Design and Validation of a 3D Magnetic Nozzle for Thrust Steering

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Electric space propulsion is one of the main fields of study in space engineering nowadays. It is considered to be the future of space propulsion, already being implemented in one third of existent satellites. However, operating such motors requires expensive, heavy and complex steering platforms in order to orient the direction of the plasma, and thus the direction of the thrust vector. The project presented aims to explain the development of a prototype of a 3- dimensional magnetic nozzle, which has been recently patented by the research group of EP2 (Equipo de Propulsi´on Espacial y Plasmas). This magnetic nozzle will allow to steer the thrust vector freely and without moving parts, and involves only slight modifications in thrusters which already have a magnetic nozzle. In order to do so, the first prototype showing this technology presented has been designed in such a way that it is compatible with the plasma source of the EP2 laboratory. This model will be tested in the vacuum chamber simulating space conditions. The process of validating such a prototype is also presented. The work presented shows the complete design process of such an innovative technology and the different achieved characteristics. This is followed by the development and verification of the validation process and the proposed experiments to completely validate the prototype. Since the model could not be manufactured for validation, different experiment proposals are given to prove the validity of the thrust-steering device.
3D magnetic nozzle, Electric propulsion, Thrust vector control, Design, Validation process, Magnetic fields
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