Helicon Plasma Thruster: Plasma Propulsion for Satellites

Helicon Plasma Thruster

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Europe’s Helicon Plasma Thruster provides plasma propulsion for little satellites. Credit: SENER

A test shooting of Europe’s Helicon Plasma Thruster, established with ESA by SENER in Spain. This compact, electrodeless and low voltage style is perfect for the propulsion of little satellites, consisting of preserving the development of big orbital constellations.

While conventional chemical propulsion have basic ceilings, electrical propulsion pumps additional energy into the thrust response to reach much greater propellant speeds by speeding up propellant utilizing electrical energy. There are numerous approaches of electrical propulsion, a number of which need electrodes to use an existing, increasing thruster expense and intricacy.

By contrast the Helicon Plasma Thruster utilizes high power radio frequency waves to delight the propellant into a plasma.

Since the extremely first test ignition was attained utilizing argon gas in ESA’s Propulsion Laboratory in the Netherlands, in 2015, the HPT has actually developed through duplicated test projects at the EPL and SENER’s own center, resulting in enhanced levels of ionisation and velocity performance and a compact, lighter style.

The innovation has actually because been picked for a grant by the European Commission’s Strategic Research Cluster on Electric Propulsion, targeted at the advancement and confirmation of the HPT innovation for non-geostationary satellite constellations and other little spacecraft. The result has actually been the brand-new Helicon Plasma Thruster for In-Space Applications, HIPATIA, job.