Summary of the 2012 Inductive Pulsed Plasma Thruster Development and Testing Program
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- Inductive pulsed plasma thrusters are spacecraft propulsion devices in which energy is capacitively stored and then discharged through an inductive coil. While these devices have shown promise for operation at high efficiency on a range of propellants, many technical issues remain before they can be used in flight applications. A conical theta-pinch thruster geometry was fabricated and tested to investigate potential improvements in propellant utilization relative to more common, flat-plate planar coil designs. A capacitor charging system is used to permit repetitive discharging of thrusters at multiple cycles per second, with successful testing accomplished at a repetition-rate of 5 Hz at power levels of 0.9, 1.6, and 2.5 kW. The conical theta-pinch thruster geometry was tested at cone angles of 20deg, 38deg, and 60deg, with single-pulse operation at 500 J/pulse and repetitionrate operation with the 38deg model quantified through direct thrust measurement using a hanging pendulum thrust stand. A long-lifetime valve was designed and fabricated, and initial testing was performed to measure the valve response and quantify the leak rate at beginning-of-life. Subscale design and testing of a capacitor charging system required for operation on a spacecraft is reported, providing insights into the types of components needed in the circuit topology employed. On a spacecraft, this system would accept as input a lower voltage from the spacecraft DC bus and boost the output to the high voltage required to charge the capacitors of the thruster.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20140002426., M-1364., and NASA/TP-2013-217488.
- Copyright, Distribution as joint owner in the copyright.
View MARC record | catkey: 15439348