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- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- For more than 30 years, NASA has conducted an ion propulsion program which has resulted in several experimental space flight demonstrations and the development of many supporting technologies. Technologies appropriate for geosynchronous stationkeeping, earth-orbit transfer missions, and interplanetary missions are defined and evaluated. The status of critical ion propulsion system elements is reviewed. Electron bombardment ion thrusters for primary propulsion have evolved to operate on xenon in the 5 to 10 kW power range. Thruster efficiencies of 0.7 and specific impulse values of 4000 s were documented. The baseline thruster currently under development by NASA LeRC includes ring-cusp magnetic field plasma containment and dished two-grid ion optics. Based on past experience and demonstrated simplifications, power processors for these thrusters should have approximately 500 parts, a mass of 40 kg, and an efficiency near 0.94. Thrust vector control, via individual thruster gimbals, is a mature technology. High pressure, gaseous xenon propellant storage and control schemes, using flight qualified hardware, result in propellant tankage fractions between 0.1 and 0.2. In-space and ground integration testing has demonstrated that ion propulsion systems can be successfully integrated with their host spacecraft. Ion propulsion system technologies are mature and can significantly enhance and/or enable a variety of missions in the nation's space propulsion program.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19910002485.
Accession ID: 91N11798.
AIAA PAPER 90-2527.
International Electric Propulsion Conference; 18-20 Jul. 1990; Orlando, FL; United States.
- No Copyright.
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