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Experimental Investigation of a Direct-drive Hall Thruster and Solar Array System at Power Levels up to 10 kWAs NASA considers future exploration missions, high-power solar-electric propulsion (SEP) plays a prominent role in achieving many mission goals. Studies of high-power SEP systems (i.e. tens to hundreds of kilowatts) suggest that significant mass savings may be realized by implementing a direct-drive power system, so NASA recently established the National Direct-Drive Testbed to examine technical issues identified by previous investigations. The testbed includes a 12-kW solar array and power control station designed to power single and multiple Hall thrusters over a wide range of voltages and currents. In this paper, single Hall thruster operation directly from solar array output at discharge voltages of 200 to 450 V and discharge powers of 1 to 10 kW is reported. Hall thruster control and operation is shown to be simple and no different than for operation on conventional power supplies. Thruster and power system electrical oscillations were investigated over a large range of operating conditions and with different filter capacitances. Thruster oscillations were the same as for conventional power supplies, did not adversely affect solar array operation, and were independent of filter capacitance from 8 to 80 ?F. Solar array current and voltage oscillations were very small compared to their mean values and showed a modest dependence on capacitor size. No instabilities or anomalous behavior were observed in the thruster or power system at any operating condition investigated, including near and at the array peak power point. Thruster startup using the anode propellant flow as the power 'switch' was shown to be simple and reliable with system transients mitigated by the proper selection of filter capacitance size. Shutdown via cutoff of propellant flow was also demonstrated. A simple electrical circuit model was developed and is shown to have good agreement with the experimental data.
Document ID
20150008768
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Authors
Snyder, John S. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Brophy, John R. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Hofer, Richard R. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Goebel, Dan M. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Katz, Ira (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
May 26, 2015
Publication Date
July 29, 2012
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Energy Production and Conversion
Meeting Information
AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference(Atlanta, GA)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other