERT I had one cesium engine and one mercury engine. The suborbital flight was only 50 minutes in duration but proved that the ion engine could operate in space. This was followed in 1966 by the even more successful SERT II, which operated on and off for over ten years. Lewis continued studying increasingly more powerful ion thrusters. These electric engines created and accelerated small particles of propellant material to high exhaust velocities. Electric engines have a very small amount of thrust and are therefore not capable of lifting a spaceship from the surface of the Earth. Once lofted into orbit, however, electric engines are can produce small, continuous streams of thrust for several years.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Development Status of the Helicon Hall Thruster

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2009-09-15

    The Helicon Hall Thruster combines the efficient ionization mechanism of a helicon source with the favorable plasma acceleration properties of a Hall...temperature plasma . The goals of the program are to design, manufacture, and test a thruster that operates efficiently over a range of input power from 3...with the favorable plasma acceleration properties of a Hall thruster . Conventional Hall thrusters rely on direct current electron bombardment to

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Thruster endurance test

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Collett, C.

    1976-01-01

    A test system was built and several short term tests were completed. The test system included, in addition to the 30-cm ion thruster, a console for powering the thruster and monitoring performance, a vacuum facility for simulating a space environment, and a storage and feed system for the thruster propellant. This system was used to perform three short term tests (one 100-hour and two 500-hour tests), an 1108-hour endurance test which was aborted by a vacuum facility failure, and finally the 10,000-hour endurance test. In addition to the two 400 series thrusters which were used in the short term and 1100-hour tests, four more 400 series thrusters were fabricated, checked out, and delivered to NASA. Three consoles similar to the one used in the test program were also fabricated and delivered.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Modeling the Hall Thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Fisch, N.J.; Fruchtman, A.

    1998-08-01

    The acceleration of the plasma in the Hall thruster to supersonic velocities is examined by the use of a steady state model. Flows that are smooth across the sonic transition plane are found. The possibility of generating flows in which the acceleration across the sonic plane is abrupt, is also studied.

  13. 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.

  14. 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; hide

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. High-Isp Mode Of Pulsed Laser-Electromagnetic Hybrid Accelerator For Space Propulsion Applications

    SciTech Connect

    Horisawa, Hideyuki; Kishida, Yoshiaki; Funaki, Ikkoh

    2010-10-08

    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 mass shot and impulse bit. As results, significantly high specific impulses up to 7,200 sec were obtained at the charge energies of 8.6 J. In addition, typical thrust efficiency varied between 11.8% and 21.3% depending on the charge energy.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Achievable space elevators for space transportation and starship acceleration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pearson, Jerome

    1990-01-01

    Space elevator concepts for low-cost space launches are reviewed. Previous concepts suffered from requirements for ultra-high-strength materials, dynamically unstable systems, or from danger of collision with space debris. The use of magnetic grain streams solves these problems. Magnetic grain streams can support short space elevators for lifting payloads cheaply into Earth orbit, overcoming the material strength problem in building space elevators. Alternatively, the stream could support an international spaceport circling the Earth daily tens of miles above the equator, accessible to advanced aircraft. Mars could be equipped with a similar grain stream, using material from its moons Phobos and Deimos. Grain-stream arcs about the sun could be used for fast launches to the outer planets and for accelerating starships to near lightspeed for interstellar reconnaisance. Grain streams are essentially impervious to collisions, and could reduce the cost of space transportation by an order of magnitude.

  10. Testing Done for Lorentz Force Accelerators and Electrodeless Propulsion Technology Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pencil, Eric J.; Gilland, James H.; Arrington, Lynn A.; Kamhawi, Hani

    2004-01-01

    The NASA Glenn Research Center is developing Lorentz force accelerators and electrodeless plasma propulsion for a wide variety of space applications. These applications range from precision control of formation-flying spacecraft to primary propulsion for very high power interplanetary spacecraft. The specific thruster technologies being addressed are pulsed plasma thrusters, magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters, and helicon-electron cyclotron resonance acceleration thrusters. The pulsed plasma thruster mounted on the Earth Observing-1 spacecraft was operated successfully in orbit in 2002. 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. Recent on-orbit operations have focused on extended operations to add flight operation time to the total accumulated thruster life. The results of the experiments pave the way for electric propulsion applications on future Earth-imaging satellites.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Ion Thruster Support and Positioning System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haag, Thomas W. (Inventor)

    1996-01-01

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device) payload

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2009-06-29

    ISS020-E-015513 (29 June 2009) --- European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne, Expedition 20 flight engineer, works with the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD) in the Columbus laboratory of the International Space Station.

  11. SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device) payload

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2009-06-29

    ISS020-E-015509 (29 June 2009) --- Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk, Expedition 20 flight engineer, works with the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD) in the Columbus laboratory of the International Space Station.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Initial Experiments of a New Permanent Magnet Helicon Thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sheehan, J. P.; Longmier, Benjamin

    2013-09-01

    A new design for a permanent magnet helicon thruster is presented. Its small plasma volume (~10 cm-3) and low power requirements (<100 W) make it ideal for propelling nanosatellites (<10 kg). The magnetic field reached a maximum of 500 G in the throat of a converging-diverging nozzle and decreased to 0.5 G, the strength of earth's magnetic field, within 50 cm allowing the entire exhaust plume to develop in the vacuum chamber without being affected by the chamber walls. Low gas flow rates (~4 sccm) and high pumping speeds (~10,000 l/s) were used to more closely approximate the conditions of space. A parametric study of the thruster operational parameters was performed to determine its capabilities as both a thruster and as a plasma source for magnetic nozzle experiments. The plasma density, electron temperature, and plasma potential were measured in the plume to characterize the ion acceleration mechanism.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  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. 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.

  6. 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).

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Steady-state permanent magnet MPD thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Arakawa, Y.; Sasoh, A.

    1987-01-01

    A steady-state MPD arc thruster with permanent magnets has been made. The effect of the permanent magnets on thruster performance and the plasma acceleration mechanism was examined through measurements of thrust, chamber pressure, current densities, and plasma properties in the exhaust plume. Experimental results show that the use of the permanent magnets is desirable in steady-state MPD thrusters of the greater than 10 kW power range. 7 references.

  11. Pulsed Plasma Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Dr. Tom Markusic, a propulsion research engineer at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), adjusts a diagnostic laser while a pulsed plasma thruster (PPT) fires in a vacuum chamber in the background. NASA/MSFC's Propulsion Research Center (PRC) is presently investigating plasma propulsion for potential use on future nuclear-powered spacecraft missions, such as human exploration of Mars.

  12. 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

  13. Acceleration and focusing of plasma flows

    SciTech Connect

    Griswold, Martin Elias

    2013-06-01

    The acceleration of flowing plasmas is a fundamental problem that is useful in a wide variety of technological applications. We consider the problem from the perspective of plasma propulsion. Gridded ion thrusters and Hall thrusters are the most commonly used devices to create flowing plasma for space propulsion, but both suffer from fundamental limitations. Gridded ion sources create good quality beams in terms of energy spread and spatial divergence, but the Child-Langmuir law in the non-neutral acceleration region limits the maximum achievable current density. Hall thrusters avoid this limitation by accelerating ions in quasi-neutral plasma but, as a result, produce plumes with high spatial divergence and large energy spread. In addition the more complicated magnetized plasma in the Hall Thruster produces oscillations that can reduce the efficiency of the thruster by increasing electron transport to the anode. We present investigations of three techniques to address the fundamental limitations on the performance of each thruster. First, we propose a method to increase the time-averaged current density (and thus thrust density) produced by a gridded ion source above the Child-Langmuir limit by introducing time-varying boundary conditions. Next, we use an electrostatic plasma lens to focus the Hall thruster plume, and finally we develop a technique to suppress a prominent oscillation that degrades the performance of Hall thrusters. The technique to loosen the constraints on current density from gridded ion thrusters actually applies much more broadly to any space charge limited flow. We investigate the technique with a numerical simulation and by proving a theoretical upper bound. While we ultimately conclude that the approach is not suitable for space propulsion, our results proved useful in another area, providing a benchmark for research into the spontaneously time-dependent current that arises in microdiodes. Next, we experimentally demonstrate a novel

  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. 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 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Anode Fall As Relevant to Plasma Thrusters.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1997-06-01

    behavior of an electrothermal arcjet thruster was investigated. Researchers found that without significant mass flow-rate applied, the arcjet ...acceleration is achieved through the interaction of coulombic fields with charged propellant particles, 2) electrothermal , where propellant heated...force with highly ionized gases (plasma). Of the types of electric propulsive thrusters available, electrothermal devices include the resistojet and

  2. 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.

