News Link • Space Travel and Exploration • 2017-08-22

Improved ion thruster


Xenon is often used as a propellant for Hall Thrusters. This is accelerated by an electric field which strips electrons from neutral xenon atoms, creating a plasma. Plasma ejected from the exhaust end of the thruster can deliver great speeds, typically around 70,000 mph.

CHTs are designed for low-power operations while low propellant flow density can cause inadequate ionization—a crucial step in the creation of the plasma and the generation of thrust. A thruster's performance improves by increasing the gas density in the discharge channel, while lowering its axial velocity—the speed perpendicular to the thrust direction.

Physics of Plasmas – Effect of vortex inlet mode on low-power cylindrical Hall thruster a new propellant inlet mode for a low-power cylindrical Hall thruster called the vortex inlet mode. This new mode makes propellant gas diffuse in the form of a circumferential vortex in the discharge channel of the thruster.

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