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Improvement of the Power Control Unit for Ion Thruster to cope with Milli-Newton range RIT
The recent development and testing activities of a miniaturized Radio-Frequency Ion Thruster with relevant ancillary elements operating in the range of 10 to 100 micro-Newton, joined with past flight heritage in the milli-Newton range (RIT-10 for Artemis), shows an appealing capability of such an electrical propulsion technology to support thrust in a wide range of space applications from very fine attitude control up to deorbiting of small-medium satellites. As expectable, this implies that the mentioned ancillary elements (mainly Radio-Frequency Generator and Power Control Unit) require adaptation to the different requirements imposed to different missions and thrust ranges. Regarding the Power Control Unit, different power levels, controllability requirements and spacecraft interfaces impose non-negligible adaptation leading to significant increase of development activities and associated cost (non-recurring) increase. From that and with the main purpose to minimize such impacts and provide reliable equipment, Selex ES since a few years is devoting maximum attention in the incremental innovation of the existing design in order to maximize their reuse. This paper explores the possibility to enlarge the present capability of the existing Power Control Unit for Radio- Frequency Ion Thruster developed by Selex ES for the micro-Newton range scaled up to 2 mN but preserving the communality of design and the testing heritage, as well as the architectural approach already developed, implemented and validated. The outcome of the assessment, confirming the feasibility of an effective upgrading, is presented too.
Ceruti Luca, Polli Aldo
Paper for Seminar/Symposium/Conference
Space Propulsion 2014 - Conference (19–22 May 2014, Cologne, Germany)
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