The AIS-EHT1 Micro End Hall Thruster is the first generation development of micro Hall thrusters for the AIS-ADAMANT Series, specifically designed for low-cost smaller Cubesats. 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 is eliminated from the Hall thruster design.
The ADAMANT Series aims to tackle scaling for conventional Hall thruster technology down to the smallest levels of nanosats by focusing on a highly unconventional 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).
The ultra-modular design of the EHT1 allows for direct mounting to the SFDS, and incorporates provisions for the AIS-GDN1 Micro Glow Discharge Hollow Cathode Neutralizer built into the Hall thruster head, creating an unprecedentedly compact and tightly integrated system. At a total power budget of only 20W for the thruster, glow-discharge neutralizer, and fuel heater, the EHT1 is low enough power for small Cubesats to leverage. With the complete assembly including the fuel delivery, fuel management, 3g of fuel capacity for the smallest tank size, and hollow cathode neutralizer, the entire thruster system is only 1/3U in total effective volume. The EHT1 can also be run on conventional gas sources like Xenon, and adapted to user systems as needed. The EHT1 also lends itself for use as a low-cost test source or traditional end-hall ion source for industrial processes, run with numerous gases.
Due to the modular design of the system, the EHT1 can be easily reconfigured to fit a variety of form factors and constraints based on satellite needs, including larger fuel capacity, higher power operation, and other topologies for simpler integration.
UPDATE – AS OF 07/16/2021 THE AIS-EHT1 HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY RETIRED FOR THE NEXT GEN DEVELOPMENTS OF MICRO AND PICO HALL THRUSTERS AT AIS.
- System Type: Micro End Hall Thruster
- Fuel: Adamantane
- Power Class: 20W Hall
- Neutralizer Options: AIS-GDN1 Micro Glow Discharge Hollow Cathode
- Mass (Full System, 3g capacity): 275 grams
- Size (Full System, 3g capacity): 51x72x87mm
- Compatible Fuel Tanks: AIS-SFDS Series Sublimation Fuel Delivery System
- Test Readiness Level (TRL): 6
- Status: RETIRED
ENGINEERING TEST REPORTS
VACUUM TEST PLATFORM
- 01/08/2021 – First conceptual CAD models of the AIS-EHT1 revealed
- 01/11/2021 – First successful glow discharge testing in vacuum with sublimated Adamantane fuel with glow discharge test cell
- 01/13/2021 – Second successful glow discharge testing in vacuum with sublimated Adamantane fuel with glow discharge test cell
- 01/11/2021 – Fourth successful glow discharge testing in vacuum with sublimated Adamantane fuel with glow discharge test cell and attempting ion beam extraction
- 02/01/2021 – Custom machined parts for the EHT1 arrived from Xometry
- 02/03/2021 – Live unboxing and system overview of the EHT1 on the AIS YouTube channel
- 02/05/2021 – Preliminary assembly of the EHT1 complete with the GDN1 glow-discharge hollow-cathode neutralizer, SFDS-3 sublimation fuel system (3 gram capacity), and PFV1 piezo fuel valve preliminary assembly
- 02/08/2021 – First reveal of the fully assembled EHT1 hall thruster with SFDS-3 sublimation fuel system, PFV1 piezoelectric fuel valve, and GDN1 glow-discharge neutralizer
- 02/13/2021 – First ignition test of the EHT1 utilizing a tungsten filament neutralizer and sublimation fed Adamantane fuel. Stable discharge and measured beam output was established at 2W discharge power using 3.5W sublimation power.
- 03/20/2021 – First full system ignition test of the EHT1 using the GDN1 neutralizer and full power supplies. Plasma bridging was established between anode and cathode, though full ignition not achieved.
- 03/27/2021 – Second full system ignition test of the EHT1 using the GDN1 neutralizer and full power supplies. More stable and intense plasma bridging was established between anode and cathode from the prior test, though full ignition could not be verified due to excess background plasma in the chamber.
- 04/03/2021 – Third full system ignition test of the EHT1 using the GDN1 neutralizer and full power supplies. Successful ignition was finally verified, with the system running at a total power level of 26.5W.
- UPDATE – AS OF 07/16/2021 THE AIS-EHT1 HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY RETIRED FOR THE NEXT GEN DEVELOPMENTS OF MICRO AND PICO HALL THRUSTERS AT AIS.