Compact Efficient 1 kW Electric Thruster
Small Business Information
140 Langmuir Lab., 95 Brown, Road, Ithaca, NY, 14850
AbstractA proof-of-concept prototype of a new type of pulsed plasma thruster with a specific impulse of 3000s will be built. Based upon a recently developed plasma source, the "X-line thruster" concept operates by inductively driving an electrodeless discharge in a small volume of gas, and then accelerating the resulting plasma with a pulsed magnetic field. A novel continuous flow gas feed and magnetic field configuration makes it possible to build a 1kW class thruster in a volume of about 1 liter. By operating at a 20 kHz repetition rate, only a fraction of a joule is needed per drive pulse, allowing a simple circuit design with small, lightweight, reliable capacitors and solid-state switching to be used. High gas efficiency, electrical efficiency of 30-50% and long component life are projected in steady state operation. The gas feed arrangement permits scaling the X-line thruster to larger area and higher average power without penalty in gas or electrical efficiency, or in repetition rate.
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