Experimental assessment of a benchmark ablation-fed pulsed plasma thruster

Erik M. Henrikson, Pavlos Mikellides

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations


A new high vacuum facility has been assembled at Arizona State University's Advanced Space Propulsion and Plasma Physics Lab (ASP3L) for testing of ablation-fed pulsed plasma thrusters (APPT). The facility includes a cryo-pumped, 1m by 1.5m horizontal cylindrical chamber, and the equipment necessary to fire APPT's, measure mass loss, and acquire current waveform data. A benchmark, breech-fed APPT has been designed, built and operated at 40, 60, and 80 Joules utilizing polytetrafluoroethelene (PTFE) propellant, commonly known as Teflon®. The thruster's mass loss and current waveform data is compared to data obtained by a similar design operated at another laboratory in order to provide validation of the facility's capability. A zero-dimensional, idealized model is applied to the benchmark design and two other APPTs of similar geometry and operating in comparable energy ranges. This model has captured general trends and magnitudes of total mass ablated and total impulse bit for these APPT configurations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollection of Technical Papers - 43rd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2007
Event43rd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference - Cincinnati, OH, United States
Duration: Jul 8 2007Jul 11 2007

Publication series

NameCollection of Technical Papers - 43rd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference


Other43rd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCincinnati, OH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science


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