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Title: Radio Frequency Plasma Applications for Space Propulsion

Abstract

Recent developments in solid-state radio frequency (RF) power technologies allow for the practical consideration of RF heated plasmas for space propulsion. These technologies permit the use of any electrical power source, de-couple the power and propellant sources, and allow for the effcient use of both the propellant mass and power. Effcient use of the propellant is obtained by expelling the rocket exhaust at the highest possible velocity, which can be orders of magnitude higher than those achieved in chemical rockets. Handling the hot plasma exhaust requires the use of magnetic nozzles, and the basic physics of ion detachment from the magnetic eld is discussed. The plasma can be generated by RF using helicon waves to heat electrons. Further direct heating of the ions helps to reduce the line radiation losses, and the magnetic geometry is tailored to allow ion cyclotron resonance heating. RF eld and ion trajectory calculations are presented to give a reasonably self-consistent picture of the ion acceleration process.

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN
Sponsoring Org.:
National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA); USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
7837
Report Number(s):
ORNL/CP-103513
AT 50 20 10 0; ON: DE00007837
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-96OR22464
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Int. Conf. on Electromagnetics in Advanced Applications, Torino, Italy, September 13-17, 1999
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION; Ion Thrusters; RF Systems; Computerized Simulation

Citation Formats

Baity, F.W., Jr., Barber, G.C., Carter, M.D., Chang-Diaz, F.R., Goulding, R.H., Ilin, A.V., Jaeger, E.F., Sparks, D.O., and Squire, J.P. Radio Frequency Plasma Applications for Space Propulsion. United States: N. p., 1999. Web.
Baity, F.W., Jr., Barber, G.C., Carter, M.D., Chang-Diaz, F.R., Goulding, R.H., Ilin, A.V., Jaeger, E.F., Sparks, D.O., & Squire, J.P. Radio Frequency Plasma Applications for Space Propulsion. United States.
Baity, F.W., Jr., Barber, G.C., Carter, M.D., Chang-Diaz, F.R., Goulding, R.H., Ilin, A.V., Jaeger, E.F., Sparks, D.O., and Squire, J.P. Mon . "Radio Frequency Plasma Applications for Space Propulsion". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/7837.
@article{osti_7837,
title = {Radio Frequency Plasma Applications for Space Propulsion},
author = {Baity, F.W., Jr. and Barber, G.C. and Carter, M.D. and Chang-Diaz, F.R. and Goulding, R.H. and Ilin, A.V. and Jaeger, E.F. and Sparks, D.O. and Squire, J.P.},
abstractNote = {Recent developments in solid-state radio frequency (RF) power technologies allow for the practical consideration of RF heated plasmas for space propulsion. These technologies permit the use of any electrical power source, de-couple the power and propellant sources, and allow for the effcient use of both the propellant mass and power. Effcient use of the propellant is obtained by expelling the rocket exhaust at the highest possible velocity, which can be orders of magnitude higher than those achieved in chemical rockets. Handling the hot plasma exhaust requires the use of magnetic nozzles, and the basic physics of ion detachment from the magnetic eld is discussed. The plasma can be generated by RF using helicon waves to heat electrons. Further direct heating of the ions helps to reduce the line radiation losses, and the magnetic geometry is tailored to allow ion cyclotron resonance heating. RF eld and ion trajectory calculations are presented to give a reasonably self-consistent picture of the ion acceleration process.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1999},
month = {9}
}

Conference:
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