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Destructive physical analysis of hollow cathodes from the Deep Space 1 Flight spare ion engine 30,000 hr life testDestructive physical analysis of the discharge and neutralizer hollow cathode assemblies from the Deep Space 1 Flight Spare 30,000 Hr life test was performed to characterize physical and chemical evidence of operationally induced effects after 30,372 hours of operation with beam extraction. Post-test inspection of the discharge-cathode assembly was subdivided into detailed analyses at the subcomponent level. Detailed materials analysis and optical inspection of the insert, orifice plate, cathode tube, heater, keeper assembly, insulator, and low-voltage propellant isolator were performed. Energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) and scanning electron microscopy (SEW analyses were used to determine the extent and composition of regions of net deposition and erosion of both the discharge and neutralizer inserts. A comparative approach with an un-operated 4:1:1 insert was used to determine the extent of impregnate material depletion as a function of depth from the ID surface and axial position from the orifice plate. Analysis results are compared and contrasted with those obtained from similar analyses on components from shorter term tests, and provide insight regarding the prospect for successful longer-term operation consistent with SOA ion engine program life objectives at NASA.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Sengupta, Anita
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
October 31, 2005
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Meeting Information
29th International Electric Propulsion Conference, Princeton University(NJ)
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