Preliminary thrust characterization of a T5 hollow cathode

Grubisic, A.N. and Gabriel, S.B (2007) Preliminary thrust characterization of a T5 hollow cathode. In, 43rd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit, Cincinnati, Ohio, 08 - 11 Jul 2007. USA, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics16pp.


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Previous testing of conventional T6 hollow cathodes has shown performance sufficient to consider displacing dual chemical/ion thruster propulsion systems with a common hollow cathode thruster (HCT)/ion thruster system. Future design optimization requires a detailed understanding of the influence of terminal parameters on all thrust generation mechanisms. As the next step in this process, this paper presents a preliminary thrust characterization of the T5 hollow cathode with argon using a pendulum thrust balance as a laser optical lever with a position sensitive photo-detector. Influence of terminal parameters such as geometry, flow rate and discharge current are discussed with respect to thrust parameters. This work identifies the possibility of using a T5 HCT as part of an all-electric propulsion system for the proposed European Student Moon Orbiter (ESMO). The all-electric spacecraft presents significant mass savings over conventional configurations while the preferable electrical characteristics of the hollow cathode discharge also make standalone thruster a candidate for micro satellite applications.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Related URLs:
Keywords: Hollow cathode, micro thruster, electric propulsion, plasma, ion
Subjects: T Technology > TP Chemical technology
Q Science > QB Astronomy
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Engineering Sciences > Astronautics
ePrint ID: 48315
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
8 June 2007Submitted
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2007
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:24

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