  3. 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%.

  4. 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

  5. Accelerating video carving from unallocated space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kalva, Hari; Parikh, Anish; Srinivasan, Avinash

    2013-03-01

    Video carving has become an essential tool in digital forensics. Video carving enables recovery of deleted video files from hard disks. Processing data to extract videos is a computationally intensive task. In this paper we present two methods to accelerate video carving: a method to accelerate fragment extraction, and a method to accelerate combining of these fragments into video segments. Simulation results show that complexity of video fragment extraction can be reduced by as much as 75% with minimal impact on the videos recovered.

  6. Electrodeless plasma thrusters for spacecraft: A review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bathgate, S. N.; Bilek, M. M. M.; McKenzie, D. R.

    2017-08-01

    The physics of electrodeless electric thrusters that use directed plasma to propel spacecraft without employing electrodes subject to plasma erosion is reviewed. Electrodeless plasma thrusters are potentially more durable than presently deployed thrusters that use electrodes such as gridded ion, Hall thrusters, arcjets and resistojets. Like other plasma thrusters, electrodeless thrusters have the advantage of reduced fuel mass compared to chemical thrusters that produce the same thrust. The status of electrodeless plasma thrusters that could be used in communications satellites and in spacecraft for interplanetary missions is examined. Electrodeless thrusters under development or planned for deployment include devices that use a rotating magnetic field; devices that use a rotating electric field; pulsed inductive devices that exploit the Lorentz force on an induced current loop in a plasma; devices that use radiofrequency fields to heat plasmas and have magnetic nozzles to accelerate the hot plasma and other devices that exploit the Lorentz force. Using metrics of specific impulse and thrust efficiency, we find that the most promising designs are those that use Lorentz forces directly to expel plasma and those that use magnetic nozzles to accelerate plasma.

  7. Electrodeless plasma thrusters for spacecraft: a review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    S, N. BATHGATE; M, M. M. BILEK; D, R. MCKENZIE

    2017-08-01

    The physics of electrodeless electric thrusters that use directed plasma to propel spacecraft without employing electrodes subject to plasma erosion is reviewed. Electrodeless plasma thrusters are potentially more durable than presently deployed thrusters that use electrodes such as gridded ion, Hall thrusters, arcjets and resistojets. Like other plasma thrusters, electrodeless thrusters have the advantage of reduced fuel mass compared to chemical thrusters that produce the same thrust. The status of electrodeless plasma thrusters that could be used in communications satellites and in spacecraft for interplanetary missions is examined. Electrodeless thrusters under development or planned for deployment include devices that use a rotating magnetic field; devices that use a rotating electric field; pulsed inductive devices that exploit the Lorentz force on an induced current loop in a plasma; devices that use radiofrequency fields to heat plasmas and have magnetic nozzles to accelerate the hot plasma and other devices that exploit the Lorentz force. Using metrics of specific impulse and thrust efficiency, we find that the most promising designs are those that use Lorentz forces directly to expel plasma and those that use magnetic nozzles to accelerate plasma.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. MPD thruster technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Myers, Roger M.

    1992-01-01

    The topics are presented in viewgraph form and include the following: in house program elements; performance measurements; applied-field magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster performance scaling; MPD thruster technology; thermal efficiency scaling; anode fall voltage measurements; anode power deposition studies; MPD thruster plasma modeling; MPD thruster lifetime studies; and MPD thruster performance studies.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Sensitivity Testing of the NSTAR Ion Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sengupta, Anita; Anderson, John; Brophy, John

    2007-01-01

    During the Extended Life Test of the DS1 flight spare ion thruster, the engine was subjected to sensitvity testing in order to characterize the macroscopic dependence of discharge chamber sensitivity to a +\\-3% vatiation in main flow, cathode flow and beam current, and to +\\5% variation in beam and accelerator voltage, was determined for the minimum- (THO), half- (TH8) and full power (TH15) throttle levels. For each power level investigared, 16 high/low operating conditions were chosen to vary the flows, beam current, and grid voltages in in a matrix that mapped out the entire parameter space. The matrix of data generated was used to determine the partial derivative or senitivity of the dependent parameters--discharge voltage, discharge current, discharge loss, double-to-single-ion current ratio, and neutralizer-keeper voltage--to the variation in the independent parameters--main flow, cathode flow, beam current, and beam voltage. The sensititivities of each dependent parameter with respect to each independent parameter were determined using a least-square fit routine. Variation in these sensitivities with thruster runtime was recorded over the duration of the ELT, to detemine if discharge performance changed with thruster wear. Several key findings have been ascertained from the sensitivity testing. Discharge operation is most sensitve to changes in cathode flow and to a lesser degree main flow. The data also confirms that for the NSTAR configuration plasma production is limited by primary electron input due to the fixed neutral population. Key sensitivities along with their change with thruster wear (operating time) will be presented. In addition double ion content measurements with an ExB probe will also be presented to illustrate beam ion production and content sensitivity to the discharge chamber operating parameteres.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Presentation on a Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chase, Theodore L.

    1990-01-01

    The primary objective of the Space Acceleration Measurement Systems (SAMS) project is to provide an acceleration measurement system capable of serving a wide variety of space experiments. The design of the system being developed under this project takes into consideration requirements for experiments located in the middeck, in the orbiter bay, and in Spacelab. In addition to measuring, conditioning, and recording accelerations, the system will be capable of performing complex calculations and interactive control. The main components consist of a remote triaxial optical storage device. In operation, the triaxial sensor head produces output signals in response to acceleration inputs. These signals are preamplified, filtered and converted into digital data which is then transferred to optical memory. The system design is modular, facilitating both software and hardware upgrading as technology advances. Two complete acceleration measurement flight systems will be build and tested under this project.

  20. NASA 30 Cm Ion Thruster Development Status

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, Michael J.; Haag, Thomas W.; Rawlin, Vincent K.; Kussmaul, Michael T.

    1995-01-01

    A 30 cm diameter xenon ion thruster is under development at NASA to provide an ion propulsion option for missions of national interest and it is an element of the NASA Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Applications Readiness (NSTAR) program established to validate ion propulsion for space flight applications. The thruster has been developed to an engineering model level and it incorporates innovations in design, materials, and fabrication techniques compared to those employed to conventional ion thrusters. The performance of both functional and engineering model thrusters has been assessed including thrust stand measurements, over an input power range of 0.5-2.3 kW. Attributes of the engineering model thruster include an overall mass of 6.4 kg, and an efficiency of 65 percent and thrust of 93 mN at 2.3 kW input power. This paper discusses the design, performance, and lifetime expectations of the functional and engineering model thrusters under development at NASA.

  1. Shuttle RCS primary thruster injector flow visualization

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wells, Dennis L.

    1988-01-01

    An image-transmitting fiber-optics scope with a dry gas purge of the optics head has been used to visually evaluate the condition of surplus thrusters in the Space Shuttle's Reaction Control System; it was subsequently applied to flight thrusters. The technique uses water for flow visualization, and obviates thruster disassembly. The innovative use of gas purging of a fiber-optics head allows the unobstructed and distortion-free viewing of the flow streams, and testing has shown the technique to be ideally suited to injector flow assessments following thruster exposure to extensive contamination.

  2. Plasma thruster development program at the IRS

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Auweter-Kurtz, M.

    1992-08-01

    The current status of the plasma thruster development program at the Institute of Space Systems (IRS) of the University of Stuttgart is reviewed. Continuously running MPD thrusters up to the megawatt level are currently under development. The objective of this work at IRS is to identify and avoid critical regimes of operation and predict the performance of high-power MPD thrusters. The development program for thermal arcjets is more flight oriented. The discussion includes a description of the IRS facilities and highlights of the MPD thruster and thermal arcjet development programs.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Multi-Stage Plasma Thruster.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1987-06-01

    thrnste.r. is derived in Appendix C and indicates scaling of ablation-fed plasma thrusters with endo- or exo- thermic fuel slabs. IV.l. ACCELERATION OF... insulator to initiate ablation for mass-addition. PI, e15 mass (and a means of initiating current flow in the second-stage). The kinetic energy of the PPT...mechanism establishing the discharge distribution. With proper insulation , acceleration of the plasma will cease slightly beyond the end of the rails and

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Determination of Longitudinal Phase Space in SLAC Main Accelerator Beams

    SciTech Connect

    Barnes, C.; Decker, F.-J.; Emma, P.; Hogan, M.J.; Iverson, R.; Krejcik, P.; O'Connell, C.L.; Siemann, R.; Walz, D.; Clayton, C.E.; Huang, C.; Johnson, D.K.; Joshi, C.; Lu, W.; Marsh, K.A.; Deng, S.; Katsouleas, T.; Muggli, P.; Oz, E.; /Southern California U.

