Helicon Hall Thruster
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
The Hall thruster has great potential in satisfying many of the spacecraft propulsion needs of the United States Air Force for the next several decades due to its combination of high specific impulse, high thrust efficiency, and high thrust density. The USAF has recently concluded that bi-modal Hall thrusters (i.e., high thrust-to-power and high specific impulse) are attractive for future missions such as LEO-to-GEO orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs). To that end, the USAF has recently issued a contract to an Aerojet-led team to develop a 20-kW xenon-propellant Hall thruster that adheres to IHPRPT Phase III goals. Our proposal seeks to develop a new, two-stage Hall thruster that can achieve IHPRPT Phase III goals by using a helicon ionization, first-stage coupled to a state-of-the-art Hall accelerator stage. Use of the helicon ionization source, which is one of the world's most efficient, will allow high Hall thruster efficiency at low discharge voltages by reducing the ion production cost. Moreover, given the helicon source affinity for noble gases, it may be possible to develop an efficient Hall thruster that operates with propellants that are cheaper than xenon, such as argon.
Small Business Information at Submission:
ELECTRODYNAMIC APPLICATIONS, INC.
P.O. Box 131460 Ann Arbor, MI 48113
Number of Employees: