The Applied Ion Systems AIS-Io Series marks a new phase of developments at AIS into advanced higher-power class experimental propulsion systems for Cubesats and small sats. The Io Series aims to offer unprecedented access to normally exorbitantly expensive gridded ion and RF plasma thruster technology by taking unconventional design approaches in order to significantly simplify and streamline manufacturing and assembly.
The Io Series leverages a unique highly modular design that integrates valveless solid iodine fuel delivery directly coupled to the discharge chamber of the thruster. 13.56MHz RF is used to ionize the fuel. The core design of the thruster allows selection between the RF gridded ion or RF plasma thruster variants by simply swapping out the output module. Due to the highly modular and simplified design, the thrusters can be easily modified, as well as run on conventional fuel gases. The thrusters will also share the same electronics package, which will integrate and mount directly to the thruster assemblies.
The Io Series offers Cubesat teams as well as research labs, educational labs, and industry small-sat start-ups a unique, entry-level, fully integrated, and easy-to-use advanced ion and plasma thruster option at several orders of magnitude cost reduction from current market offerings of similar thruster technologies in the same power class.
UPDATE: AS OF 12/12/2020, THE AIS-IO SERIES EFFORT HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY RETIRED AND REPLACED BY THE NEW AIS-ADAMANT SERIES, WHICH BORROWS THE INITIAL CONCEPT DESIGN OF THE MODULAR VALVELESS SUBLIMATION TANK FUEL DELIVERY DESIGN FOR IODINE AND IMPLEMENTS IT WITH ADAMANTANE FUEL.
- Thruster Type: RF Gridded Ion and RF Plasma
- Fuel: Solid Iodine
- Power Class: 30-100W
- Status: RETIRED
- 04/16/2020 – First initial ideas revealed for the new AIS-Io Series thrusters.
- 04/22/2020 – Reveal of the initial CAD model design concept for the AIS-Io Series RF gridded ion and RF plasma thrusters.
- 04/23/2020 – Reveal of the initial CAD concepts for the modular integrated valveless iodine fuel delivery module.
- 04/27/2020 – Reveal of the initial CAD concepts for the RF ICP module.
- 04/28/2020 – Reveal of the initial CAD concepts for the integrated valveless iodine fuel delivery and RF ICP module sub-assembly.
- 04/29/2020 – Reveal of the initial CAD concept models for the AIS-Io Series RF gridded ion thruster variant.
- 04/30/2020 – Reveal of the initial CAD concept models for the AIS-Io Series RF plasma thruster variant.
- 12/12/2020 – The AIS-Io Series has been officially retired, replaced with the new AIS-ADAMANT Series.