    2005-06-07

    In the E164 Experiment at that Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), we drive plasma wakes for electron acceleration using 28.5 GeV bunches from the main accelerator. These bunches can now be made with an RMS length of 12 microns, and accurate direct measurement of their lengths is not feasible shot by shot. Instead, we use an indirect technique, measuring the energy spectrum at the end of the linac and comparing with detailed simulations of the entire machine. We simulate with LiTrack, a 2D particle tracking code developed at SLAC. Understanding the longitudinal profile allows a better understanding of acceleration in the plasma wake, as well as investigation of related effects. We discuss the method and validation of our phase space determinations.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Development of ion thruster IT-500

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koroteev, Anatoly S.; Lovtsov, Alexander S.; Muravlev, Vyacheslav A.; Selivanov, Mikhail Y.; Shagayda, Andrey A.

    2017-05-01

    A high-power ion thruster IT-500 was designed, manufactured and tested at Keldysh Research Center within a transport-power module project. This module is being designed to perform near-Earth space and interplanetary transport missions. In its nominal operation mode, IT-500 provides thrust in the range from 375 to 750 mN at specific impulse of 70 000 m/s and thrust efficiency of 0.75. Due to a high cost of the experimental testing of a large thruster, the emphasis was placed on the numerical optimization of the thruster design. The thruster completed performance tests and a 300 h wear test. The output characteristics of the thruster, obtained during the tests, confirmed the correctness of the provisional numerical optimization. IT-500 design, performance, and validation of the design approaches are discussed in this paper. Contribution to the Topical Issue: "Physics of Ion Beam Sources", edited by Holger Kersten and Horst Neumann.

  3. 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).

  4. Disturbance Reduction System Thrusters Stabilize LISA Pathfinder

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2015-12-03

    The LISA Pathfinder spacecraft is on its way to space, having successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana Dec. 3, 2015. On board is the state-of-the-art Disturbance Reduction System DRS, a thruster technology developed at NASA JPL.

  5. 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.

  6. The use of particle accelerators for space projects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Virtanen, Ari

    2006-05-01

    With the introduction of CMOS technology radiation effects in components became an important issue in satellite and space mission projects. At the end of the cold war, the market of radiation hard (RadHard) components crashed and during the 90's their fabrication practically stopped. The use of ''commercial-off-the-shelf'' (COTS) components became more common but required increased evaluation activities at radiation test sites. Component manufacturers and space project engineers were directed towards these test sites, in particular, towards particle accelerators. Many accelerator laboratories developed special beam lines and constructed dedicated test areas for component evaluations. The space environment was simulated at these test sites and components were tested to levels often exceeding mission requirements. In general, space projects environments were predicted in respects to particle mass and energy distributions with the expected fluxes and fluences. In order to validate this information in tests, concepts like stopping power, linear energy transfer, ion penetration ranges etc. have to be understood. The knowledge from the component structure also defines the way of irradiation. For example, the higher ion energies resulting in much deeper ion penetration ranges allow successful reverse side irradiation of thinned Integrated Circuits (ICs). So overall increased demands for radiation testing attracted the European Space Agency (ESA) to the JYFL-accelerator laboratory of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. A contract was signed between ESA and JYFL for the development of a ''High Penetrating Heavy Ion Test Site'' [1]. Following one year development, this test site was commissioned in May 2005. This paper addresses the various issues around the JYFL laboratory with its accelerator and radiation effects facility as the focal point in service of component evaluations for the space community.

  7. 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.

  8. Pulsed Plasma Thruster Technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1996-01-01

    The continuing emphasis on reducing costs and downsizing spacecraft is forcing increased emphasis on reducing the subsystem mass and integration costs. For many commercial, scientific, and Department of Defense space missions, onboard propulsion is either the predominant spacecraft mass or it limits the spacecraft lifetime. Electromagnetic-pulsed-plasma thrusters (PPT's) offer the combined benefits of extremely low average electric power requirements (1 to 150 W), high specific impulse (approx. 1000 sec), and system simplicity derived from the use of an inert solid propellant. Potential applications range from orbit insertion and maintenance of small satellites to attitude control for large geostationary communications satellites.

  9. Modeling arcjet space thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rhodes, Robert; Keefer, Dennis

    1991-01-01

    The UTSI arcjet model is used to compare the performance of a hydrogen and an ammonia arcjet in the same configuration and at the same electrical power. The predicted specific impulse is 50 percent higher for the hydrogen propellant. Numerical studies made of the effect of transport properties on the performance of a hydrogen arcjet indicate that diffusive transport is very significant even in the supersonic part of the flow, and that relatively small changes in transport properties can have a significant effect on performance. These studies also show that nonequilibrium recombination chemistry can have a large effect on the transport coefficients. This leads to the conclusion that finite rate chemical calculations are necessary if accurate arcjet performance is to be calculated.

  10. Kinetic Analysis of Pasma Transport in a Hall Effect Thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Batishchev, O.; Martinez-Sanchez, M.

    2002-01-01

    Peculiarities of the plasma transport and oscillation phenomena in the Xe-gas discharge of the SPT and TAL Hall effect thruster were subject of many theoretical-numerical and experimental studies [1-4]. Despite this fact, the origin of a so-called anomalous transport is not understood to this date. As a result, in the theoretical and numerical models [5-6] researches assume ad-hoc cross-field diffusion coefficients, which may differ by several times from the classical Bohm result. To study the transport phenomenon we develop a specialized kinetic model. Our model is 2-dimensional in space (for axial and azimuthal directions), but 3-dimensional in velocity. A similar geometry was adopted in references [1,3]. However, we try to push the simulation to the realistic scale (several centimeters), while keeping the minimum spatial resolution on the order of the local Debye length. New transport results will be compared to the results from the 2D3V axisymmetrical model [6], which is a further development of the fully kinetic model for plasma and neutral gas [5]. The PIC [7] code is applied to the realistic SPT thruster geometry. We add new elementary plasma-chemistry reaction and modify boundary conditions to capture self-consistent dynamics of high ionization states of xenon atoms. It is hoped that the numerical results will provide a better understanding of the anomalous transport in a Hall effect thruster due to the collective modes, and shed light on the nature of the experimentally observed high-frequency oscillations. [1] M.Hirakawa and Y.Arakawa, Particle simulation of plasma phenomena in Hall thrusters, IEPC-95-164 technical paper, 1995. [2] V. I. Baranov et al, "New Conceptions of Oscillation Mechanisms in the Accelerator with Closed Drift of Electrons". IEPC-95-44, 24thInternational Electric Propulsion Conference, Moscow, 1995. [3] M.Hirakawa, Electron transport mechanism in a Hall thruster, IEPC-97-021 technical paper, 1997. [4] N.B.Meerzan, W.A.Hargus, M

  11. 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

  12. Performance of the NASA 30 cm Ion Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, Michael J.; Haag, Thomas W.; Hovan, Scot A.

