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Electric propulsion patents

Laura HorcajadaLaura Horcajada

Space propulsion module having electric and solid-fuel chemical propulsion

A space propulsion module in particular for equipping spacecraft such as satellites, probes, or indeed upper stages of rockets. According to the invention, this space propulsion module comprises a solid-fuel chemical thruster (10), having a main body (11), and at least one electric thruster (30), said at least one electric thruster (30) being mounted on said main body (11) of the solid-fuel chemical thruster (10).

Publication number: WO2014131990A2 | Search similar patents

Spacecraft having electric and solid fuel propulsion

The invention relates to a spacecraft (1), in particular a satellite or probe, which can be used to carry out high-thrust or high specific impulse movements. According to the invention, the spacecraft (1) includes at least one solid propellant motor (10-14) and at least one electric thruster (20-24).

Publication number: WO2013114049A1 | Search similar patents

Spacecraft propulsion system and method

The invention relates to the field of spacecraft propulsion, and more specifically to electrically powered spacecraft propulsion. A spacecraft propulsion system (100) according to the invention includes at least one electrostatic thruster (101) with at least one first electricity consumer, a resistojet (102), a circuit (104) for supplying a propellant fluid, and a circuit (103) for supplying electricity comprising at least one first electricity supply line (131) and a first switch (114-1, 114'-1, 114"-1) making it possible to choose between connecting said first electricity supply line (131) to the resistojet (102) and connecting said first electricity supply line (131) to said first electricity consumer of the electrostatic thruster (101). This system thus allows the application of a spacecraft propulsion method including a switching step for selecting a first propulsion mode, in which the resistojet (102) is activated, or a second propulsion mode, in which the electrostatic thruster (101) is activated.

Publication number: WO2016016563A1 | Search similar patents

Iodine electric propulsion thrusters

The invention provides an improved spacecraft thruster, either Hall effect or ion effect, using gaseous propellant converted from solid iodine. A heated tank contains iodine crystals, which tank connects to a thrust chamber by a feed tube. A filter is mounted at the input end of the feed tube, proximate the tank, which filter is warmed by a heat control. A mass flow controller is mounted in the feed tube between the tank and the chamber and is heated by a temperature controller, such controller having a shut-off valve and means to control the flow rate of gaseous propellant to the thruster chamber.

Publication number: US6609363B1 | Search similar patents

Laser plasma thruster

A spacecraft thruster and propulsion method comprising a laser directed at an ablation target, wherein when the laser is operating, material ablates from the ablation target, thereby generating a thrust vector on the spacecraft.

Publication number: US6530212B1 | Search similar patents

Engine for a spacecraft, and spacecraft comprising such an engine

An engine (10) for a spacecraft comprising a chemical thruster comprising a nozzle (30) for ejecting combustion gas, and a Hall-effect thruster. The engine is arranged such that the nozzle acts as an ejection channel for particles ejected by the Hall thruster when same is operating. The engine can deliver a high thrust with a low specific impulse or a relatively low thrust with a high specific impulse.

Publication number: WO2015177438A1 | Search similar patents

Phase change material thermal control for electric propulsion

Systems and methods that employ a phase change material to provide thermal control of electric propulsion devices (thrusters). A spacecraft is configured to have an electric propulsion thruster. The electric propulsion thruster is surrounded with a phase change material. Suitable phase change materials include high-density polyethylene (HDPE), waxes, paraffin materials, and eutectic salts. The spacecraft is launched into orbit. The electric propulsion thruster is fired for a predetermined period of time. Heat generated by the electric propulsion thruster is absorbed and stored in the phase change material while the thruster is firing. The stored heat is dissipated into space after the thruster has stopped firing.

