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Evaluation of solar electric propulsion technologies for discovery class missionsA detailed study examines the potential benefits that advanced electric propulsion (EP) technologies offer to the cost-capped missions in NASA's Discovery program. The study looks at potential cost and performance benefits provided by three EP technologies that are currently in development: NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT), an Enhanced NSTAR system, and a Low Power Hall effect thruster. These systems are analyzed on three straw man Discovery class missions and their performance is compared to a state of the art system using the NSTAR ion thruster. An electric propulsion subsystem cost model is used to conduct a cost-benefit analysis for each option. The results show that each proposed technology offers a different degree of performance and/or cost benefit for Discovery class missions.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Oh, David Y.
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
July 10, 2005
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Meeting Information
Meeting: 41st AIAA/ASME/SEA/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
Location: Tucson, AZ
Country: United States
Start Date: July 10, 2005
End Date: July 13, 2005
Distribution Limits
electric propulsion

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