One-millipound mercury ion thrusterA mercury ion thruster has been developed for efficient operation at the nominal 1-mlb thrust level with a specific impulse of about 3,000 sec and a total power consumption of about 120 W. At a beam voltage of 1,200 V and beam current of 72 mA, the discharge chamber operates with a propellant efficiency of 93.8% at an ion-generation energy of 276 eV/ion. The 8-cm diameter thruster advances proven component technology to assure the capability for thruster operation over an accumulated beam-on time in excess of 20,000 hours with a capability for 10,000 on-off duty cycles. Discharge chamber optimization has combined stable current-voltage characteristics with high performance efficiency by careful placement of the discharge cathode near the location of a magnetic-field zero just upstream of the thruster endplate.
Hyman, J., Jr.
Dulgeroff, C. R.
Williamson, W. S. (Hughes Research Laboratories Malibu, Calif., United States)
August 8, 2013
March 1, 1975
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
AIAA PAPER 75-386
Meeting: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Electric Propulsion Conference
Location: New Orleans, LA
Start Date: March 19, 1975
End Date: March 21, 1975
Sponsors: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics