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Title: An overview of the Nuclear Electric Xenon Ion System (NEXIS) program
Authors: Polk, Jay E.
Goebel, Don
Brophy, John R.
Beatty, John
Monheiser, J.
Giles, D.
Hobson, D.
Wilson, F.
Christensen, J.
De Pano, M.
Hart, S.
Ohlinger, W.
Hill, D.N.
Williams, J.
Wilbur, P.
Laufer, D. M.
Farnell, C.
Keywords: ion propulsion
carbon-carbon grids
hollow cathodes
Issue Date: 21-Jul-2003
Publisher: Pasadena, CA : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2003
Citation: Joint Propulsion Conference, Huntsville, Alabama, July 21-23, 2003.
Abstract: NASA is investigating high power, high specific impulse propulsion technologies that could enable ambitious flights such as multi-body rendezvous missions, outer planet orbiters and interstellar precursor missions. The requirements for these missions are much more demanding than those for state-of-the-art solar-powered ion propulsion applications. The purpose of the NEXIS program is to develop advanced ion thruster technologies that satisfy the requirements for high power, high specific impulse operation, high efficiency and long thruster life. The nominal design point for the NEXIS thruster is 20 kWe at a specific impulse of 7500 s with an efficiency over 78% and a xenon throughput capability of greater than 2000 kg. These performance and throughput goals will be achieved by applying a combination of advanced technologies including a large discharge chamber, erosion resistant carbon-carbon grids, an advanced reservoir hollow cathode and techniques for increasing propellant efficiency such as grid masking and accelerator grid aperture diameter tailoring. This paper provides an overview of the challenges associated with these requirements and how they are being addressed in the NEXIS program.
Appears in Collections:JPL TRS 1992+

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