With the recent completion of the first round of testing for the AIS-ILIS1 Ionic Liquid Electrospray Thruster, work has already begun to move fast on the next gen AIS-ILIS2 Ionic Liquid Electrospray Thruster. I am pleased to present a look at the first conceptual model for this new iteration! I am adding a bunch of new features on this version to improve not only performance but usability as well.
First, I am fully maximizing emission area to meet and exceed my 20uN thrust target by switching to a spike array emitter, which current developments are trending towards. While more challenging to manufacture, is easier to run and allows for far higher thrust density scaling.
On the manufacturing and assembly side, I have also added keying to align the emitter and extractor more accurately. The housing has also been modified to further reduce liquid creep issues by minimizing direct housing contact points between the emitter and extractor.
The current CAD render depicts the standard fuel storage version. However, I am planning on extended fuel versions, doubling the onboard fuel capacity, and have already begun reaching out to manufacturers of the porous glass for these non-standard thicker discs.
Finally the ILIS2 will eventually include a second plug-in board that handles onboard monitoring and control for the thruster, allowing for automated start-up sequences and control via user commands. This will also provide the basis for control for the Cubesat cluster module.
This will be a major and exciting development moving forward at AIS, so check back for additional updates as this new thruster evolves!