    1993-01-01

    A 30 cm diameter xenon ion thruster is under development at NASA to provide an ion propulsion option for missions of national interest, and is being proposed for use on the USAF/TRW Space Surveillance, Tracking and Autonomous Repositioning (SSTAR) platform to validate ion propulsion. The thruster incorporates innovations in design, materials, and fabrication techniques compared to those employed in conventional ion thrusters. Specific development efforts include thruster design optimizations, component life testing and validation, vibration testing, and performance characterizations. Under this test program, the ion thruster will be brought to engineering model development status. This paper discusses the performance and power throttling test data for the NASA 30 cm diameter xenon ion thruster over an input power envelope of 0.7 to 4.9 kW, and corresponding thruster lifetime expectations.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Late time solution for interacting scalar in accelerating spaces

    SciTech Connect

    Prokopec, Tomislav

    2015-11-01

    We consider stochastic inflation in an interacting scalar field in spatially homogeneous accelerating space-times with a constant principal slow roll parameter ε. We show that, if the scalar potential is scale invariant (which is the case when scalar contains quartic self-interaction and couples non-minimally to gravity), the late-time solution on accelerating FLRW spaces can be described by a probability distribution function (PDF) ρ which is a function of φ/H only, where φ=φ( x-vector ) is the scalar field and H=H(t) denotes the Hubble parameter. We give explicit late-time solutions for ρarrow ρ{sub ∞}(φ/H), and thereby find the order ε corrections to the Starobinsky-Yokoyama result. This PDF can then be used to calculate e.g. various n-point functions of the (self-interacting) scalar field, which are valid at late times in arbitrary accelerating space-times with ε= constant.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. SERT II 1980 extended flight thruster experiments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kerslake, W. R.; Ignaczak, L. R.

    1981-01-01

    The flight results obtained from mid 1979 through December 1980 are presented. Near continuous solar power in 1979 and 1980 has enabled long periods of thruster endurance testing. Three of four propellant tanks were exhausted with no significant change in thruster system operation before being empty. A new plasma mode thrust was characterized and direct thrust measurements obtained. Other tests, including beam neutralization by various neutralizer sources, give insight to electron conduction across plasmas in space and provide a basis to model neutralization of thruster arrays.

  1. 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.

  2. Ion thruster project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Perche, G. E.

    1984-01-01

    The mercury bombardment electrostatic ion thruster is the most successful electric thruster available today. A 5 cm diameter ion thruster with 3,000 specific impulse and 5mN thrust is described. The advantages of electric propulsion and the tests that will be performed are also presented.

  3. 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

  4. Conducting wall Hall thrusters in magnetic shielding and standard configurations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grimaud, Lou; Mazouffre, Stéphane

    2017-07-01

    Traditional Hall thrusters are fitted with boron nitride dielectric discharge channels that confine the plasma discharge. Wall properties have significant effects on the performances and stability of the thrusters. In magnetically shielded thrusters, interactions between the plasma and the walls are greatly reduced, and the potential drop responsible for ion acceleration is situated outside the channel. This opens the way to the utilization of alternative materials for the discharge channel. In this work, graphite walls are compared to BN-SiO2 walls in the 200 W magnetically shielded ISCT200-MS and the unshielded ISCT200-US Hall thrusters. The magnetically shielded thruster shows no significant change in the discharge current mean value and oscillations, while the unshielded thruster's discharge current increases by 25% and becomes noticeably less stable. The electric field profile is also investigated through laser spectroscopy, and no significant difference is recorded between the ceramic and graphite cases for the shielded thruster. The unshielded thruster, on the other hand, has its acceleration region shifted 15% of the channel length downstream. Lastly, the plume profile is measured with planar probes fitted with guard rings. Once again the material wall has little influence on the plume characteristics in the shielded thruster, while the unshielded one is significantly affected.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Ion thruster with a combination keeper electrode and electron baffle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pawlik, E. V.; Fitzgerald, D. J. (Inventor)

    1973-01-01

    An ion thruster is described in which the cathode front end, surrounded by our insulator, is mounted flush with the front end of the flanged portion of the cathode pole piece. The thruster's baffle positioned in front of the cathode's front end supports the thruster's keeper electrode which is space apart and directed to the cathode's open end. The baffle is at the keeper's electrode potential.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Accelerating space-charge gratings in wide-bandgap semiconductors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sokolov, Igor; Bryushinin, Mikhail

    2017-06-01

    The excitation of the non-steady-state photoelectromotive force and two-wave mixing signals is theoretically investigated for the case of uniformly accelerated motion of the recording light pattern. Such illumination is usually created by the linear frequency modulation of the interfering light beams. For the both effects we predict the pulsed response arising at the moments, when the velocities of the interference pattern and space-charge wave coincide. The application of the effects in laser Doppler velocimeters and accelerometers is discussed.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. The Impact of Harness Impedance on Hall Thruster Discharge Oscillations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pinero, Luis R.

    2017-01-01

    Hall thrusters exhibit characteristic discharge voltage and current oscillations during steady-state operation. The lower frequency breathing-mode current oscillations are inherent to each thruster and could impact thruster operation and power processing unit (PPU) design. The design of the discharge output filter, in particular, the output capacitor is important because it supplies the high peak current oscillations that the thruster demands. However, space-rated, high-voltage capacitors are not readily available and can have significant mass and volume. So, it is important for a PPU designer to know what is the minimum amount of capacitance required to operate a thruster. Through Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis modeling and electrical measurements on the Hall Effect Rocket with Magnetic Shielding thruster, it was shown that the harness impedance between the power supply and the thruster is the main contributor towards generating voltage ripple at the thruster. Also, increasing the size of the discharge filter capacitor, as previously implemented during thruster tests, does not reduce the voltage oscillations. The electrical characteristics of the electrical harness between the discharge supply and the thruster is crucial to system performance and could have a negative impact on performance, life and operation.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. High-Power Helicon Double Gun Thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murakami, Nao

    While chemical propulsion is necessary to launch a spacecraft from a planetary surface into space, electric propulsion has the potential to provide significant cost savings for the orbital transfer of payloads between planets. Due to extended wave particle interactions, a plasma thruster that can operate in the 100 kW to several MW power regime can only be attained by increasing the size of the thruster, or by using an array of plasma thrusters. The High-Power Helicon (HPH) Double Gun thruster experiment examines whether firing two helicon thrusters in parallel produces an exhaust velocity higher than the exhaust velocity of a single thruster. The scaling law that relates the downstream plasma velocity with the number of helicon antennae is derived, and compared with the experimental result. In conjunction with data analysis, two digital filtering algorithms are developed to filter out the noise from helicon antennae. The scaling law states that the downstream plasma velocity is proportional to square root of the number of helicon antennae, which is in agreement with the experimental result.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Optimization of the Performance of Cylindrical Hall Thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smirnov, Artem; Raitses, Yevgeny; Fisch, Nathaniel J.

    2006-10-01

    Cylindrical Hall thrusters have lower surface-to-volume ratio than conventional (annular) design Hall thrusters and, thus, seem to be more promising for scaling down. We present the results of the performance study of the cylindrical Hall thrusters with channel outer diameters of 2.6 cm and 3 cm. The effect of the magnetic field distribution and segmented electrodes on the thruster discharge characteristics and efficiency is investigated. The experimental results demonstrate a substantial flexibility in the thruster magnetic field configuration, which is a key tool in achieving the high-efficiency operation. The electron confinement and ion acceleration can be optimized over a family of realizable magnetic field distributions. Y. Raitses and N.J. Fisch, Phys. Plasmas 8, 2579 (2001). Artem Smirnov, invited talk, this conference.

  11. Design and utilization of a top hat analyzer for Hall thruster plume diagnostics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Victor, Allen Leoraj

    Electric propulsion offers new capabilities for ambitious space missions of the future. However, coating, uneven heating, and the charging of spacecraft components have impeded the integration of Hall thrusters for space missions and encouraged plume diagnostics of the thruster plasma environment. Plume diagnostics are also important for the inference of thruster performance through plume properties downstream of the engine. While the top hat analyzer has been available for low-density space plasma diagnostics for over twenty years, the use of this instrument for plasma thruster plume diagnostics has been nonexistent. This thesis describes the development of a new diagnostics tool, the Top Hat Electric Propulsion Plume Analyzer (TOPAZ), which provides unprecedented insight into the physical mechanisms that govern the performance of Hall thrusters. Novel measurements conducted by TOPAZ on the BHT-600 Hall thruster cluster yielded interesting and undocumented phenomena in the far-field plume. SIMION, a commercial ion optics program, was used to design TOPAZ and estimate the energy and angular resolutions as well as the instrument's sensitivity and plate-voltage relationships. TOPAZ was experimentally characterized through an ion beam facility operating on air, xenon, and krypton gases. Measurements on the BHT-600 cluster indicated lower-energy ions emanated from positions closer to the cathode while higher-energy ions were measured from along the discharge channel centerlines. Low-energy ions were also measured from behind the cathodes only during cluster operation. Charge-exchange and ionization outside the primary acceleration region are believed to be the cause of the variance in the energy distributions. Cross pollination of the cathode plume with the opposite thruster is argued to create low-energy ions which emanate from behind the cathode. Time-of-flight measurements through TOPAZ allowed for charge-state and species fraction discriminations as functions of

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Microwave processes in the SPD-ATON stationary plasma thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Kirdyashev, K. P.

