Radio-Frequency Micro Thrusters and Their Applications
Аuthors*, **, ***, ****, *****, ******
AbstractSince a couple of years, scientific European Space Agency missions like «Post Goce», «NGGM», and «LISA» are being prepared which need a very precise micro-thrusting in the range of 50 to 2500 μN. Thus, in 2004, Giessen University started a scaling-down program of the standard RIT-10 engine. Three mini-thrusters have been built and tested, whereby the 2.5 cm device, called μN RIT-2.5, reached the status of an advanced breadboard model. Following extensive optimization tests at Giessen, the thruster was operated at the Nanobalance Facility of Thales Alenia, Torino/Italy under ESA/ESTEC contract. Thrust range and linearity, thrust resolution, thrust noise, and response time have been measured showing that the μN RIT-type would be a good candidate for micro thrusting on the above mentioned satellites and spacecrafts.
Keywords:spacecraft; radio-frequency ion thruster (RIT); electric propulsion (EP)