An electrically powered ion accelerator with contact ionization for perspective electrically powered thrusters
A number of characteristics of ionic and ion-plasma accelerators laboratory samples designed for electrically powered spacecraft propulsion have experimentally been studied. A large-sized vacuum chamber (2.4 m3, 10–3 Pa) made at the Military Space Academy named after A.F. Mozhaysky provided the necessary physical and technological processes, methods and means of measurement, parameters and operation modes of the ionic accelerators with contact ionization. The samples’ design features, physical processes and operating parameters were theoretically analyzed, including the use of computer simulation. The implemented and tested measuring methods, technologies and ion-physical laboratory samples’ characteristics were found to correspond to the tasks of developing the promising electrically powered spacecraft propulsion.