RF Plasma Propulsion
Ambipolar propulsion systems based on magnetically enhanced RF plasma propulsion technology.
The thruster is characterized by a very simple structure: a dielectric cylindrical ionization chamber (discharge chamber), a radiofrequency (RF) antenna, a gas injection system, and a magnetic system for plasma confinement (within the chamber).
INNOVATIVE RF ANTENNA
We have developed and patented an innovative type of antenna to allow better coupling and easier matching in space applications.
THROTTLEABLE AND CONFIGURABLE
The system works at fixed point, but power and thrust levels can be set before each thrust event, allowing to optimize the maneuvers profiles during the mission.
The system ejects neutral plasma, so it does not require a neutralizer, simplifying the design and enhancing the reliability.
ROBUSTNESS AND LONG LIFETIME
The absence of grids, neutralizer, electrodes exposed to plasma, and any component subjected to deterioration implies that there are no components subjected to erosion, thus resulting in a very robust system with a long lifetime.
The flexibility of this technology allows multiple propellants. We have an extensive expertise in using Iodine, Xenon, Argon, Krypton, and water vapour as propellant.
We carry out research and development activities
through a extensive combined numerical-experimental investigations
We are working on magnetically enhanced RF plasma technology propulsion systems since more than 10 years.
Starting from the sketch, we designed, manufactured, and tested our plasma systems, solving the stoppers for its maturation.
Consortium coordinated by the University of Padua, comprising 15 partners from EU nations and 2 ICPC countries.
Consortium coordinated by Thales Alenia Space Italia (TAS-I). Development of a 1kW class thruster for tug applications.
A 150 W propulsion system development based on magnetically enhanced plasma thruster.
Partners: Officina Stellare S.p.A. (prime), Aiko S.r.l., Planetek Italia S.r.l., TSD Space S.r.l., University of Naples
Partners: Politecnico di Milano (prime), Leonardo S.p.A., Leaf Space S.r.l.
Partners: Politecnico di Milano, Leonardo S.p.A., Leaf Space S.r.l., FlySight S.r.l., INGV