    2016-09-15

    Results of experimental studies of microwave processes accompanying plasma acceleration in the SPD-ATON stationary plasma thruster are presented. Specific features of the generation of microwave oscillations in both the acceleration channel and the plasma flow outgoing from the thruster are analyzed on the basis of local measurements of the spectra of the plasma wave fields. Mechanisms for generation of microwave oscillations are considered with allowance for the inhomogeneity of the electron density and magnetic field behind the edge of the acceleration channel. The effect of microwave oscillations on the electron transport and the formation of the discharge current in the acceleration channel is discussed.

  17. 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.

  18. Liquid-Metal-Fed Pulsed Plasma Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Markusic, Thomas

    2004-01-01

    A short document proposes liquid-metal-fed pulsed plasma thrusters for small spacecraft. The propellant liquid for such a thruster would be a low-melting-temperature metal that would be stored molten in an unpressurized, heated reservoir and would be pumped to the thruster by a magnetohydrodynamic coupler. The liquid would enter the thruster via a metal tube inside an electrically insulating ceramic tube. A capacitor would be connected between the outlet of the metal tube and the outer electrode of the thruster. The pumping would cause a drop of liquid to form at the outlet, eventually growing large enough to make contact with the outer electrode. Contact would close the circuit through the capacitor, causing the capacitor to discharge through the drop. The capacitor would have been charged with enough energy that the discharge would vaporize, ionize, and electromagnetically accelerate the contents of the metal drop. The resulting plasma would be ejected at a speed of about 50 km/s. The vaporization of the drop would reopen the circuit through the capacitor, enabling recharging of the capacitor. As pumping continued, a new drop would grow and the process would repeat.

  19. Tutorial: Physics and modeling of Hall thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boeuf, Jean-Pierre

    2017-01-01

    Hall thrusters are very efficient and competitive electric propulsion devices for satellites and are currently in use in a number of telecommunications and government spacecraft. Their power spans from 100 W to 20 kW, with thrust between a few mN and 1 N and specific impulse values between 1000 and 3000 s. The basic idea of Hall thrusters consists in generating a large local electric field in a plasma by using a transverse magnetic field to reduce the electron conductivity. This electric field can extract positive ions from the plasma and accelerate them to high velocity without extracting grids, providing the thrust. These principles are simple in appearance but the physics of Hall thrusters is very intricate and non-linear because of the complex electron transport across the magnetic field and its coupling with the electric field and the neutral atom density. This paper describes the basic physics of Hall thrusters and gives a (non-exhaustive) summary of the research efforts that have been devoted to the modelling and understanding of these devices in the last 20 years. Although the predictive capabilities of the models are still not sufficient for a full computer aided design of Hall thrusters, significant progress has been made in the qualitative and quantitative understanding of these devices.

  20. Evaluation of a steady state MPD thruster test facility

    SciTech Connect

    Reed, C.B.; Carlson, L.W.; Herman, H.; Doss, E.D.; Kilgore, O.

    1985-01-01

    The successful development of multimegawatt MPD thrusters depends, to a great extent, on testing them under steady state high altitude space conditions. Steady state testing is required to provide thermal characteristics, life cycle, erosion, and other essential data. the major technical obstacle for ground testing of MPD thrusters in a space simulation facility is the inability of state-of-the-art vacuum systems to handle the tremendous pumping speeds required for multimegawatt MPD thrusters. This is true for other types of electric propulsion devices as well. This paper discusses the results of the first phase of an evaluation of steady state MPD thruster test facilities. The first phase addresses the conceptual design of vacuum systems required to support multimegawatt MPD thruster testing. Three advanced pumping system concepts were evaluated and are presented here.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cannat, F.; Lafleur, T.; Jarrige, J.; Chabert, P.; Elias, P.-Q.; Packan, D.

    2015-05-01

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Phase space analysis of the accelerating multifluid Universe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Odintsov, S. D.; Oikonomou, V. K.; Tretyakov, Petr V.

    2017-08-01

    We study in detail the phase space of a Friedmann-Robertson-Walker universe filled with various cosmological fluids that may or may not interact. We use various expressions for the equation of state, and we analyze the physical significance of the resulting fixed points. In addition, we discuss the effects of the stability or an instability of some fixed points. Moreover, we study an interesting phenomenological scenario for which there is an oscillating interaction between the dark energy and dark matter fluid. As we demonstrate, in the context of the model we use, at early times the interaction is negligible, and it starts to grow as the cosmic time approaches the late-time era. Also the cosmological dynamical system is split into two distinct dynamical systems that have two distinct de Sitter fixed points, with the early-time de Sitter point being unstable. This framework gives an explicit example of the unification of the early-time with late-time acceleration. Finally, we discuss in some detail the physical interpretation of the various models we present in this work.

  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. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1992-07-01

    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. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Wear Testing of the HERMeS Thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, George J.; Gilland, James H.; Peterson, Peter Y.; Kamhawi, Hani; Huang, Wensheng; Ahern, Drew W.; 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 Rendezvous and Redirect Mission (ARRM). This thruster is advancing the state of the art of hall-effect thrusters (HETs) and is intended to serve as a precursor to higher power systems for human interplanetary exploration. The HERMeS Thruster Demonstration Unit One (TDU-1) has entered a 2000-hour wear test campaign at NASA GRC and has completed the first three of four test segments totaling 728 hours of operation. This is the first test of a NASA-designed magnetically shielded thruster to extend beyond 300 hours of continuous operation.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Characteristics of the LeRC/Hughes J-series 30-cm engineering model thruster

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Collett, C. R.; Poeschel, R. L.; Kami, S.

    1981-01-01

    As a consequence of endurance and structural tests performed on 900-series engineering model thrusters (EMT), several modifications in design were found to be necessary for achieving performance goals. The modified thruster is known as the J-series EMT. The most important of the design modifications affect the accelerator grid, gimbal mount, cathode polepiece, and wiring harness. The paper discusses the design modifications incorporated, the condition(s) they corrected, and the characteristics of the modified thruster.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. A concept of ferroelectric microparticle propulsion thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Yarmolich, D.; Vekselman, V.; Krasik, Ya. E.

    2008-02-25

    A space propulsion concept using charged ferroelectric microparticles as a propellant is suggested. The measured ferroelectric plasma source thrust, produced mainly by microparticles emission, reaches {approx}9x10{sup -4} N. The obtained trajectories of microparticles demonstrate that the majority of the microparticles are positively charged, which permits further improvement of the thruster.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Plasma Thruster Development.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1987-07-01

    type MPD thrusters, which are in ef- f tect nybr ids of pure MPD and thermal arcjets , cylindrical thrusters are predominantly MPD devices. Further, the...temperature . pressure . Mach number • magnetic field . current density distribution within the channel . electrothermal thrust. aw% v" - 98 - Electromagnetic...Quasi-steady Op- eration in a Pulsed MPD Arcjet . AIAA Journal, Vol. 11, No. 2, p. 133, 1973 [121 Mdcker, H.: Plasmastr6mungen in Lichtb6gen infolge

  12. 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.

  13. Ion thruster design and analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kami, S.; Schnelker, D. E.

    1976-01-01

    Questions concerning the mechanical design of a thruster are considered, taking into account differences in the design of an 8-cm and a 30-cm model. The components of a thruster include the thruster shell assembly, the ion extraction electrode assembly, the cathode isolator vaporizer assembly, the neutralizer isolator vaporizer assembly, ground screen and mask, and the main isolator vaporizer assembly. Attention is given to the materials used in thruster fabrication, the advanced manufacturing methods used, details of thruster performance, an evaluation of thruster life, structural and thermal design considerations, and questions of reliability and quality assurance.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. Inline screw feeding vacuum arc thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kronhaus, Igal; Laterza, Matteo; Maor, Yonatan

    2017-04-01

    A new type of micropropulsion device for nanosatellite applications is presented—the inline-screw-feeding vacuum-arc thruster (ISF-VAT). This thruster couples a conventional "triggerless" ignition geometry with a feeding mechanism that maintains a steady state discharge performance. The feeding mechanism implements a screw action on a central cathode rod. At a predetermined rate, a complete and uniform erosion of the cathodes tip is obtained as well as "healing" of the insulator coating. The inline feeding of the cathode forces the arc to emerge on the tip of the cathode, flush with the exit plane of the anode. This enables the plasma plume to efficiently accelerate away from the thruster, eliminating the need for an additional ion acceleration stage. The ISF-VAT feeding mechanism is computer controlled and offers reliable operation of the thruster over a large number of pulses. Characterization of the ISF-VAT performance is presented, conducted on an experimental prototype in the Aerospace Plasma Laboratory, Technion. Measurement results of the mass flow rate, electrical parameters of the discharge, and thrust are presented. Using a Ti cathode at a discharge power of 3 W, a mass flow rate of ≈1.8 ×10-9 kg/s and a thrust level ≈ 7 μN were measured. More than 106 pulses were demonstrated in a single run, accumulating a total impulse of 0.2 Ns. The thruster prototype dimensions are 15 × 15 × 65 mm3 and are ≈ 60 g in mass.

