Studies of Microdischarge Plasma Thrusters for Nanosatellite Propulsion
Final technical rept. 1 Feb 2006-30 Nov 2008
TEXAS UNIV AT AUSTIN
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The objective of this project is the development and study of a new class of propulsion device call the Micro discharge Plasma Thruster MPT. The MPT thruster is intended for small satellite propulsion and is expected to have several advantages over competing small satellite propulsion devices, such as cold gas micro thrusters, MEMS fabricated resist jets, microPPT, FEEP devices, and miniaturized version of Hall thrusters and Ion thrusters. The primary advantages of the MPT being operation with a variety of propellant gases noble and molecular gases, very small dimensions, and low voltage 100s V direct-current operation. A number of diagnostics have been implemented including an ion beam probe, and emission spectroscopy to determine the physical and chemical state of the micro plasma and the plume from the MPT device. We have also identified and discussed the problem of erosion in the device. Details of the experimental are given in the next section. In the computational work we have made significant progress in developing an entire suite of tools to provide high-fidelity computations of the MPT thruster. A self-consistent, multi-species, multi-temperature model for the MPT discharge and a model for the low-Reynolds number, high-Mach number compressible flow through the MPT have been developed and coupled together.
- Electric and Ion Propulsion
- Unmanned Spacecraft