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Single-String Integration Test Measurements of the NEXT Ion Engine PlumeMeasurements were made of a 40 cm ion-thruster plume as part of the single-string-integration-test (SSIT) activity of Phase I of the NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) project. The NEXT ion engine incorporates design improvements that extend NSTAR power levels and efficiencies. During SSIT, an engineering model (EM2) 40 cm engine was operated using an advanced xenon propellant system in combination with either a GRC power console or advanced power processing unit. Integral goals of the single-string phase were to characterize engine performance over the full input power range and to detail thruster operation within the specification of the NEXT throttle table. Plume diagnostics measurements of relative Xe(+) and Xe(++) currents were made using near-field and far-field ExB probes. Planar geometry faraday probes were used to obtain beam current density profiles. This paper reports on the characterization of the EM2 plume over a range of SSIT operating conditions, first with the advanced propellant management system teamed with the GRC power console and then with the power-processing unit.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Snyder, Aaron
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Kamhawi, Hani
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Patterson, Michael
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Britton, Melissa
(QSS Group, Inc. Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 2005
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper 2004-3790
Meeting Information
40th Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 22-800-50-01
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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NameType 20050196660.pdf STI