  19. Inline screw feeding vacuum arc thruster.

    PubMed

    Kronhaus, Igal; Laterza, Matteo; Maor, Yonatan

    2017-04-01

    A new type of micropropulsion device for nanosatellite applications is presented-the inline-screw-feeding vacuum-arc thruster (ISF-VAT). This thruster couples a conventional "triggerless" ignition geometry with a feeding mechanism that maintains a steady state discharge performance. The feeding mechanism implements a screw action on a central cathode rod. At a predetermined rate, a complete and uniform erosion of the cathodes tip is obtained as well as "healing" of the insulator coating. The inline feeding of the cathode forces the arc to emerge on the tip of the cathode, flush with the exit plane of the anode. This enables the plasma plume to efficiently accelerate away from the thruster, eliminating the need for an additional ion acceleration stage. The ISF-VAT feeding mechanism is computer controlled and offers reliable operation of the thruster over a large number of pulses. Characterization of the ISF-VAT performance is presented, conducted on an experimental prototype in the Aerospace Plasma Laboratory, Technion. Measurement results of the mass flow rate, electrical parameters of the discharge, and thrust are presented. Using a Ti cathode at a discharge power of 3 W, a mass flow rate of ≈1.8×10(-9) kg/s and a thrust level ≈ 7 μN were measured. More than 10(6) pulses were demonstrated in a single run, accumulating a total impulse of 0.2 Ns. The thruster prototype dimensions are 15 × 15 × 65 mm(3) and are ≈ 60 g in mass.

  20. 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.

  1. Electrothermal-electromagnetic hybrid thruster research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kelly, A. J.; Jahn, R. G.; Myers, R.

    1987-01-01

    The energy deposition and acceleration mechanisms in the electrothermal-electromagnetic hybrid regime of coaxial plasma thruster operation are examined both theoretically and experimentally. Theoretical results show that the major trade-offs in the hybrid regime are between efficiency and specific impulse: increasing the influence of electromagnetic forces increases I(sp), but within the operating range examined, decreases the efficiency. Experiments conducted in the predominantly electromagnetic regime agree with the predictions. Anode power deposition is the dominant loss process.

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. 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.

  5. Derated ion thruster development status

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, Michael J.; Haag, Thomas W.; Williams, George J., Jr.

    1993-01-01

    A 30 cm diameter xenon ion thruster is under development at NASA to provide an ion propulsion option for auxiliary and primary propulsion on missions of national interest. Specific efforts include thruster design optimizations, component life testing and validation, vibration testing, and performance characterizations. Under this program, the ion thruster will be brought to engineering model development status. The activities and preliminary test results to develop a 30 cm engineering model thruster are discussed.

  6. 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.

  7. Energy deposition in low power coaxial plasma thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Myers, Roger Metcalf

    The energy deposition in steady-state, low power, coaxial plasma thrusters operated between 10 and 30 kW with argon and nitrogen propellants was studied experimentally and analytically. The major energy sinks were found to be electrode losses (primarily anode), propellant ionization, and thrust. Performance measurements showed the efficiency and specific impulse to vary between two and ten percent and 500 and 1200 seconds, respectively, as functions of thruster current level, propellant flow rate, and thruster geometry. Thrust was found to increase quadratically with current, in agreement with theoretical models of self-field electromagnetic thrusters. Spectroscopic studies of the plasma exhaust with argon propellant showed it to consist primarily of singly and doubly ionized argon, with an electron temperature between 1.2 and 1.7 eV and electron densities between 2 x 10 (exp 13) cu cm and 5 x 10 (exp 13) cu cm. Floating potential measurements showed the anode fall voltage to be between 65 and 95 percent of the total thruster voltage depending on thruster geometry, propellant, and current level. Non-intrusive cathode surface temperature and erosion measurements revealed that the cathode energy balance was governed by electron cooling, surface radiation and conduction through the cathode base. Comparisons of these new results with data from megawatt class, quasi-steady magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters revealed similarities between the plasma properties and acceleration mechanisms of the devices, but showed they have dramatically different anode power fractions. Attempts to increase thruster efficiency by decreasing the chamber radius were not successful, indicating that major changes in thruster design and/or power level will be required to achieve high efficiency, high specific impulse operation.

  8. Operational compatibility of 30-centimeter-diameter ion thruster with integrally regulated solar array power source

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gooder, S. T.

    1977-01-01

    System tests were performed in which Integrally Regulated Solar Arrays (IRSA's) were used to directly power the beam and accelerator loads of a 30-cm-diameter, electron bombardment, mercury ion thruster. The remaining thruster loads were supplied from conventional power-processing circuits. This combination of IRSA's and conventional circuits formed a hybrid power processor. Thruster performance was evaluated at 3/4- and 1-A beam currents with both the IRSA-hybrid and conventional power processors and was found to be identical for both systems. Power processing is significantly more efficient with the hybrid system. System dynamics and IRSA response to thruster arcs are also examined.

  9. Hollow cathode and thruster discharge chamber plasma measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jameson, Kristina K.; Goebel, Dan M.; Watkins, Ron M.

    2005-01-01

    Due to the successful performance of the NSTAR ion thruster in Deep Space 1 mission, coupled with the recently completed 30,352 hour extended life test (ELT) of the NSTAR flight spare thruster, ion thrusters have become a viable option for future NASA missions. In this paper, detailed measurements of the plasma parameters internal and external to the cathode will presented for the NSTAR cathode up to 13.1A of discharge current and for the NEXIS cathode up to 30A of discharge current.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Magnetohydrodynamic MACH Code Used to Simulate Magnetoplasmadynamic Thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mikellides, Pavlos G.; LaPointe, Michael R.

    2002-01-01

    The On-Board Propulsion program at the NASA Glenn Research Center is utilizing a state of-the-art numerical simulation to model the performance of high-power electromagnetic plasma thrusters. Such thrusters are envisioned for use in lunar and Mars cargo transport, piloted interplanetary expeditions, and deep-space robotic exploration of the solar system. The experimental portion of this program is described in reference 1. This article describes the numerical modeling program used to guide the experimental research. The synergistic use of numerical simulations and experimental research has spurred the rapid advancement of high-power thruster technologies for a variety of bold new NASA missions. From its inception as a U.S. Department of Defense code in the mid-1980's, the Multiblock Arbitrary Coordinate Hydromagnetic (MACH) simulation tool has been used by the plasma physics community to model a diverse range of plasma problems--including plasma opening switches, inertial confinement fusion concepts, compact toroid formation and acceleration, z-pinch implosion physics, laser-target interactions, and a variety of plasma thrusters. The MACH2 code used at Glenn is a time-dependent, two-dimensional, axisymmetric, multimaterial code with a multiblock structure. MACH3, a more recent three-dimensional version of the code, is currently undergoing beta tests. The MACH computational mesh moves in an arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) fashion that allows the simulation of diffusive-dominated and dispersive-dominated problems, and the mesh can be refined via a variety of adaptive schemes to capture regions of varying characteristic scale. The mass continuity and momentum equations model a compressible viscous fluid, and three energy equations are used to simulate nonthermal equilibrium between electrons, ions, and the radiation field. Magnetic fields are modeled by an induction equation that includes resistive diffusion, the Hall effect, and a thermal source for magnetic

  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. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Global model of an iodine gridded plasma thruster

    SciTech Connect

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

    2016-03-15

    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.

  4. 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.

