Mercury ion thruster technology
- Matossian, J. N.
- Mar 1, 1989.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Additional Creators:
- Beattie, J. R.
- hdl.handle.net , Connect to this object online.
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- 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.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19890012463.
Accession ID: 89N21834.
- No Copyright.
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