Tuesday, February 10, 2009

NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster: The NEXT Ion Propulsion System for Solar System Exploration

Eric J. Pencil & Scott W. Benson, NASA Glenn Research Center

This viewgraph presentation reviews NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) Ion Propulsion system. The NEXT project is developing a solar electric ion propulsion system.

The NEXT project is advancing the capability of ion propulsion to meet NASA robotic science mission needs, planned as a significant improvement in performance over the state of the art electric propulsion systems, such as NASA's Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Application Readiness (NSTAR).

The status of NEXT development is reviewed, including information on the NEXT Thruster, the power processing unit, the propellant management system (PMS), the digital control interface unit, and the gimbal.

Block diagrams NEXT system are presented. Also a review of the lessons learned from the DAWN and NSTAR systems is provided. In summary, the NEXT project activities through 2007 have brought next-generation ion propulsion technology to a sufficient maturity level.

Download the pdf presentation HERE.

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