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

    DOE PAGES

    Jeon, Dong -O

    2016-01-12

    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 4σ = 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 highmore » intensity linear accelerators are rare as opposed to the multitude of simulation studies. This paper presents an experimental evidence of the space charge driven 4σ ¼ 360° resonance and the 2σx(y) – 2σz = 0 resonance of a high intensity linear accelerator through beam profile measurements from multiple wire-scanners. Moreover, measured beam profiles agree well with the characteristics of the space charge driven 4σ = 360° resonance and the 2σx(y) – 2σz = 0 resonance that are predicted by the simulation.« less

  6. 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.

  7. Colloid thruster technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Perel, J.

    1971-01-01

    A program is described for attaining control, reproducibility, and predictability of operation for the annular colloid emitter. A thruster of an improved design was used for a 1000 hour test. The thruster was operated with a neutralizer for 1023 hours at 15 kV with an average thrust of 25 micropound and specific impulse of 1160 sec. The performance was stable, and the beam was vectored periodically. The clean condition of the emitter edge at the end of the test coupled with no degradation in performance during the test indicated that the lifetime could be extrapolated by at least an order of magnitude over the test time.

  8. 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.

  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. 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.

  11. Scaling laws for electromagnetic pulsed plasma thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ziemer, J. K.; Choueiri, E. Y.

    2001-08-01

    The scaling laws of pulsed plasma thrusters operating in the predominantly electromagnetic acceleration mode (EM-PPT) are investigated theoretically and experimentally using gas-fed pulsed plasma thrusters. A fundamental characteristic velocity that depends on the inductance per unit length and the square root of the capacitance to the initial inductance ratio is identified. An analytical model of the discharge current predicts scaling laws in which the propulsive efficiency is proportional to the EM-PPT performance scaling number, defined here as the ratio of the exhaust velocity to the EM-PPT characteristic velocity. The importance of the effective plasma resistance in improving the propulsive performance is shown. To test the validity of the predicted scaling relations, the performance of two gas-fed pulsed plasma thruster designs (one with coaxial electrodes and the other with parallel-plate electrodes), was measured under 70 different operating conditions using an argon plasma. The measurements demonstrate that the impulse bit scales linearly with the integral of the square of the discharge current as expected for an electromagnetic accelerator. The measured performance scaling is shown to be in good agreement with the theoretically predicted scaling. Normalizing the exhaust velocity and the impulse-to-energy ratio by the EM-PPT characteristic velocity collapses almost all the measured data onto single curves that uphold the general validity of these scaling laws. [12pt]This paper is dedicated to the memory of Dr Daniel Birx

  12. 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.

  13. Exact spacecraft detumbling and reorientation maneuvers with gimbaled thrusters and reaction wheels

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1985-01-01

    The equations of rotational motion for a spacecraft equipped with external jets and internal reaction wheels are shown to be feedback-equivalent to those of a linear system in attitude parameter space. Reorientation maneuvers are thereby formulated as linear optimal control problems with least mean square acceleration in attitude parameter space, solved in closed form and implementable either with internal or external torque commands, the choice depending on power and throttling requirements. For prior detumbling, an alternative solution with least mean square torque by angular momentum feedback is also given, that is implementable with gimbaled pairs of thrusters at constant throttle. Such a detumbling maneuver may then be followed by an acceleration-commanded rest-to-rest maneuver by means of the reaction wheels.

  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. Investigation of physical processes in CAMILA Hall thruster using electrical probes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kronhaus, Igal; Kapulkin, Alexander; Balabanov, Vladimir; Rubanovich, Maksim; Guelman, Moshe; Natan, Benveniste

    2012-05-01

    The CAMILA (co-axial magneto-isolated longitudinal anode) concept was developed to improve the anode efficiency in low-power Hall thrusters. Previous measurements, performed in Asher Space Research Institute, have shown that the thruster has the highest efficiency for its class. This paper presents an analysis of the discharge structure in an effort to improve understanding of the physical processes in CAMILA type thrusters. Internal measurements of the discharge parameters were performed using an emissive probe, a biased probe and a Faraday cup. The probes were mounted on a positioning system capable of mapping the channel in two dimensions. Maps for the plasma potential, the ion current density and the electron temperature were obtained. In addition, a one-dimensional fluid model was developed in order to compute the distribution of the plasma density and the ion velocity. The experimental investigations confirmed the basic assumptions used in the physical model of the CAMILA concept and revealed phenomena related to the radial non-uniformity of the discharge. In particular, focusing equipotentials were discovered in the area of intense ionization, reducing ion loss to the walls of the channel. This mechanism is principal in obtaining the high efficiency of the thruster. When operated with strengthened longitudinal magnetic field, the plasma density inside the anode cavity was significantly higher in the middle than near the anodes. The fraction of ion current generated inside the anode cavity was greater than in the simplified case, 19% compared with 13% respectively. In addition, it was shown that electrons in the cusp region, the region between predominately radial to predominately axial magnetic fields, were not well confined, however, no potential hump is created and ions are able to cross this region to the acceleration channel.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Monopropellant Thruster Development Using a Family of Micro Reactors

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2017-02-17

    Scharfe Gerald Gabrang In- Space Propulsion Branch AFRL/RQRS 2Distribution A: Approved for Public Release; Distribution Unlimited. PA# 17061. Outline...The Air Force Research Lab • Monopropellants for In- Space Propulsion • Near-Term Monopropellant Thruster Challenges • Supporting Test Requirements... Space , and Cyber Responsibilities. - Materiel Command: conducts research, development, testing and evaluation, and provides the acquisition and life

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Acceleration Term at ASL FRING as a Tool to Improve Space VLBI Sensitivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kogan, L.; Likhachev, S.; Girin, I.; Ladygin, V.

    2009-08-01

    Astro Space Locator (ASL) a new postcorrelation software has been created recently in Astro Space Center (ASC), Russia. This software is created specifically for space VLBI project such as Radioastron and VSOP. The delay for the ground based VLBI traditionally comprised of two terms: initial delay and its rate of change in time. For space VLBI, taking into account the third term (acceleration) can be required because the satellite orbit may not be known with such a high accuracy as rotation of the Earth. The ASL software solves for all three parameters: delay, fringe rate, and acceleration. In this paper we test this algorithm and demonstrate the advantage of taking into account the acceleration term.

  6. 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.

  7. Shock drift acceleration. [of charged particles in interstellar space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Armstrong, Thomas P.; Pesses, Mark E.; Decker, Robert B.

    1985-01-01

    This is a review of the fundamental physics of the interactions of charged particles treated individually while they interact with fast mode magnetohydrodynamic shocks. Numerical simulation and analytical theory are used to develop predictions of the expected characteristics of this process strong upstream anisotropies directed along the magnetic field and downstream anisotropies tending to be peaked more perpendicular to the field; relatively more of the enhancement of higher-energy particles occurring upstream; sensitive dependence on shock normal to magnetic field angle of the efficiency of energization. Observations which display all of the above characteristics are reviewed. Also discussed is the relationship of shock drift acceleration to the models for stochastic transport of charged particles in the vicinity of shocks. Extensions of this work in both the observational and theoretical approaches are discussed.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Ion behavior in low-power magnetically shielded and unshielded Hall thrusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grimaud, L.; Mazouffre, S.

    2017-05-01

    Magnetically shielded Hall thrusters achieve a longer lifespan than traditional Hall thrusters by reducing wall erosion. The lower erosion rate is attributed to a reduction of the high energy ion population impacting the walls. To investigate this phenomenon, the ion velocity distribution functions are measured with laser induced fluorescence at several points of interest in the magnetically shielded ISCT200-MS and the unshielded ISCT200-US Hall thrusters. The center of the discharge channel is probed to highlight the difference in plasma positioning between the shielded and unshielded thrusters. Erosion phenomena are investigated by taking measurements of the ion velocity distribution near the inner and outer wall as well as above the magnetic poles where some erosion is observed. The resulting distribution functions show a displacement of the acceleration region from inside the channel in the unshielded thruster to downstream of the exit plane in the ISCT200-MS. Near the walls, the unshielded thruster displays both a higher relative ion density as well as a significant fraction of the ions with velocities toward the walls compared to the shielded thruster. Higher proportions of high velocity ions are also observed. Those results are in accordance with the reduced erosion observed. Both shielded and unshielded thrusters have large populations of ions impacting the magnetic poles. The mechanism through which those ions are accelerated toward the magnetic poles has so far not been explained.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Thruster sealing system and apparatus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Svejkovsky, Paul A.

