Design and initial tests of a low power radio-frequency electrothermal thruster

Thomas S. Rutledge, Michael M. Micci, Sven G. Bilén

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

A low power radio-frequency electrothermal thruster was designed to operate at approximately 100 watts, using inductive coupling to deliver the electrical power to a gaseous propellant injected into a 1-cm diameter quartz tube chamber. Initial cold-flow and hot-fire tests were performed on the thruster under vacuum with helium propellant to evaluate its performance from measurements of mass flow, chamber pressure, and forward and reflected power. The results suggest substantial improvements are necessary to make this a viable electrothermal thruster. Thus far, it has fallen short of the goal of reaching chamber pressures of one atmosphere by about 50%, the most apparent problem being the insufficient transfer of power to the discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008
Event44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit - Hartford, CT, United States
Duration: Jul 21 2008Jul 23 2008

Publication series

Name44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit

Other

Other44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
CountryUnited States
CityHartford, CT
Period7/21/087/23/08

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Energy(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Cite this

Rutledge, T. S., Micci, M. M., & Bilén, S. G. (2008). Design and initial tests of a low power radio-frequency electrothermal thruster. In 44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit (44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit).