Date

6-12-2017 12:00 AM

Major

Aerospace Engineering

Department

Aerospace Engineering

College

College of Engineering

Project Advisor

Alric Rothmayer

Project Advisor's Department

Aerospace Engineering

Description

Electric propulsion offers efficiency on the order of magnitude higher than conventional chemical propulsion for spacecraft. Electrodeless systems have higher operational lifetimes than contemporary systems, but have yet to be developed fully. Based on research conducted at Princeton University, the generalized relations for the scaling of thrust and efficiency are derived for a cylindrical wave-driven thruster, and the longitudinal, electrostatic wave is shown as an ideal candidate for driving a such a thruster. The “magnetosonic” wave is determined to be capable of carrying substantial momentum while remaining linear, which prevents potential coupling losses from the wave-launching antenna driver. In addition to scale-efficiency relation modeling, a finite-element simulation of transient antenna-plasma coupling for a range of frequencies in the kHz domain is completed. It is shown that for a linear wave-launching antenna, efficiency increases with current, therefore this system has the potential to operate in a range of input powers currently left vacant by contemporary propulsion technology.

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Dec 6th, 12:00 AM

Wave-Driven Plasmas for Spacecraft Propulsion

Electric propulsion offers efficiency on the order of magnitude higher than conventional chemical propulsion for spacecraft. Electrodeless systems have higher operational lifetimes than contemporary systems, but have yet to be developed fully. Based on research conducted at Princeton University, the generalized relations for the scaling of thrust and efficiency are derived for a cylindrical wave-driven thruster, and the longitudinal, electrostatic wave is shown as an ideal candidate for driving a such a thruster. The “magnetosonic” wave is determined to be capable of carrying substantial momentum while remaining linear, which prevents potential coupling losses from the wave-launching antenna driver. In addition to scale-efficiency relation modeling, a finite-element simulation of transient antenna-plasma coupling for a range of frequencies in the kHz domain is completed. It is shown that for a linear wave-launching antenna, efficiency increases with current, therefore this system has the potential to operate in a range of input powers currently left vacant by contemporary propulsion technology.