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The FAST (FRC Acceleration Space Thruster) ExperimentThe Field Reverse Configuration (FRC) is a magnetized plasmoid that has been developed for use in magnetic confinement fusion. Several of its properties suggest that it may also be useful as a thruster for in-space propulsion. The FRC is a compact toroid that has only poloidal field, and is characterized by a high plasma beta = (P)/(B (sup 2) /2Mu0), the ratio of plasma pressure to magnetic field pressure, so that it makes efficient use of magnetic field to confine a plasma. In an FRC thruster, plasmoids would be repetitively formed and accelerated to high velocity; velocities of = 250 km/s (Isp = 25,000s) have already been achieved in fusion experiments. The FRC is inductively formed and accelerated, and so is not subject to the problem of electrode erosion. As the plasmoid may be accelerated over an extended length, it can in principle be made very efficient. And the achievable jet powers should be scalable to the MW range. A 10 kW thruster experiment - FAST (FRC Acceleration Space Thruster) has just started at the Marshall Space Flight Center. The design of FAST and the status of construction and operation will be presented.
Document ID
20010073723
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Martin, Adam (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Eskridge, R. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Lee, M. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Richeson, J. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Smith, J. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Thio, Y. C. F. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Slough, J. (Washington Univ. Seattle, WA United States)
Rodgers, Stephen L.
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 18, 2001
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Meeting Information
IEPC International Electric Propulsion Conference(Pasadena, CA)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.