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Magnetic confinement studies for performance enhancement of a 5-cm ion thruster

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3 Author(s)
G. M. Sandonato ; Lab. Assoc. de Plasma, Inst. Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil ; J. J. Barroso ; A. Montes

Several magnet assemblies relevant to ion thrusters were investigated using a numerical code to calculate the primary electron mean containment time. An analytical model was used to determine, consistently with the plasma stability condition, the ion thruster performance parameters, namely, the plasma ion energy cost, the plasma density, the plasma potential, and the doubly charged ion production rate as a function of the propellant mass flow rate. The numerical code was checked by reproducing the experimental performance parameters obtained from a 7-m checkerboard ion thruster. Using this approach, performance curves were obtained for a 5-cm ion thruster devised to produce a 1-mN thrust with low power and propellant consumption

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 6 )