tech track papers
Categories: 2018, Technology Test Updates
We present the latest performance measurements of the Phase Four RF Thruster (RFT) from testing performed at The Aerospace Corporation and at Phase Four laboratories. The RFT is a nano-satellite-scalable, electrothermal radiofrequency thruster in development that uses RF power to heat xenon plasma propellant, and accelerate it in a radially diverging magnetic plume. The talk includes plasma probe data and thrust data for multiple generations of RFT. The resultant thrust and specific impulse performance are translated to in-space mission capabilities, such as constellation deployment, station keeping, and end-of-life maneuvers. Measurements suggest that RFT is making significant progress toward higher values of specific impulse.
We also provide an overview of the state of the technology for those unfamiliar with electric propulsion. Along with an update on performance numbers of the Phase Four radio frequency thruster, readers will also learn what kind of previously impossible missions are now made possible by this technology, including cluster launches, swarm constellations, and formation flying.
Author: Umair SiddiquiTopic: Technology Test Updates