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low power arcjet thruster pulse ignitionAn investigation of the pulse ignition characteristics of a 1 kW class arcjet using an inductive energy storage pulse generator with a pulse width modulated power converter identified several thruster and pulse generator parameters that influence breakdown voltage including pulse generator rate of voltage rise. This work was conducted with an arcjet tested on hydrogen-nitrogen gas mixtures to simulate fully decomposed hydrazine. Over all ranges of thruster and pulser parameters investigated, the mean breakdown voltages varied from 1.4 to 2.7 kV. Ignition tests at elevated thruster temperatures under certain conditions revealed occasional breakdowns to thruster voltages higher than the power converter output voltage. These post breakdown discharges sometimes failed to transition to the lower voltage arc discharge mode and the thruster would not ignite. Under the same conditions, a transition to the arc mode would occur for a subsequent pulse and the thruster would ignite. An automated 11 600 cycle starting and transition to steady state test demonstrated ignition on the first pulse and required application of a second pulse only two times to initiate breakdown.
Document ID
19870062920
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Sarmiento, Charles J.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Gruber, Robert P.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 13, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 1987
Subject Category
SPACECRAFT PROPULSION AND POWER
Report/Patent Number
AIAA PAPER 87-1951
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other