A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE PERFORMANCE CAPABILITIES OF VARIOUS TYPES OF ELECTROSTATIC PROPULSION ENGINES
BROWN ENGINEERING CO INC HUNTSVILLE AL RESEARCH LABS
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The operating characteristics of three types of atomic ion engines and three types of colloidal ion engines are evaluated. The major theoretical factors which will limit payload capacity are brought out for each type of engine. Total propulsion system masses for the production of ten pounds of thrust for 2,000 hours and for 10,000 hours of engine operation are compared. Examination of the payload capacities of the various engines for several lunar and planetary missions shows that the colloidal ion engines have a superior payload capacity for lunar missions and may be competitive with atomic ion engines for planetary missions. The specific mass of the power supply system is shown to be a much more dominant factor in determining the payload capacities of the atomic ion engines than for the colloidal ion engines.
- Electric and Ion Propulsion