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Fundamentals of Electric Propulsion: Ion and Hall Thrusters (JPL Space Science and Technology Series)

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This important new book explains the fundamentals of electric propulsion for spacecraft and describes in detail the physics and characteristics of the two major electric thrusters in use today, ion and Hall thrusters. The authors provide an introduction to plasma physics in order to allow readers to understand the models and derivations used in determining electric thruster performance. Next, they present detailed explanations of: thruster principles; ion thruster plasma generators and accelerator grids; hollow cathodes; hall thrusters; ion and Hall thruster plumes; and flight ion and Hall thrusters.

Throughout most of the twentieth century, electric propulsion was considered the technology of the future. Now, the future has arrived.

This important new book explains the fundamentals of electric propulsion for spacecraft and describes in detail the physics and characteristics of the two major electric thrusters in use today, ion and Hall thrusters. The authors provide an introduction to plasma physics in order to allow readers to understand the models and derivations used in determining electric thruster performance. They then go on to present detailed explanations of:

  • Thruster principles

  • Ion thruster plasma generators and accelerator grids

  • Hollow cathodes

  • Hall thrusters

  • Ion and Hall thruster plumes

  • Flight ion and Hall thrusters

Based largely on research and development performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and complemented with scores of tables, figures, homework problems, and references, Fundamentals of Electric Propulsion: Ion and Hall Thrusters is an indispensable textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate students who are preparing to enter the aerospace industry. It also serves as an equally valuable resource for professional engineers already at work in the field.

About the Author

Dan M. Goebel, PhD, is a Senior Research Scientist in the Advanced Propulsion Technology Group at JPL in Pasadena, California. Since joining JPL in 2003, he has worked on the development of high-efficiency ion thrusters, advanced long life cathodes and grids, and electric-thruster life models for deep space missions. He is a world-recognized expert in ion thrusters, cathodes, advanced plasma sources, microwave sources, high-voltage engineering, and pulsed power switches.?

Ira Katz, PhD, has led the Advanced Propulsion Technology Group at NASA JPL since 2001. Group accomplishments during his tenure include the development and testing of the 25 kW NEXIS ion thruster, successful completion of the world's longest electric thruster life test, development of technology and support for precision formation flying missions (ST7, Lisa, TPF-I), and laboratory investigations and computer modeling of fundamental electric propulsion physics. Dr. Katz is recognized as a world leader in computer modeling of spacecraft-plasma interactions, spacecraft charging, and ion thruster physics.

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