Plume Characteristics of the Busek 600 W Hall Thruster
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB EDWARDS AFB CA PROPULSION DIRECTORATE
Pagination or Media Count:
To better characterize the potential impacts of the operation of a Busek Company, Inc. BHT-HD-600 laboratory Hall thruster on spacecraft, a number of plume properties have been measured. These include current density using a Faraday probe, ion energy distribution using a retarding potential analyzer, and ion species fractions using an E x B probe. The BHT-HD-600 Hall thruster is a nominally 600 W xenon Hall thruster developed by Busek Co. Inc. for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. Plume characterization of Hall thrusters is required to fully understand the impacts of thruster operation on spacecraft. Much of these plume data are vital inputs for numerical models that can then be applied to estimate the effect of the energetic plume on complex spacecraft geometries. Early measurement of plume properties, such as plume divergence, ion energy distribution, and species fractions, aids the timely transfer of Hall thruster technology to the user. The plumes ion beam was characterized by measurement of ion current density radial profiles, ion energy spectra and ion species fraction distributions. Measurements were recorded at or- 90 degrees off thruster centerline at 60 cm from the discharge. It was determined slight variations in anode potential and mass-flow produced a measurable effect on ion current density and plume divergence, experimentally showing an increase or decrease of or- 15-20. Ionic energy spectra demonstrated both inelastic and elastic scattering within the plume. The measurements reveal significant populations of multiply-charged ions in the plume. E x B probe measurements show surprisingly ion species fraction angle dependence.
- Combustion and Ignition
- Electric and Ion Propulsion
- Unmanned Spacecraft