Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Richard G. Cobb, PhD.


Safe satellite operations are of utmost importance. Maintaining precise orbital maintenance places stringent performance requirements on current propulsion systems, which are often electric propulsion systems. Electron temperature is a commonly used diagnostic to determine the performance of a Hall thruster, and recent work has correlated near infrared (NIR) spectral measurements of ionization lines of xenon and krypton to electron temperature measurements. In the research herein, appropriate line spectra ratios are identified for each propellant type when used with remote space-to-ground observations. NIR plume emissions were used to characterize a 600 Watt Hall thruster for a variety of observation angles and operating power levels. An end-to-end model was developed to predict the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of an on-orbit operating Hall thruster when viewed from a terrestrial telescope. Good agreement between the models SNR prediction and several observed star spectra was achieved. It was concluded that the operating power of a Hall thruster could be determined but telescopes were incapable of achieving the desired SNR.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number