Analysis of Fiber-Fed Pulsed Plasma Thruster Performance

  • Rodney L. Burton, Curtis A. Woodruff, Darren M. King, David L. Carroll
  • Journal of Propulsion and Power, October 2020, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
  • DOI: 10.2514/1.b38114

A thruster running on Teflon propellant controls the propellant consumption, raising efficiency

Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

What is it about?

A new type of fuel-efficient pulsed plasma thruster is being developed that can be used on small satellites. The fiber-fed thruster operates on Teflon propellant. Its performance is described and analyzed for conditions of high current and high exhaust velocity.

Why is it important?

For the first time, the evaporating surface area of a pulsed plasma thruster can be controlled.


Rodney Burton
CU Aerospace

This type of thruster will drastically lower costs and will allow small spacecraft to go beyond Earth orbit.

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