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NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) Project Qualification Propellant Throughput Milestone: Performance, Erosion, and Thruster Service Life Prediction After 450 kgThe NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) program is tasked with significantly improving and extending the capabilities of current state-of-the-art NSTAR thruster. The service life capability of the NEXT ion thruster is being assessed by thruster wear test and life-modeling of critical thruster components, such as the ion optics and cathodes. The NEXT Long-Duration Test (LDT) was initiated to validate and qualify the NEXT thruster propellant throughput capability. The NEXT thruster completed the primary goal of the LDT; namely to demonstrate the project qualification throughput of 450 kg by the end of calendar year 2009. The NEXT LDT has demonstrated 28,500 hr of operation and processed 466 kg of xenon throughput--more than double the throughput demonstrated by the NSTAR flight-spare. Thruster performance changes have been consistent with a priori predictions. Thruster erosion has been minimal and consistent with the thruster service life assessment, which predicts the first failure mode at greater than 750 kg throughput. The life-limiting failure mode for NEXT is predicted to be loss of structural integrity of the accelerator grid due to erosion by charge-exchange ions.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Herman, Daniel A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 2010
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: 57th Joint Army-Navy-NASA-Air Force (JANNAF) Propulsion Meeting
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Country: United States
Start Date: May 3, 2010
End Date: May 7, 2010
Sponsors: NASA Headquarters, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force, Department of the Army
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 346620.
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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