Electric Propulsion for Space Systems

In This Section

Synopsis:

Over 120 spacecraft presently use electric thruster systems for primary or auxiliary propulsion. Electric thrusters are now being used to provide most of the post-LEO propulsion demands for both geosynchronous and deep space missions. The availability of practical, high-specific-impulse electric thrusters with long life, and the development of electrical power-systems required to sustain them, has resulted in extremely rapid growth in the applications of this technology. This course describes the fundamental operating principles, performance characteristics and design features of state-of-the-art systems in each of the three classes of electric thrusters (electrothermal, electromagnetic and electrostatic). The impacts of the thruster performance and life on mission planning; mission analysis techniques; and on-board spacecraft systems will be addressed. The extension of spacecraft capabilities afforded by electric propulsion and issues associated with its integration into spacecraft will also be discussed.

Key Topics:

  • Learn principles of operation of electric thrusters
  • Understand when and why electric thrusters should be used
  • Understand lessons learned from mission studies and flight experience

Who Should Attend:

This course is for those industry engineers in airplane design, analysis or support and government agency engineers, as well as Manufacturing support or fleet support engineers. Aerospace engineers, mechanical engineers and civil engineers would most benefit from this course.

Course Information:

Type of Course: Instructor-Led Short Course
Course Level: Intermediate/ Advanced


Course scheduling available in the following formats:


  • Course at Conference
  • On-site Course
  • Stand-alone/Public Course

Course Length: 2 days
AIAA CEU's available: yes

Outline

Course Outline:


I. Electric propulsion overview
II. Systems and mission design
A. System and mission analysis
B. Theoretical capabilities and limitations
C. Trajectory analysis and optimization
D. Associated spacecraft technologies
III. Principles of relevant plasma physics
A. High temperature gases and plasma formation
B. Plasmas in electric and magnetic fields
C. Ion acceleration
D. Boundary conditions and sheaths
IV. Electrothermal propulsion
A. Principles of electrothermal operation
B. Resistojet and arcjet system descriptions
C. Operating characteristics
D. Critical interfaces and integration issues
E. Lessons learned and current status
V. Electrostatic propulsion
A. Principles of ion thruster operation
B. Ion thruster system and component descriptions
C. Operating characteristics
D. Critical interfaces and integration issues
E. Lessons learned and current status
VI. Electromagnetic propulsion
A. Propellant acceleration mechanisms
B. Hall and pulsed plasma thruster system and component descriptions
C. Operating characteristics
D. Critical interfaces and integration issues
E. Lessons learned and current status
VII. Conclusions
A. Applications and concluding remarks
 

 

Materials


Since course notes will not be distributed onsite, AIAA and your course instructor are highly recommending that you bring your computer with the course notes already downloaded to the course.

Once you have registered for the course, these course notes are available about two weeks prior to the course event, and are available to you in perpetuity. 

Students will have the opportunity to purchase the recommended textbook “Fundamentals of Electric Propulsion: Ion and Hall Thrusters” authored by D.M. Goebel and I.Katz” at a discounted price.



 

Instructors

Course Instructor:


This course is organized and taught by distinguished subject matter experts in the AIAA Electric Propulsion Technical Committee.