Duc Minh Bui

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Richard E. Huffman, PhD.


The BHT-600W thruster has a high potential to place on various commercial and military satellites as a main propulsion system for orbit maintenance and orbit maneuvering. Therefore, the thruster's performance characteristics and parameters were evaluated for various operating conditions. These parameters include thrust, power consumption, mass flow rate, and efficiencies. Various plume properties were measured and characterized for the thruster to include exhaust beam profile and ion species distribution. The faraday probe was used to examine the thruster plume current density while the ion species fractions were determined by the ExB probe. The inverted pendulum thrust stand was also utilized to determine the thrust performance of the thruster. This research determined optimal performance for this thruster was lower but closed to values stated by Busek Co. The measured values were 34.8+-1.3 mN of thrust, 1,267+-39s specific impulse, and had a measured propulsive efficiency of 36.2+-2.4 %. Last, beam efficiency from Faraday probe measurements yielded 52.1+-0.27%. Charge exchanges were observed to appear around 40o divergence angles. Higher charge ion species were found to dominate with increasing discharge voltage. Lastly, there were minimal effects of magnet currents on thruster's performance. The results from the research will hopefully be of use in future developments and will contribute to operational applications. This research could potentially be used to improve or confirm numerical models, help to develop future designs, and improve comparison of experimentation with on-orbit plume simulations.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number