Next-Generation Ion Thruster Design Tool to Support Future Space Missions

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX10CF60P
Agency Tracking Number: 090107
Amount: $99,875.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2010
Solitcitation Year: 2009
Solitcitation Topic Code: T3.01
Solitcitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Tech-X Corporation
5621 Arapahoe Avenue, Suite A, Boulder, CO, 80303-1379
Duns: 806486692
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Sudhakar Mahalingam
 Principal Investigator
 () -
 sudhakar@txcorp.com
Business Contact
 Leslie Rosczyk
Title: Business Official
Phone: (720) 974-1855
Email: lwr@txcorp.com
Research Institution
 Wright State University
 Not Available
 3640 Colonel Glenn HWY
Dayton, OH, 45435
 (937) 775-2425
 Domestic nonprofit research organization
Abstract
Computational tools that accurately predict the performance of electric propulsion devices are highly desirable by NASA and the broader electric propulsion community. Large investments in running the long duration test programs (> 20 kHrs) at NASA GRC can be reduced with computer models and allow more focus on exploring the NEXT ion thruster design for future space missions. The current state of electric propulsion modeling relies heavily on empirical data – frequently taken directly from the device of interest – and relies on numerous computational "knobs". A self-consistent particle model that minimizes the number of free parameters used in thruster modeling, and allows accurate electric thruster simulations is desired. We propose a kinetic model that simulates the dynamic electric fields inside the NEXT ion thruster discharge chamber plasma. This will be the first time that this has been done. In addition kinetic erosion models will be used for modeling the ionimpingement effects on thruster components. We envision one seamless model of the plasma from emission within the hollow cathode to ejection to outer space in the exhaust plume. This model will help NASA GRC to predict the lifetime operation of the high power ion propulsion options for earth-orbital applications.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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