FURI | Fall 2018

Helicon Plasma Thruster Design Optimization for CubeSat Applications

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Electric propulsion (EP) provides high propellant efficiency to give spacecraft the capability of large maneuvers at the cost of low propellant mass. This project aims to design a compact helicon thruster of maximum thrust, exhaust velocity, and efficiency on a small scale to be used for CubeSat applications and small spacecraft missions. Such thrusters output low impulse for use in CubeSats. Methods of calibration and measuring micronewton-to millinewton-level thrust are reviewed to produce high-quality thrust measurements. Analyses of plasma dynamics, such as verifying plasma generation and magnetic confinement, are discussed as a part of the optimization scheme of the thruster.

Student researcher

Portrait of Mennatallah Hussein

Mennatallah Hussein

Aerospace engineering

Hometown: Cairo, Egypt

Graduation date: Spring 2021