# Questions tagged [ion-thruster]

Questions about engines used in space that accelerate ions to create thrust.

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### Effect of delaying electron ion recombination in ion engine plumes; is a tiny additional thrust component available?

I have a follow-up question in response to this answer by @uhoh, basically asking about higher order effects alluded to in their answer. If the ion exhaust plume coming off an ion engine remain ...
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### Thrust of ion thruster when spacecraft is charged

I read in many articles and books that the thrust of an ion thruster is equal to $$T = \sqrt{\frac{2M}{e}} I_b \sqrt{V_b} \ \ \text{[newtons]}$$ screenshot where $V_b$ is the acceleration potential, ...
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### How should mass specific impulse calculated for relativistic exhaust?

This answer says: Optimising for Isp only is problematic, as it's simply: $$I_{sp} = \frac{v_e}{g}$$ Which is the same as optimising for exhaust velocity. With no constraints on thrust, particle ...
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### Maximum grid voltage of ion thruster

As I read the grid voltage of an ion thruster is of the order of 1-4kV and to achieve that voltage they use electronic voltage boosters. Knowing that the thrust is proportional to the grid voltage(for ...
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### Could pressurized ionized oxygen be used as a fuel source for an ion thruster?

I am wondering if a canister of pressurized oxygen could be used as a fuel source for an ion thruster. To show how this could work on a conceptual basis, please reference the following drawing: I ...
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### Is there any possible reason to direct the electron gun specifically towards the ion trail behind an ion thruster?

This answer to Neutralization of ions in the ion thruster quotes the introduction to Wikipedia's Ion thruster: Temporarily stored electrons are finally reinjected by a neutralizer in the cloud of ...
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### Neutralization of ions in the ion thruster

I have a question about neutralizing the ion thruster, why simply does not put a positive potential on the satellite to prevent the emitted ions from returning to the satellite? is the ion current so ...
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### Where can I learn to calculate the physics of an ion thruster?

I am trying to build an ion thruster, but I don’t know where to start learning the actual numbers behind one. I know how they work on a basic level, but not much more. Basically I want to be able to ...
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### Anyone know of a “N71” Hall Effect Thruster currently in production or development?

In a NASA Goddard Q&A transcript for an upcoming proposal, the NASA representative mentioned that the mission designers were considering the "N71" Hall Effect Thruster as an option for an upcoming ...
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### Ion Lifter Thrust Calculation Problem

I've recently started building an ion lifter. I tried calculating the thrust the lifter produces but I came to a value that is way to high for such a small lifter. I'm using a 40kV at 1800mA AC ...
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### Can you accurately control the reentry point by deorbiting with ion propulsion?

With decaying orbits, the point of reentry depends heavily on solar activity, and is very hard to predict or control. When there are things that could survive reentry and potentially be harmful, or ...
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### Could the kinetic energy in the Sun's solar wind power an ion propulsion system for an interplanetary spacecraft?

I am wondering if the kinetic energy of the Sun's solar wind could energize heavy ions to the point in which they would produce enough momentum to propel an interplanetary spacecraft. To help ...
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### Why was circa 600 volts used for DAWN's ion propulsion?

This answer estimates that the DAWN spacecraft's solar-electric propulsion accelerated about 3 milligrams of Xe+1 per second, using roughly 1350 Watts of electrical power. I estimate that 3 mg/sec of ...
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### For a DAWN-like solar-electric deep space mission, would using propellant particles much heavier than xenon atoms be beneficial?

For deep space missions using ion propulsion that are power-limited, this answer explains that a large mass/charge ratio ($m/q$) species is desirable. The solar-electric propulsion system used by the ...
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### Was DAWN's power-limited propulsion really limited by power used to accelerate the ions?

The discussion here uses the DAWN mission as a reference for the argument that the power used to accelerate the ions is what's important. I'm curious how many watts were actually used to accelerate ...
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### How to measure thrust of experimental ion engine

I have a science project about how different propellants affect the thrust of an Ion engine so I have 2 questions: 1 How can I measure the thrust of a diy ion engine ( technique or tool that I need ...