PORTFOLIO: Ion Propulsion and Beamed Energy
We developed and won the U.S. patent on a manufacturer-cable ion drive platform. During the course of testing the workable flying prototypes, quantitative metrics sensors indicated that the devices were showing a difference in energy that had previously unknown qualities. New tests for a large bulk thrust version, by third parties, still show these novel variances:
A new theory of inertia could explain the EM Drive’s anomalous thrust
Nay Sayers, from competing interests, spend a lot of time telling people certain things are “impossible. Here is a video from NASA showing the “impossible” broadcast of energy. Additionally, you can see other aircraft, in the videos above, powered by broadcast energy:
Hall effect thruster: Technical backgroundOur project goal is to optimize and hybridize the solution for atmospheric-to-space transport and atmospheric transport using effect-envelope enhancement.
HistoryHall thrusters were studied independently in the United States and the Soviet Union. They were first described publicly in the US in the early 1960s. However, the Hall thruster was first developed into an efficient propulsion device in the Soviet Union. In the US, scientists focused instead on developing gridded ion thrusters. Two types of Hall thrusters were developed in the Soviet Union:
- thrusters with wide acceleration zone, SPT (Russian: СПД, стационарный плазменный двигатель; English: SPT,Stationary Plasma Thruster) at Design Bureau Fakel
- thrusters with narrow acceleration zone, DAS (Russian: ДАС, двигатель с анодным слоем; English: TAL, Thruster with Anode Layer), at the Central Research Institute for Machine Building (TsNIIMASH).
OperationThe essential working principle of the Hall thruster is that it uses an electrostatic potential to accelerate ions up to high speeds. In a Hall thruster the attractive negative charge is provided by an electron plasma at the open end of the thruster instead of a grid. A radial magnetic field of a hundred gauss (about 100–300 G, 0.01–0.03 T) is used to confine the electrons, where the combination of the radial magnetic field and axial electric field cause the electrons to drift azimuthally, forming the Hall current from which the device gets its name. electric potential between 150 and 800 volts is applied between the anode and cathode. The central spike forms one pole of an electromagnet and is surrounded by an annular space and around that is the other pole of the electromagnet, with a radial magnetic field in between. The propellant, such as xenon gas, is fed through the anode, which has numerous small holes in it to act as a gas distributor. Xenon propellant is used because of its high atomic weight and low ionization potential. As the neutral xenon atoms diffuse into the channel of the thruster, they are ionized by collisions with high energy circulating electrons (typically 10–40 eV, or about 10% of the discharge voltage). Once ionized, the xenon ions typically have a charge of +1, though a small fraction (~20%) are +2. The xenon ions are then accelerated by the electric field between the anode and the cathode. For discharge voltages of 300 V, the ions reach speeds of around 15 km/s for a specific impulse of 1,500 seconds (15 kN·s/kg). Upon exiting, however, the ions pull an equal number of electrons with them, creating a plasma plume with no net charge. The radial magnetic field is designed to be strong enough to substantially deflect the low-mass electrons, but not the high-mass ions which have a much larger gyroradius and are hardly impeded. The majority of electrons are thus stuck orbiting in the region of high radial magnetic field near the thruster exit plane, trapped in E×B (axial electric field and radial magnetic field). This orbital rotation of the electrons is a circulating Hall current, and it is from this that the Hall thruster gets its name. Collisions with other particles and walls, as well as plasma instabilities, allow some of the electrons to be freed from the magnetic field, and they drift towards the anode. About 20–30% of the discharge current is an electron current, which does not produce thrust, so limits the energetic efficiency of the thruster; the other 70–80% of the current is in the ions. Because the majority of electrons are trapped in the Hall current, they have a long residence time inside the thruster and are able to ionize almost all of the xenon propellant, allowing for mass utilizations of 90–99%. The mass utilization efficiency of the thruster is thus around 90%, while the discharge current efficiency is around 70% for a combined thruster efficiency of around 63% (= 90% × 70%). Modern Hall thrusters have achieved efficiencies as high as 75% through advanced designs. Compared to chemical rockets, the thrust is very small, on the order of 83 mN for a typical thruster operating at 300 V, 1.5 kW. For comparison, the weight of a coin like the U.S. quarter or a 20-cent Euro coin is approximately 60 mN. As with all forms ofelectrically powered spacecraft propulsion, thrust is limited by available power, efficiency, and specific impulse. However, Hall thrusters operate at the high specific impulses that is typical of electric propulsion. One particular advantage of Hall thrusters, as compared to a gridded ion thruster, is that the generation and acceleration of the ions takes place in a quasi-neutral plasma and so there is no Child-Langmuir charge (space charge)saturated current limitation on the thrust density. This allows for much smaller thrusters compared to gridded ion thrusters. Another advantage is that these thrusters can use a wider variety of propellants supplied to the anode, even oxygen, although something easily ionized is needed at the cathode.
Cylindrical Hall thrustersAlthough conventional (annular) Hall thrusters are efficient in the kilowatt power regime, they become inefficient when scaled to small sizes. This is due to the difficulties associated with holding the performance scaling parameters constant while decreasing the channel size and increasing the applied magnetic field strength. This led to the design of the cylindrical Hall Thruster. The cylindrical Hall thruster can be more readily scaled to smaller sizes due to its nonconventional discharge-chamber geometry and associated magnetic field profile. The cylindrical Hall thruster more readily lends itself to miniaturization and low-power operation than a conventional (annular) Hall thruster. The primary reason for cylindrical Hall thrusters is that it is difficult to achieve a regular Hall thruster that operates over a broad envelope from ~1 kW down to ~100 W while maintaining an efficiency of 45-55%.
ApplicationsHall thrusters have been flying in space since December 1971 when the Soviets launched an SPT-50 on a Meteor satellite. Over 240 thrusters have flown in space since that time with a 100% success rate. Hall thrusters are now routinely flown on commercial GEO communications satellites where they are used for orbital insertion and stationkeeping. The first Hall thruster to fly on a western satellite was a Russian D-55 built by TsNIIMASH, on the NRO’s STEX spacecraft, launched on October 3, 1998. The solar electric propulsion system of the European Space Agency‘s SMART-1 spacecraft used a Snecma PPS-1350-G Hall thruster. SMART-1 was a technology demonstration mission that orbited the Moon. This use of the PPS-1350-G, starting on September 28, 2003, was the first use of a Hall thruster outside geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO). Unlike most Hall thruster propulsion systems used in commercial applications, the Hall thruster on SMART-1 could be throttled over a range of power, specific impulse, and thrust.
- Discharge power: 0.46–1.19 kW
- Specific impulse: 1,100–1,600 s
- Thrust: 30–70 mN
Evaluating NASA’s Futuristic EM Drive
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- NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- Alta S.p.A. (Italy) page on HT-100 Hall Thruster
- Aerojet (Redmond, WA USA) – Hall Thruster Vendor
- Busek (Natick, MA USA)- Hall Thruster Vendor
- Experimental Design Bureau Fakel (Kaliningrad, Russia) – Hall Thruster Vendor
- MIT Space Propulsion Laboratory
- Michigan Tech. Univ. Ion Space Propulsion Laboratory
- Georgia Institute of Technology High-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory (HPEPL)
- Colorado State University Electric Propulsion & Plasma Engineering (CEPPE) Laboratory
- University of Michigan Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory (PEPL)
- NASA Glenn Research Center Hall Thruster Program
- Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory page on Hall Thrusters
- Snecma SA (France) page on PPS-1350 Hall Thruster
- ESA page on Hall thrusters