Lithium ion source for satellite charge control
Song, Tae Ik
Olsen, Richard C.
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A lithium ion source using thermal emission from mineral beta- eucryptite has been investigated as a possible control device for spacecraft charging. This source can be used for control of positively charged spacecraft potentials in sunlight and differentially charged spacecraft surfaces in shadow. This thesis investigates the dependence of the emitted ion current on several parameters: source temperature (power input), source bias potentials and potentials applied to simulated spacecraft geometries. Saturation current of about 5.8 micro amp were measured at an extraction potentials of 100 Volts from a source of 0.317 cm2 surface area with a power input of 18 Watts. The lifetime due to ion exhaustion was found to be approximately 200 hours for this compact source. Our results indicate that this type of ion source may represent an effective charge control device for spacecraft.
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