Publication number: US6478257B1 | Search similar patents

Spacecraft propulsion system thruster firing system

Thrusters in a propulsion system of a spacecraft spin stabilized by rotation about a spin axis are fired to increase the orbital velocity of the spacecraft in a maneuver direction along the orbital velocity vector. The propulsion system comprises a pair of thrusters juxtaposed on a common support at the periphery of the spacecraft. The thrusters have thrust axes perpendicular to the spin axis and offset relative to a transverse axis of the spacecraft by equal and opposite offset angles. Each thruster is fired separately and alternately when its thrust axis is substantially parallel to the maneuver direction while the spacecraft is rotating about its spin axis.This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 07/697,400 filed May 9, 1991, now abandoned.

Publication number: US5251855A | Search similar patents

Multichannel hall effect thruster

A Hall effect thruster (10) for propelling spacecraft and satellites includes at least two acceleration channels (12), each of the channels (12) having a closed end (16) and an open end (14), and a plurality of flux guides (22,24,26) adjacent each of the channels (12). The plurality of flux guides includes an innermost flux guide (22), an outermost flux guide (24), and at least one intermediate flux guide (26). Each intermediate flux guide (26) helps provide a magnetic field to each of two adjacent acceleration channels (12).

Publication number: EP1538333A2 | Search similar patents

Plasma thruster and method for generating a plasma propulsion thrust

The invention, which relates to a miniaturisable plasma thruster, consists of: - igniting the plasma by microhollow cathode discharge close to the outlet and inside the means for injecting the propellant gas, said injection means being magnetic and comprising a tip at the downstream end thereof; - bringing the electrons of the magnetised plasma into gyromagnetic rotation, at the outlet end of said injection means; - sustaining the plasma by means of Electron Cyclotron Resonance (ECR), said injection means being metal and being used as an antenna for electromagnetic (EM) emission, the volume of ECR plasma at the outlet of said injection means being used as a resonant cavity of the EM wave; - accelerating the plasma in a magnetic nozzle by diamagnetic force, the ejected plasma being electrically neutral.

Publication number: WO2013098505A1 | Search similar patents

Method and apparatus for balancing the emission current of neutralizers in ion thruster arrays

An apparatus and method for balancing the emission current of neutralizers in ion thruster arrays is disclosed that allows a single power processing unit (PPU) to be used to drive the array. A typical embodiment includes at least one voltage-regulated power supply, each voltage-regulated power supply for driving a common element in each of the plurality of ion thrusters, the common element in each of the plurality of ion thrusters being coupled together at a common point, and a current balance circuit for providing a substantially balanced current to each neutralizer cathode of the plurality of ion thrusters by providing a voltage to the neutralizer cathodes relative to the common point.

Publication number: US2005005593A1 | Search similar patents

Modular micropropulsion device and system

A modular propulsion system includes an array of micromachined field effect electrostatic propulsion devices, each of which is an assembled micromachined device including an array of field effect electrostatic propulsion thrusters, a fuel container of propellant using passive plumbing, electronic power and command controls, with the array of devices disposed about and on a surface of a spacecraft for providing diverse propulsion needs.

Publication number: US7690187B2 | Search similar patents

Electrostatic propulsion systems and methods

Electrostatic propulsion systems (140, 220) for spacecraft include a plurality of electrostatic thrusters (136, 137) that are continuously coupled to power forms of a power supply system (226). Ionizable gas is fed to a selected one of the thrusters to selectively initiate the thrust of that electrostatic thruster. In other embodiments, heater power forms are coupled only to the selected thruster to reduce power consumption and increase cathode lifetime. The propulsion system has a reduced complexity and is especially suited for spacecraft in which only one thruster is ever fired at a given time.

Publication number: EP0890739A1 | Search similar patents

Spacecraft with integrated pulsed-plasma thrusters

Various ways of integrating pulsed plasma thrusters with a spacecraft. In one embodiment, pulsed plasma thrusters are mounted on inflatable struts/booms. In another embodiment, pulsed plasma thrusters are mounted within a recess formed on an exterior surface of the spacecraft body.

Publication number: US6585193B1 | Search similar patents

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