The moment has finally arrived! The LIVE first ignition test of the new AIS-EHT1 Micro End-Hall Thruster is officially scheduled for tomorrow, Feb 13 at 10am EST (-4UTC)! Join me in the pilot’s seat as I attempt to successfully light this thing up! The YouTube livestream link can be found below:
I honestly have no idea what will happen. There are so many new concepts crammed into this tiny Hall thruster. Experimental fuel, brand new untested design, and only 2W available for the main discharge power. A lot has to come together, and first attempts are rarely successful.
I will try to time setup for the target start time, but the testing schedule all depends on setup going smoothly, as well as pumpdown. Pumpdown is the big variable, since it takes significantly longer when the fuel is loaded up, and I will be operating without a fuel valve.
Testing is also contingent on not having any equipment failures. Everything is ready to go but there is always a chance for the test to be scrubbed. Testing like this is not done in the EP field but if you follow launch developments like from SpaceX you know a lot must go right!
Regardless if the first test is a success or failure, it will be a valuable learning experience, with plenty of opportunity to start gathering data for this new thruster. And of course if you like plasma and ion thrusters you won’t want to miss the potentially most exciting AIS test yet!