The AIS-AHT1 Micro Anode-Layer Hall Thruster is the second official thruster line in the AIS-ADAMANT Series, and represents one of the newest and most advanced propulsion development yet at Applied Ion Systems, specifically designed for extreme scaling of Hall thruster technology for low-cost, low-power, and smaller Cubesats. The AIS-AHT1 leverages modularity and unconventional Hall thruster design choices to provide the smallest form-factor and lowest cost Hall thruster technology on the market to date, with neutralizer-less operation in the standard low power configuration, or provisions for either the AIS-GDN1 Micro Glow Discharge Hollow Cathode Neutralizer or a dual Tungsten filament neutralizer, offering a wide variety of operating parameters at unprecedentedly low power levels. With the unique propellant selection of Adamantane, a solid hydrocarbon diamandoid that exhibits direct sublimation at low temperatures, coupled with the AIS-SFDS Sublimation Fuel Delivery System, pressurized feed and complex valving are eliminated from the Hall thruster design.
The ADAMANT Series aims to tackle scaling for conventional plasma and ion propulsion systems such as gridded ion, Hall, and RF plasma down to the smallest levels of nanosats by focusing on a highly experimental fuel source to eliminate complex valving, metering, and pressurized tanks. Unlike Iodine, which is currently one of the top candidates for alternative fuels for EP, Adamantane does not exhibit serious material corrosion issues, and is not nearly as toxic to handle, while having a larger ionization cross-section (easier to ionize).
At an expected power budget of only 5W for the thruster and fuel heater (in the standard low-power configuration), the AHT1 is low enough power for the smallest class of Cubesats to leverage. With a thruster size of only 50mm D x 10mm H, the AHT1 is a fraction of a standard Cubesat 1U, opening up Hall thruster mounting for smaller Cubesats than typically seen with conventional Hall thrusters as well. With the complete assembly including the fuel delivery, fuel management, and 3g of fuel capacity for the smallest tank size, the entire thruster system is only a bit more than 1/8U in total volume. The EHT1 can also be run on conventional gas sources like Xenon, and adapted to user systems as needed. The AHT1 also lends itself for use as a low-cost test source or traditional anode-layer ion source for industrial processes, run with numerous gases.
The AHT1 ultimately opens up Hall thruster technology at a power level, size, and cost not yet realized on the EP market, complimenting the EHT1 Micro End Hall Thruster, providing even the smallest class of Cubesats the opportunity to utilize Hall thruster technology.
- System Type: Micro Anode-Layer Hall Thruster
- Fuel: Adamantane
- Power Class: 5W Hall
- Neutralizer Options: Neutralizer-less (<5W operation), AIS-GDN1 Micro Glow Discharge Hollow Cathode or Dual Tungsten Filament (>5W operation)
- Thrust: TBD
- ISP: TBD
- Total Impulse: TBD
- Mass (Thruster Head): TBD
- Size (Thruster Head): 50mm diameter x 10mm height
- Compatible Fuel Tanks: AIS-SFDS Series Sublimation Fuel Delivery System
- Test Readiness Level (TRL): 2
- Status: ACTIVE
ENGINEERING TEST REPORTS
VACUUM TEST PLATFORM
- 01/28/2021 – First conceptual CAD models of the AIS-AHT1 revealed