Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Carl R. Hartsfield, PhD


This research focused on designing an arcjet system with water as the propellant. Previous research developed a compact, reliable, and safe propellant storage and feed system. The goal is to combine the arcjet with the previous tank to achieve thrust and specific impulse characteristics greater than cold gas or resistojet system. This platform features a 1 U, non-hazardous, and sub-kilowatt powered propulsion system for nanosatellites. A simplified analysis of the design predicts thrust and specific impulse greater than can be achieved by cold gas or resistojet thrusters. Testing resulted in oxidation of the electrodes raising concerns about the longevity of the system. Oxidation reduced the reliability of arc initiation in vacuum and negligible thrust measurements. Similar systems resolution to these issues make the system suboptimal for nanosatellite implementation

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number