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Proceedings Paper

Laser-electric hybrid propulsion system for microthrusters (Poster Award Paper)
Author(s): Hideyuki Horisawa; Masatoshi Kawakami; Itsuro Kimura
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Paper Abstract

An assessment of a novel laser-electric hybrid propulsion system was conducted, in which a laser-induced plasma was induced through laser beam irradiation onto a solid target and accelerated by electrical means instead of direct acceleration only by using a laser beam. A fundamental study of newly developed rectangular laser-assisted pulsed-plasma thruster (PPT) was conducted on discharge characteristics and thrust performances with increased peak current compared to our previous study to increase effects of electromagnetic forces on plasma acceleration. At 8.65 J discharge energy, the maximum current reached about 8000 A. With a newly developed torsion-balance type thrust stand, thrust performances of laser assisted PPT could be estimated. It was shown that the impulse bit and specific impulse linearly increased. On the other hand, coupling coefficient and the thrust efficiency did not increase linearly. The coupling coefficient decreased with energy showing maximum value (20.8 μNsec/J) at 0 J, or in a pure laser ablation case. Thrust efficiency first decreased with energy from 0 to 1.4 J and then increased linearly with energy from 1.4 J to 8.6 J. At 8.65 J operation, impulse bit of 38.1 μNsec, specific impulse of 3791 sec, thrust efficiency of 8%, and coupling coefficient of 4.3 μNsec/J were obtained.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 September 2004
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 5448, High-Power Laser Ablation V, (20 September 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.548018
Show Author Affiliations
Hideyuki Horisawa, Tokai Univ. (Japan)
Masatoshi Kawakami, Tokai Univ. (Japan)
Itsuro Kimura, Univ. of Tokyo (Japan)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5448:
High-Power Laser Ablation V
Claude R. Phipps, Editor(s)

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