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Title: U.S. In-Space Electric Propulsion Experiments
Authors: Stocky, John F.
Vondra, Robert
Sutton, Alan M.
Issue Date: 3-Oct-1994
Citation: France
Abstract: Arcjet and ion propulsion offer potentially significant reductions in the mass of propulsion systems required for Earth orbiting satellites and planetary spacecraft. For this reason, they have been the subject of validation and demonstration programs. After examining the benefits of electric propulsion, this paper discusses the technology base for the Electric propulsion Space Experiment (ESEX) arcjet demonstration experiment and the NASA SEP Technology Application Readiness (NSTAR) ion propulsion validation program. As part of the Advanced Research and Global Observation Spacecraft (ARGOS), ESEX will perform ten 15-minute firings of a 30 kW ammonia arcjet. NASA's validation program, NSTAR, consists of two major elements: a ground-test element and an in-space experiment. The ground-test element will validate the life, intergrability, and performance of low-power ion propulsion. The in-space element will demonstrate the feasibility of integrating and flying an ion propulsion system. The experiment will measure the interactions among the ion propulsion system, the host spacecraft, and the surrounding space plasma; and it will provide a quantitative assessment of the ability of ground testing to replicate the in-space performance of ion thrusters. By involving industry in NSTAR, a commercial source for this technology will be ensured. Furthermore, the successful completion of the NSTAR validation program will stimulate commercial and government (both civilian and military) uses of this technology.
Appears in Collections:JPL TRS 1992+

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