NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server
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.
Sarmiento, Charles J. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States) Gruber, Robert P. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
August 13, 2013
June 1, 1987
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
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