    1992-11-01

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators: SEPAC - SEPAC program for First Spacelab Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Obayashi, T.

    The Space Shuttle/Spacelab Mission Space Experiment with Particle Accelerators (SEPAC) will carry out interactive experiments on, and in, the earth ionosphere and magnetosphere, and comprises an electron beam accelerator, MPD arcjet, and associated diagnostic equipment. The mission Payload Specialist will be responsible for (1) manual control of scientific instruments, (2) monitoring of experiment displays, (3) restructuring of experiment sequence by means of display system keyboard, (4) safety and emergency operations, and (5) voice communications. Attention is given to the configurational and sequential organization of the SEPAC experiments.

  15. 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.

  16. Electric Propulsion Electronics And Thrusters As A Satellite Subsystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gollor, Matthais

    2011-10-01

    The integration of electrical thrusters with an electronic into a subsystem and with this establishing an integrated design providing full function and performance is critical task. It starts with the proper specification of the electrical interfaces between thrusters and electronics, including a proper definition of the thrusters as an electric load. Furthermore the use of high voltage needs specific knowledge in design and is increasing the subsystem complexity due to obsolesce of suitable disconnect-able harness and of redundancy switching means. EMC is rising to a couple of questions, i.e. about possible interference of magnetic field emission with the satellites attitude control system or about the thruster plasma affecting RF transmission of communication links. End-to-end testing of the propulsion subsystem is limited as it is not possible to run the thruster together with the spacecraft in a vacuum facility. Therefore testing of the subsystem has to be "sliced": typically, the thruster is first characterized with the aid of lab power supplies and is later tested coupled with the "space" electronics. Finally system checkout on satellite level is performed with the using simulators.

  17. 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.

  18. 5200 cycle 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 1300 hours 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 is concluded that on-off cyclic operation by itself does not appreciably degrade starting capability or performance of the 8-cm EMT.

  19. An approach to the parametric design of ion thrusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilbur, Paul J.; Beattie, John R.; Hyman, Jay, Jr.

    1988-01-01

    A methodology that can be used to determine which of several physical constraints can limit ion thruster power and thrust, under various design and operating conditions, is presented. The methodology is exercised to demonstrate typical limitations imposed by grid system span-to-gap ratio, intragrid electric field, discharge chamber power per unit beam area, screen grid lifetime and accelerator grid lifetime constraints. Limitations on power and thrust for a thruster defined by typical discharge chamber and grid system parameters when it is operated at maximum thrust-to-power are discussed.

  20. 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.

  1. Fundamental Experiments on Glycerin Propellant Laser Thruster

    SciTech Connect

    Nakano, Masakatsu; Fujita, Kazuhisa; Uchida, Shigeaki; Bato, Masafumi; Niino, Masayuki

    2004-03-30

    Impulse generation experiments of a liquid propellant laser thruster were conducted using glycerin propellants in the energy range of 60 mJ {approx} 60 J. Momentum coupling coefficients and specific impulses were obtained from momentum impulse and propellant mass measurements. The maximum specific impulse was 18 s at the laser beam energy of 55 J. Experimental data were scaled in terms of the laser beam energy and the diameter of the glycerin droplet to extrapolate laser thruster performance. The results indicate that the diameter of the glycerin droplet must be less than 0.24 mm in these experiments to achieve specific impulse more than 1,000 s that will be required to compete with other space propulsion systems.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Simulation of double stage hall thruster with double-peaked magnetic field

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ding, Yongjie; Li, Peng; Sun, Hezhi; Wei, Liqiu; Xu, Yu; Peng, Wuji; Su, Hongbo; Li, Hong; Yu, Daren

    2017-07-01

    This study adopts double permanent magnetic rings and four permanent magnetic rings to form two symmetrical magnetic peaks and two asymmetrical magnetic peaks in the channel of a Hall thruster, and uses a 2D-3V PIC-MCC model to analyze the influence of magnetic strength on the discharge characteristic and performance of Hall thrusters with an intermediate electrode and double-peaked magnetic field. As opposed to the two symmetrical magnetic peaks formed by double permanent magnetic rings, increasing the magnetic peak value deep within the channel can cause propellant ionization to occur; with the increase in the magnetic peak deep in the channel, the propellant utilization, thrust, and anode efficiency of the thruster are significantly improved. Double-peaked magnetic field can realize separate control of ionization and acceleration in a Hall thruster, and provide technical means for further improving thruster performance. Contribution to the Topical Issue "Physics of Ion Beam Sources", edited by Holger Kersten and Horst Neumann.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  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. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation of a miniature plasma source for a microwave discharge ion thruster

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takao, Yoshinori; Koizumi, Hiroyuki; Komurasaki, Kimiya; Eriguchi, Koji; Ono, Kouichi

    2014-12-01

    We have developed a three-dimensional particle model for a miniature microwave discharge ion thruster to elucidate the mechanism of ECR discharges confined in a small space. The model consists of a particle-in-cell simulation with a Monte Carlo collision algorithm (PIC-MCC) for the kinetics of charged particles, a finite-difference time-domain method for the electromagnetic fields of 4.2 GHz microwaves, and a finite element analysis for the magnetostatic fields of permanent magnets. The PIC-MCC results have shown that the electrons are well confined owing to the mirror magnetic fields and can be effectively heated in the ECR layer downstream of a ring-shaped antenna. The confinement results in the ring-shaped profiles of the plasma density along the antenna. The visual appearance of the plasma discharge of the thruster in operation was also ring-shaped. Moreover, the ions are expected to be accelerated effectively through the grid electrode without a large loss of ions toward side walls, that is, the plasma source developed here would be desirable in ion thrusters.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2012-12-15

    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.

  20. 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,

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Accelerated simulation study of space charge effects in quadrupole ion traps using GPU techniques.

    PubMed

    Xiong, Xingchuang; Xu, Wei; Fang, Xiang; Deng, Yulin; Ouyang, Zheng

    2012-10-01

    Space charge effects play important roles in the performance of various types of mass analyzers. Simulation of space charge effects is often limited by the computation capability. In this study, we evaluate the method of using graphics processing unit (GPU) to accelerate ion trajectory simulation. Simulation using GPU has been compared with multi-core central processing unit (CPU), and an acceleration of about 390 times have been obtained using a single computer for simulation of up to 10(5) ions in quadrupole ion traps. Characteristics of trapped ions can be investigated at detailed levels within a reasonable simulation time. Space charge effects on the trapping capacities of linear and 3D ion traps, ion cloud shapes, ion motion frequency shift, mass spectrum peak coalescence effects between two ion clouds of close m/z are studied with the ion trajectory simulation using GPU.

  8. Accelerated Simulation Study of Space Charge Effects in Quadrupole Ion Traps Using GPU Techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xiong, Xingchuang; Xu, Wei; Fang, Xiang; Deng, Yulin; Ouyang, Zheng

    2012-10-01

    Space charge effects play important roles in the performance of various types of mass analyzers. Simulation of space charge effects is often limited by the computation capability. In this study, we evaluate the method of using graphics processing unit (GPU) to accelerate ion trajectory simulation. Simulation using GPU has been compared with multi-core central processing unit (CPU), and an acceleration of about 390 times have been obtained using a single computer for simulation of up to 105 ions in quadrupole ion traps. Characteristics of trapped ions can be investigated at detailed levels within a reasonable simulation time. Space charge effects on the trapping capacities of linear and 3D ion traps, ion cloud shapes, ion motion frequency shift, mass spectrum peak coalescence effects between two ion clouds of close m/z are studied with the ion trajectory simulation using GPU.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 15 cm cusped magnetic field mercury ion thruster research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beattie, J. R.; Wilbur, P. J.

    1975-01-01

    The importance of achieving a uniform current density in the exhaust beam of an electrostatic ion thruster is discussed in terms of thrust level and accelerator grid lifetime. A neutral residence time approach is used to propose a magnetic field geometry which should produce a highly uniform beam current density. The discharge chamber length to diameter ratio is shown to be an important optimization parameter and experimental evaluation of the cusped field thruster over a wide range of this parameter is presented. Beam profile measurements 5 cm downstream of the accelerator grid indicate a beam profile flatness parameter which is 25% greater than the SERT II value. Flatness parameters extrapolated to the plane of the accelerator grid are demonstrated to be as high as 0.9.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.