Busek 1CM Micro Radio-Frequency Ion Thruster Empirical Performance Determination

Brian D. Couch

The full-text download link for this item is available to Department of Defense personnel only at this time.


Empirical performance quantification was attempted on a Busek 1-centimeter Radio Frequency Ion Thruster (BIT-1) to characterize thruster performance across a full range of operating conditions. Several experimental setups were attempted in order to operate the specific thruster utilized for this experiment. All troubleshooting steps are documented leading up to successful operation of the BIT-1 for a total of 15 minutes. Further testing is required to fully quantify the BIT-1 thrust profile, exact divergence angle, and efficiency. In addition, the Busek torsional thrust stands calibration force equation was evaluated. The current calibration equation was found to overestimate applied forces. A modification was added to the thrust stands equation enabling more precise thrust measurements for future experiments.