Radio Frequency Ion Thruster – Radio Frequency Generator, Power Supply, and High Voltage Converter


Lebeda A. *, Lebeda A. *

APCON AeroSpace & Defense GmbH,



APCON has developed and manufactured Radio Frequency Generators (RFG), since 2001 for Astrium Space Transportation and in cooperation with research projects with University of Giessen. The design is based on Design Reference Project of Satellite Artemis (RITA-10). The space qualified RITA-10 Radio frequency ion propulsion system has an operating life in excess of 20,000 hours and a nominal specific impulse of 3058 s. Until then APCON realized the following types of RFG's: RFG-900W for RIT−22/ ASTRIUM (thrust is 250 mN) (The thruster has achieved a nominal specific impulse of 6,400 seconds and has been operated in ground testing facilities for more than 10,000 hours); RFG-600W for RIT-15 (thrust is less than 180 mN); RFG-200W for RIT-10 (thrust is less than 80 mN); RFG-40W for RIT-3.5 (thrust is from µN to 4.0 mN). These thrusters ware not built for aerospace application. The experiences with this unit have encouraged further and comprehensive design refinements which were applied in the following development of the ion thrusters next generation.


Radio Frequency Ion Thruster (RIT); Electric Propulsion Power Systems; Radio Frequency Generator (RFG); RFG-Power Supply Control Unit (RFG-PSCU); Beam Current Control Unit (BCCU); Positive High Voltage Converter (PHVC), Negative High Voltage Converter (NHVC); Power System; Serial Command Interface (SPI); Analog/Digital Converter (A/D 12 Bit); Digital Analog Converter (DAC 12 Bit)

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