Optimization of a small and low power stationary plasma thruster

David A. Wetz, Mankowski John, David W. Belt, James C. Dickens, Magne Kristiansen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Electric space propulsion provides an efficient means for microsatellite positioning. With this in mind a small and low power Stationary Plasma Thruster (SPT) has been constructed and tested at the Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics at Texas Tech University. The thruster is designed to operate at power levels between 50 and 250 W. These operating levels produce thrust magnitudes on the order of 2 mN to 5 mN. The thruster being tested has a total mass of roughly 150 g with an overall diameter of 5 cm and a body length of 2.5cm. Four permanent magnets, held in place by permeable holders, symmetric about the center pole establish a radial magnetic field density of roughly 25 mT. In the experiments conducted, the length of the holders used to hold the permanent magnets in place as well as the center pole lengths were varied to determine their impact on the thruster's magnetic field as well as its overall performance.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2005
Event41st AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit - Tucson, AZ, United States
Duration: Jul 10 2005Jul 13 2005


Conference41st AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityTucson, AZ


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