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Title: Development of pulsed plasma thruster for a PocketQube Pico-Satellite
Other Titles: Development of pulsed plasma thruster for a Pico-Satellite
Authors: Sammut, Matthew
Azzopardi, Marc Anthony
Fenech, Maurizio
Keywords: Satellites
Atmosphere -- Research
Issue Date: 2019-09-15
Publisher: Electric Rocket Propulsion Society (ERPS)
Citation: Sammut, M., & Fenech, M. A. M. (2019). Development of pulsed plasma thruster for a PocketQube Pico-Satellite. Proceedings of the 36th International Electric Propulsion Conference (IEPC 2019), 16-20 Sep 2019, IEPC, Vienna, Austria.
Abstract: The University of Malta Astronics research group has been developing a family of low cost PocketQube (PQ) picosatellites, with the smallest having a total mass of under 250 g and dimensions of a 5 cm cube. These satellites will be launched in low metastable orbits where an electric propulsion system will be required to maintain the orbit and perform other orbital manoeuvres. The Pulsed Plasma Thruster (PPT) is a promising technology for creating such miniaturised propulsion systems. However, scaling down this technology to fit inside PQs presents new challenges. Hence, different configurations of the coaxial PPT with reliable integrated ignition mechanisms are being developed as part of this project. This paper describes the overall mission feasibility of using PPT technology to reduce a 500g 2p PQ’s orbit decay at an altitude of 500 km. Two PPT configurations with carbonisation mitigation efforts having a total discharge energy of 0.338J per pulse were developed and an analysis of the PPT PQ subsystems is provided. The results include the developed PPT PQ, a simulation of the electric field strength of the two PPT configurations, and the plasma plume generated by the thrusters.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacEngESE

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