Thrust measurement of the busek bht 20 microhall effect thruster

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University of Alabama Libraries

The research presented herein documents the process, data analysis, and results of testing a low power micro-hall effect thruster suitable for various mission objectives such as orbital maneuvers, momentum dumping, and precision pointing for microsatellites. The BHT 20 is a low power micro-hall effect thruster capable of generating thrust at the µN thrust level. The research presents high thrust level measurements between 1242 to 3193 µN for thruster conditions between 14.5 to 35.7 W at 413 to 474 µg/s argon flow rates with errors between 3.46 to 11.6%. Also, the discharge voltage and current operating envelope is characterized at the above conditions. Thruster operation was considered suboptimal due to unoptimized high flow rate to thruster power operating conditions. Overall, the research was considered a success by operating the BHT 20 at higher discharge voltages and obtaining thrust measurements at the respective test conditions. Results and recommendations to improve testing are included.

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Aerospace engineering