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Numerical Simulation of Hall Thruster Plasma Plumes in Space

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1 Author(s)
Boyd, Iain D. ; Dept. of Aerosp. Eng., Michigan Univ., Ann Arbor, MI

Hall thrusters are an important form of electric propulsion that are being developed and implemented to replace chemical systems for many on-orbit propulsion tasks on communications and exploration spacecraft. A concern in the use of these devices is the possible damage their plasma plumes may cause to the host spacecraft. Computer models of Hall thruster plumes play an important role in integration of these devices onto spacecraft as the space environment is not easily reproduced in ground testing facilities. In this paper, an advanced hybrid particle-fluid model is applied to model the plumes of the Hall thrusters used on the Russian Express and European SMART-1 spacecraft. The results from the model are compared directly with measurements of ion current density and ion energy distributions taken in space by these spacecraft

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 5 )