Hollow cathode thrusters for all-electric spacecraft

Grubisic, A.N. and Gabriel, S.B. (2007) Hollow cathode thrusters for all-electric spacecraft. In, 58th International Astronautical Federation Congress, Hyderabad, India, 24 - 28 Sep 2007. London, UK, Acta Astronautica15pp.


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This paper characterizes thrust performance of a variant of the T6 hollow cathode modified for improved operational characteristics. The device displays promising performance and highlights the potential for application as a microthruster. The T6 cathode is able to produce specific impulse of over 1050s with xenon and argon; however the dominant acceleration mechanism at low flow rates is shown to be almost entirely electromagnetic effectively constituting a low power, magneto-plasma-dynamic thruster. The modified cathode also displayed very low discharge voltages ~12V and stable operation while carrying currents as high as 30-Amps on flow rates of less than 0.1mgs-1 down to 0.04mgs-1 with xenon. This investigation also highlights the importance of electrode geometry in hollow cathode thruster design and indeed in all other applications of hollow cathode where flow rates should be minimized

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Related URLs:
Keywords: hollow cathode, micro thruster, electric propulsion, plasma, ion
Subjects: U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Engineering Sciences > Astronautics
ePrint ID: 72463
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
24 September 2007Published
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2010
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:04
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/72463

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