Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Carl R. Hartsfield, PhD.


Electric propulsion is a promising method for providing ΔV to spacecraft on orbit. In general, much higher ISPS are obtained compared to their chemical counterparts. Hall thrusters are a subset of electric propulsion with moderately high specific impulse and thrust when compared to other forms of electric propulsion. Even though Hall thrusters have an extensive flight legacy around the world, there are still many unknowns associated with their operation. Experimental research was conducted in AFIT’s Space Propulsion Application Simulation System (SPASS) laboratory, to measure Hall current, plasma potential and visible emission from the 600W Hall thruster in a time correlated system at data rates up to 1MHz. Unfortunately issues would plague the experiment and ultimately prevent any data collection on the thruster understudy. Instead data collected prior was further analyzed in attempt correlate behavior of plasma instabilities to determine causal relationships between plasma properties and anomalous diffusion modes. This was done by performing a frequency analysis where frequencies associated with breathing mode and spoke mode were identified.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number