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Performance and lifetime testing of a pulsed plasma thruster for Cubesat applications

Performance and lifetime testing of a pulsed plasma thruster for Cubesat applications
Performance and lifetime testing of a pulsed plasma thruster for Cubesat applications
This paper describes the design and testing of the engineering model of a pulsed plasma thruster for Cubesat applications (PPTCUP-EM). It has been developed by Mars Space Ltd, Clyde Space Ltd and the University of Southampton with the main aim of increasing the in-orbit lifetime of Cubesats by providing drag compensation. Nevertheless, this thruster can be also utilized to perform formation flying, small orbit changes and Cubesat end of life deorbiting. A test campaign has been carried out to prove that the thruster and the conditioning electronics lifetimes are long enough to utilize all the propellant stored on-board. From the results of the test, the PPTCUP-EM can deliver a total impulse of 42.9±3.9 N s in about 1,125,000 shots. Moreover during the test campaign, a total of more than 1,800,000 shots have been achieved providing a safety factor of about 60% with respect to the number of required shots. The results gathered, including a preliminary characterization of the electromagnetic noise generated by the unit, are presented and show that the overall thruster performance is not influenced by the thruster aging.
electrical propulsion, pulsed plasma thruster, cubesat
1270-9638
291-298
Ciaralli, Simone
dd15fc8e-4a50-43f6-9cbf-0a87d025b5f6
Coletti, MIchele
2b74d4a0-0afd-4d17-aff6-70b27b531151
Gabriel, Stephen
ac76976d-74fd-40a0-808d-c9f68a38f259
Ciaralli, Simone
dd15fc8e-4a50-43f6-9cbf-0a87d025b5f6
Coletti, MIchele
2b74d4a0-0afd-4d17-aff6-70b27b531151
Gabriel, Stephen
ac76976d-74fd-40a0-808d-c9f68a38f259

Ciaralli, Simone, Coletti, MIchele and Gabriel, Stephen (2015) Performance and lifetime testing of a pulsed plasma thruster for Cubesat applications. Aerospace Science and Technology, 47, 291-298. (doi:10.1016/j.ast.2015.09.031).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper describes the design and testing of the engineering model of a pulsed plasma thruster for Cubesat applications (PPTCUP-EM). It has been developed by Mars Space Ltd, Clyde Space Ltd and the University of Southampton with the main aim of increasing the in-orbit lifetime of Cubesats by providing drag compensation. Nevertheless, this thruster can be also utilized to perform formation flying, small orbit changes and Cubesat end of life deorbiting. A test campaign has been carried out to prove that the thruster and the conditioning electronics lifetimes are long enough to utilize all the propellant stored on-board. From the results of the test, the PPTCUP-EM can deliver a total impulse of 42.9±3.9 N s in about 1,125,000 shots. Moreover during the test campaign, a total of more than 1,800,000 shots have been achieved providing a safety factor of about 60% with respect to the number of required shots. The results gathered, including a preliminary characterization of the electromagnetic noise generated by the unit, are presented and show that the overall thruster performance is not influenced by the thruster aging.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 27 September 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 13 October 2015
Published date: 1 December 2015
Keywords: electrical propulsion, pulsed plasma thruster, cubesat
Organisations: EEE

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 384487
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/384487
ISSN: 1270-9638
PURE UUID: 3d50d7ed-708b-4e37-9b20-9d8088914973

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Date deposited: 16 Dec 2015 16:15
Last modified: 14 Jan 2020 18:37

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