Laboratory demonstration of space debris removal by a bi-directional helicon plasma thruster

Kazunori Takahashi, Christine Charles, Rod W. Boswell, Akira Ando

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Space debris removal by a bi-directional helicon plasma thruster is demonstrated in laboratory experiments, where the thruster consists of a helicon source having two open source exits and two solenoids downstream and upstream of the rf antenna. The thrust force exerted on the thruster and the force to the target materials are simultaneously measured by taking the displacement signal of these pendulums. The experiment shows that the present system can exert zero net force to the thruster and finite force to the target simulating the debris. These forces can also be controlled by the external parameters such as the magnetic field configurations. Hence the operation of the debris removal mode, the thruster mode, and the deceleration mode can be switched by changing the electrical currents supplied to the two solenoids. It implies that both the debris removal and propelling the spacecraft or satellite can be achieved by only one electric propulsion device.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication68th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2017
Subtitle of host publicationUnlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF
Pages3709-3715
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781510855373
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1
Event68th International Astronautical Congress: Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security, IAC 2017 - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 2017 Sep 252017 Sep 29

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
Volume6
ISSN (Print)0074-1795

Other

Other68th International Astronautical Congress: Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security, IAC 2017
CountryAustralia
CityAdelaide
Period17/9/2517/9/29

Keywords

  • Debris removal
  • Helicon thruster
  • Magnetic nozzle
  • Plasma momentum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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