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Center Innovation Fund: GRC CIF

FY 15 GRC: Long Life Electric Propulsion for ESPA Class Spacecraft

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The technical objectives of this proposed effort is to design a 500 W class Hall thruster with the propellant throughput capability and performance levels that can meet the mSEPSAT (Solar electric propulsion) projected mission performance needs.  One class of small spacecraft of particular interest is optimized for launch as secondary payloads using the EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) on Atlas V or Delta IV.  This type of spacecraft is referred to as an ESPA class spacecraft.  These spacecraft while limited in terms of both mass and volume, offer the opportunity to utilize SEP to increase ESPA class spacecraft capability if recent developments in higher power in magnetically-shielded Hall thrusters can be scaled appropriately.   

 

The 500 W thruster design will incorporate design features that leverage the lessons learned from the design of the TRL 5 high voltage Hall accelerator (HiVHAc) and the 12.5 kW Technology Development Unit (TDU) Hall thrusters. The design of the 500 W Hall thruster will include design features that are directly extensible to the high-power SEP systems that are an integral part of NASA HEOMD's exploration architecture. 

 

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