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Performance evaluation of the T6 ion engine

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dc.contributor.author Snyder, John Steven
dc.contributor.author Goebel, Dan M.
dc.contributor.author Hofer, Richard R.
dc.contributor.author Polk, James E.
dc.contributor.author Wallace, Neil C.
dc.contributor.author Simpson, Huw
dc.date.accessioned 2015-04-22T17:03:14Z
dc.date.available 2015-04-22T17:03:14Z
dc.date.issued 2010-07-25
dc.identifier.citation AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, July 25-28, 2010 en_US
dc.identifier.clearanceno 10-2618
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2014/45138
dc.description.abstract The T6 ion engine is a 22-cm diameter, 4.5-kW Kaufman-type ion thruster produced by QinetiQ, Ltd., and is baselined for the European Space Agency BepiColombo mission to Mercury and is being qualified under ESA sponsorship for the extended range AlphaBus communications satellite platform. The heritage of the T6 includes the T5 ion thruster now successfully operating on the ESA GOCE spacecraft. As a part of the T6 development program, an engineering model thruster was subjected to a suite of performance tests and plume diagnostics at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The engine was mounted on a thrust stand and operated over its nominal throttle range of 2.5 to 4.5 kW. In addition to the typical electrical and flow measurements, an E×B mass analyzer, scanning Faraday probe, thrust vector probe, and several near-field probes were utilized. Thrust, beam divergence, double ion content, and thrust vector movement were all measured at four separate throttle points. The engine performance agreed well with published data on this thruster. At full power the T6 produced 143 mN of thrust at a specific impulse of 4120 seconds and an efficiency of 64%; optimization of the neutralizer for lower flow rates increased the specific impulse to 4300 seconds and the efficiency to nearly 66%. Measured beam divergence was less than, and double ion content was greater than, the ring-cusp-design NSTAR thruster that has flown on NASA missions. The measured thrust vector offset depended slightly on throttle level and was found to increase with time as the thruster approached thermal equilibrium. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship NASA/JPL en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Pasadena, CA : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2010 en_US
dc.title Performance evaluation of the T6 ion engine en_US
dc.type Preprint en_US


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