UPDATE LOG

  • 05/23/2019 – Official CAD concept model for the AIS-gPPT2-1C Single-Channel Gridded Pulsed Plasma Thruster revealed on social media.
  • 05/24/2019 – Cross-sectional CAD view of thruster officially revealed on social media, showing improved ignition geometry.
  • 05/25/2019 – First prototype AIS-gPPT2-1C thruster build completed. Thruster mounted to conflat high voltage feedthrough and chamber adapter using improved thruster holding. Thruster and adapter assembly is mounted to the Micro Propulsion Testing Chamber.
  • 05/26/2019 – First successful high vacuum ignition testing of the thruster confirmed. Thruster fired both at low-rep-rate, full power, and higher rep rate, reduced power.
  • 05/27/2019 – First video of confirmed thruster ignition released on social media.
  • 05/28/2019 – Second video of confirmed thruster ignition at higher rep rate, lower power released on social media.
  • 06/02/2019 – First impulse bit test successfully completed at high vacuum using a micro-pendulum in the Micro Propulsion Testing Chamber.

OVERVIEW

The AIS-gPPT2-1C Single-Channel Gridded Pulsed Plasma Thruster represents the latest iteration of the Gridded Pulsed Plasma Thruster line at Applied Ion Systems. This thruster radically diverges from conventional and standard pulsed plasma thrusters, with a specific emphasis on scaling and miniaturization, geared towards PocketQube-class satellites. The AIS-gPPT2-1C features improved electrode geometry for significantly better ignition reliability over its predecessor, the AIS-gPPT1.

The AIS-gPPT2-1C features an unconventional flat stacked-plate geometry, aiming to radically reduce the space required for a pulsed plasma thruster, while still allowing for higher thrust levels than conventional micro pulsed plasma thrusters. The thruster utilizes a single channel to better qualify thruster characteristics in the smallest-possible form factor, allowing for rapid prototyping and changing of thruster geometries for scaling to larger gridded thrusters. The thruster is made with low cost and easy to find materials such as oxygen-free copper plate, Teflon sheet, 316 stainless steel hardware, and PEEK hardware.

The AIS-gPPT2-1C thruster will serve as the basis for further revisions to the AIS-gPPT line of pulsed plasma thrusters. The thruster has already passed Phase I testing for successful and repeatable ignition at high vacuum. Preliminary impulse bit measurements have also been successfully performed with the thruster as well. Phase II will be implemented to look at initial thruster lifetime, with a goal of 10k shots for the thruster.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Thruster Type: Micro Gridded Pulsed Plasma Thruster
  • Fuel: Teflon
  • Configuration: Flat Stacked Plate with Single Thruster Channel
  • Electrode Material: Oxygen-Free Copper
  • Primary Capacitor: 1 uF
  • Tested Primary Working Voltage: 650-1500 V
  • Tested Ignition Voltage: 4 kV
  • Vacuum Levels Tested: 8×10^-6 Torr to 1×10^-5 Torr
  • Confirmed Counted Ignitions To Date: 298
  • Completed Testing Level: Phase I – Ignition Testing, Impulse Bit Measurements
  • Testing Level: Phase II – Preliminary Lifetime Testing Milestone #1 – 10,000 Shots
  • Status: ACTIVE

GALLERY

AIS-gPPT2-1C Single-Channel Gridded Pulsed Plasma Thruster Gallery

CAD FILES

ENGINEERING TEST REPORTS

VACUUM TEST PLATFORM

Micro Propulsion Testing Chamber

  • Thruster Type: Single-Channel Micro Gridded PPT
  • Fuel: Teflon
  • Materials Used: OF Copper, Teflon, PEEK, 316 SS
  • Project Status: Ongoing