Volume 1, 2009Progress in Propulsion Physics
|Page(s)||425 - 438|
|Section||Electric Propulsion for Spacecraft|
|Published online||16 September 2011|
History and current status of the microwave electrothermal thruster
The microwave electrothermal thruster (MET) heats a propellant by means of a free-floating microwave-generated plasma within a microwave resonant cavity followed by a gasdynamic nozzle expansion. The MET design is detailed along with computational electromagnetic modeling of various resonant cavities. Performance of thrusters operating at microwave frequencies of 2.45, 7.5, and 14 GHz at power levels between 10 and 2500 W is discussed. Measurements of thruster electromagnetic interference (EMI) indicate that the thruster emits a very low level of EMI compared to other electric propulsion devices. Laboratory measurements of exhaust velocity, thrust, and specific impulse for several propellants are presented.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2009