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Hall Thruster 3D Plume Modeling and Comparison with SMART-1 Flight Data

Hall Thruster 3D Plume Modeling and Comparison with SMART-1 Flight Data

Publication date: 03 June 2004

Authors: Vicini, A., et al.

Year: 2004

Presented at the 4th International Spacecraft Propulsion Conference, Chia Laguna (Cagliari), Sardinia, Italy, 2-4 June 2004

Electric propulsion represents one of the most promising technologies for application in future space missions; Hall Effect Thrusters (HET's) and Gridded Ion Engines (GIE) are particularly interesting for their relatively high thrust capability coupled with a specific impulse which is up to one order of magnitude higher than latest generation chemical systems. The knowledge of the plasma plume evolution in the thrusters surrounding space is of fundamental importance, at system design level, for new generation satellites, in order to integrate the propulsive subsystem with the other vehicle subsystems: as known, the use of electro-magnetic thrusters can create compatibility problems, due to the electrically charged particle flow, which can interfere with telecommunication signals and generate erosion and insulation loss for critical satellite surfaces (e.g. solar panels, optical instruments and sensors etc.) A number of Hall thrusters plume models have been developed, present simulation techniques usually implement a Particle In Cell / Monte Carlo approach to a plasma flow considered in a quasi-neutral state, with the possibility of a residual atmosphere (typical of a vacuum chamber test facility). In this paper the 3D plume simulation model developed by Alta will be described, and applied to model the SNEMA PPS® 1350 thruster used on the SMART-1 satellite.

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