Author

David Liu

Date of Award

9-15-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Richard Branam, PhD.

Abstract

The Hall thruster is a type of electric propulsion utilized by satellites to perform a wide variety of missions ranging from station keeping, orbital maneuvers, and even deep space propulsion. In order to accommodate the multitude of missions it also has a wide assortment of sizes and power configurations which can range from approximately an inch in diameter at 20 W to a couple of feet in diameter at 1.5 kW. Additionally, this electro-static device provides high specific impulse without the added weight penalty associated with conventional chemical thrusters. It supplies this high specific impulse by ionizing a gas such as xenon or krypton and then accelerating it through the electric field to speeds on the order of kilometers per second depending on the thruster size and power. Although the steady-state outputs such as thrust and specific impulse are measurable, other transient mechanisms within the main discharge are still not well understood.

AFIT Designator

AFIT-DS-ENY-11-04

DTIC Accession Number

ADA549042

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