Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 31181
Direct Measurement of Electromagnetic Thrust of Electrodeless Helicon Plasma Thruster Using Magnetic Nozzle

Authors: Takahiro Nakamura, Kenji Takahashi, Hiroyuki Nishida, Shunjiro Shinohara, Takeshi Matsuoka, Ikkoh Funaki, Takao Tanikawa, Tohru Hada


In order to realize long-lived electric propulsion systems, we have been investigating an electrodeless plasma thruster. In our concept, a helicon plasma is accelerated by the magnetic nozzle for the thrusts production. In addition, the electromagnetic thrust can be enhanced by the additional radio-frequency rotating electric field (REF) power in the magnetic nozzle. In this study, a direct measurement of the electromagnetic thrust and a probe measurement have been conducted using a laboratory model of the thruster under the condition without the REF power input. Fromthrust measurement, it is shown that the thruster produces a sub-milli-newton order electromagnetic thrust force without the additional REF power. The thrust force and the density jump are observed due to the discharge mode transition from the inductive coupled plasma to the helicon wave excited plasma. The thermal thrust is theoretically estimated, and the total thrust force, which is a sum of the electromagnetic and the thermal thrust force and specific impulse are calculated to be up to 650 μN (plasma production power of 400 W, Ar gas mass flow rate of 1.0 mg/s) and 210 s (plasma production power of 400 W, Ar gas mass flow rate of 0.2 mg/s), respectively.

Keywords: Electric Propulsion, helicon plasma, Lissajous acceleration, Thrust stand

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1770


[1] H. Kuninaka, K. Nishiyama, I. Funaki, T. Yamada, Y. Shimizu and J. Kawaguchi, "Powered flight of electron cyclotron resonance ion engines on Hayabusa explorer," J. Propul. Power, Vol. 23, 3, pp. 544-551, 2007.
[2] K. Toki, S. Shinohara, T. Tanikawa, I. Funaki and K. P. Shamrai, "Preliminary investigation of helicon plasma source for electric propulsion applications," IEPC 03-0168, 28th Int. Electric Propul. Conf., Toulouse, France, 17-21 March, 2003.
[3] J. P. Squire, L. D. Cassady, F. R. Chang Diaz, M. D. Carter, T. G. Glover, et al., "Superconducting 200 kW VASIMR experiment and integrated testing," IEPC-2009-209, 31st Int. Electric Propul. Conf., University of Michigan, USA, September 20-24, 2009.
[4] L. D. Cassady, B. W. Longmier, C. S. Olsen, M. G. Ballenger, G. E. McCaskill, et al., "VASIMR® performance results," AIAA2010-6772, 46th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propul. Conf. & Exhibit, Nashville, TN, July 25-28, 2010.
[5] C. Charles, P. Alexander, C. Costa, O. Sutherland, R. W. Boswell, et al., "Helicon double layer thrusters," IECP-2005-290, 29th Int. Electric Propul. Conf., Princeton University, October 31 - November 4, 2005.
[6] I.Musso,M.Manente, J. Carlsson, C. Giacomuzzo, D. Pavarin, et al. "2D OOPIC simulations of the helicon double layer," IEPC-2007-146, 30th Int. Electric Propul. Conf., Florence, Italy, September 17-20, 2007.
[7] M. D. West, C. Charles and R. W. Boswell, "Testing a helicon double layer thruster immersed in a space-simulation chamber," J. Propul. Power, Vol. 24, 1, pp. 134-141, 2008.
[8] K. Toki, S. Shinohara, T. Tanikawa, I. Funaki and K. P. Shamrai, "Feasibility study of electrodeless magnetoplasmadynamic acceleration," AIAA2004-3935, 40th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propul. Conf. & Exhibit, Fort, Lauderdale, FL, July 11-14, 2004.
[9] S. Shinohara, T. Hada, T. Motomura, K. Tanaka, T. Tanikawa, et al., "Development of high-density helicon plasma sources and their applications," Phys. Plasmas, Vol. 16, 057104, 2009.
[10] S. Shinohara, "High-density helicon plasma sources: development and application," I1.301, 37th EPS Conference on Plasma Physics, Dublin, Ireland, June, 21-25, 2010.
[11] H. Nishida, T. Nakamura, S. Shinohara, T. Matsuoka, I. Funaki, et al., "Study on proof-of-principle of Lissajous acceleration for electrodeless helicon plasma thruster," Frontier of Appl. Plasma Tech., Vol. 5, 2, 67, 2012.
[12] K. Toki, S. Shinohara, T. Tanikawa, T. Hada, I. Funaki, et al., "A compact helicon source plasma acceleration by RF antennae," JAXA-RR-09-003, JAXA Research and Development Report, 2010.
[13] T. Matsuoka, I. Funaki, T. Nakamura, K. Yokoi, H. Nishida, et al. "Scaling laws of Lissajous acceleration for electrodeless helicon plasma thruster," Plasma Fus. Res., Vol. 6, 2406103, 2011.
[14] K. Takahashi, T. Lafleur, C. Charles, P. Alexander, R. W. Boswell, et al., "Direct thrust measurement of a permanent magnet helicon double layer thruster," Appl. Phys. Lett., Vol. 98, 141503, 2011.
[15] K. Takahashi, T. Lafleur, C. Charles, P. Alexander and R. W. Boswell, "Electron diamagnetic effect on axial force in an expanding plasma: experiments and theory," Phys. Rev. Lett., Vol. 107, 235001, 2011.