Development and Testing of a Field Ionized Ion Thruster for Microsatellite Applications
Shrank, Bryan P.
MetadataShow full item record
Development of a miniaturized ion thruster would enable microsatellites to sustain orbits over a long period of time with a high efficiency while minimizing mass and volume. The advent of carbon nanotube technology has made the development of a field ionized ion thruster possible. An interagency effort between the Naval Postgraduate School and the Nanotechnology Lab at NASA Ames Research Center into the development of a field ionized ion thruster is undertaken. A test apparatus is designed and constructed in order to allow testing of carbon nanotube samples grown on a silicon substrate with a 200 u[micron]m by 200 u[micron]m hole as the ionizing element of a new design for an ion thruster. Field emission tests show measured geometric electric field enhancement factors for our samples ranging from 1428 to 5229. Two of seven experiments show successful ionization of argon gas in a flow. A measured current of 2.1 x 10[negative 5 power] Amps is achieved from a 14 u[micron]m sample with a 113 u[micron]m gap distance and an applied voltage of 1000 Volts. Characterization of the Drag Coefficient of the sample orifice is also conducted to allow for determination of the mass flow rate and maximum expected current in future tests.
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Camp, Paul W. (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2011-12);The utilization of carbon nanotube arrays for field ionization in ion thrusters allows for a substantial reduction in thruster size and weight. The availability of miniature ion thrusters may enable the development of a ...
Song, G.; N. Buck; Agrawal, B.N. (1997);Minimizing vibrations of a exible spacecraft actuated by on-off thrusters is a challenging task. This paper presents the rst study of pulse-width pulse-frequency modulated thruster control using command input shaping. ...
Gleave, J.; Agrawal, B.N. (1998);For spacecraft with large flexible antennas, and or flexible support structures, suppressing vibrations caused by on-orbit operational disturbances (e.g., antenna slew maneuvers and thruster firings) is a challenging ...