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Overview of Advanced Space Propulsion Activities in the Space Environmental Effects Team at MSFCExploration of our solar system, and beyond, requires spacecraft velocities beyond our current technological level. Technologies addressing this limitation are numerous. The Space Environmental Effects (SEE) Team at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is focused on three discipline areas of advanced propulsion; Tethers, Beamed Energy, and Plasma. This presentation will give an overview of advanced propulsion related activities in the Space Environmental Effects Team at MSFC. Advancements in the application of tethers for spacecraft propulsion were made while developing the Propulsive Small Expendable Deployer System (ProSEDS). New tether materials were developed to meet the specifications of the ProSEDS mission and new techniques had to be developed to test and characterize these tethers. Plasma contactors were developed, tested and modified to meet new requirements. Follow-on activities in tether propulsion include the Air-SEDS activity. Beamed energy activities initiated with an experimental investigation to quantify the momentum transfer subsequent to high power, 5J, ablative laser interaction with materials. The next step with this experimental investigation is to quantify non-ablative photon momentum transfer. This step was started last year and will be used to characterize the efficiency of solar sail materials before and after exposure to Space Environmental Effects (SEE). Our focus with plasma, for propulsion, concentrates on optimizing energy deposition into a magnetically confined plasma and integration of measurement techniques for determining plasma parameters. Plasma confinement is accomplished with the Marshall Magnetic Mirror (M3) device. Initial energy coupling experiments will consist of injecting a 50 amp electron beam into a target plasma. Measurements of plasma temperature and density will be used to determine the effect of changes in magnetic field structure, beam current, and gas species. Experimental observations will be compared to predictions from computer modeling.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Edwards, David
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Carruth, Ralph
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Vaughn, Jason
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Schneider, Todd
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Kamenetzky, Rachel
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Gray, Perry
(Native American Services Huntsville, AL United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2000
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Meeting Information
Meeting: 11th Advanced Propulsion Workshop
Location: Pasadena, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: May 31, 2000
End Date: June 2, 2000
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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