Research activities on electric propulsion for space applications.
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II - Fisica della materia
Aula 32B-2 - Venerdì 21 h 15:30 - 18:30
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The idea to use an electric power source to accelerate a propellant and generate thrust in space dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Research activities on the so-called Electric Propulsion (EP) brought to the development of several technological concepts, ranging from electro-thermal thrusters to plasma thrusters. The increase of exhaust velocity, an order of magnitude higher than typical chemical systems, and the high thrust efficiency of EP systems permit a significant reduction of the propellant needed to perform a given mission. SITAEL, benefiting from an extended heritage in thruster development and from the availability of one of the largest vacuum facilities for electric propulsion testing in the world, the IV10 space simulator, is carrying out research activities on new plasma thruster configurations and on the use of alternative propellants, developing theoretical models and diagnostic systems to investigate the thruster physical processes.