Radio-Frequency Micro Thrusters and Their Applications


Аuthors

Feili D. *, Collingwood C. M.**, Lotz B. ***, Loeb H. W.****, Musso F. *****, Di Cara D. ******

Justus-Liebig-Universität,

*e-mail: davar.feili@exp1.physik.uni-giessen.de
**e-mail: cheryl.collingwood@physik.uni-giessen.de
***e-mail: Benjamin.Lotz@physik.uni-giessen.de
****e-mail: H.W.Loeb@exp1.physik.uni-giessen.de
*****e-mail: fabio.musso@thalesaleniaspace.com
******e-mail: davina.maria.di.cara@esa.int

Abstract

Since 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)


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