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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Hall Effect Thruster for High Power Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Demonstration

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

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In Phase I Busek matured the design of an existing 15-kW laboratory thruster. Magnetic modeling was performed to generate a circuit incorporating magnetic shielding. Erosion modeling predicts extremely long lifetime and high throughput. A detailed mechanical design of the thruster resulted in an overall assembly with specific mass <3kg/kW. Modal, dynamic and thermal analyses were performed to calculate resonance frequencies, mode shapes, stress and fatigue values and temperature limits. Experiments using the existing laboratory thruster evaluated a modified anode/gas distributor and a B-field distribution representative of the proposed magnetic shielded configuration. Performance results suggest similar efficiency and performance as the baseline thruster. Visual observation of the plume illustrated the characteristics of magnetic shielding were achieved. In Phase II Busek will complete the detailed design of the thruster and a center mounted hollow cathode. A prototype unit will be fabricated and performance tested included limited duration testing at Busek. Depending on facility availability the thruster will independently tested at GRC. Busek will hold a MRR and CDR then fabricate, assemble, and fully test a qualification model thruster/cathode to raise the maturity to TRL 6. The thruster will be delivered to NASA for extended duration testing to complete the qualification. More »

Anticipated Benefits

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Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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